Wind Relieving Pose, also known as Pawanmuktasana, is a lying yoga pose believed to help relieve trapped gas, decrease bloating, and improve digestion, and is beneficial and doable for people of all levels of ability and yoga experience.
It is typically done as part of a series of poses known as the “Wind-Relieving Series,” one of the yoga sequences done in yoga classes or personal practice to help massage and stimulate the abdominal organs. Poses in the series include:
- Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
- Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Corpse Pose (Savasana)
|Sanskrit Name and Pronunciation:||Pavanmuktasana (pah-wahn-mook-TAH-sah-nah)|
|Pose Type:||Forward Bend|
How to Do the Wind-Relieving Pose
- Lie on a yoga mat on the floor with bent knees and your feet flat on the ground.
- Take a deep breath, and exhale as you use your hands to bring your right knee into your chest and hug it with your arms.
- Hold this position for a few breaths, then release your right leg and repeat with your left leg.
- After both legs have been hugged to the chest, straighten your legs at the hip joints and simultaneously bring both knees into your chest. Again, hold this position for a few breaths.
- Finally, release your legs and relax in Savasana (corpse pose) for a few minutes.
|Glutes:||Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus|
While there are many research-backed mental and physical benefits of practicing yoga, there are few — if any — official studies on the wind-relieving pose. However, it’s generally believed that practicing the wind-relieving pose provides several health benefits.
Relieves Gas and Bloating
The gentle abdominal compressions created when you bring your knees into your chest in this pose may help alleviate gas and bloating in the abdomen.
Massages Internal Organs
The compressions created by the pose also help to massage the internal organs, promoting healthy digestion and improving the digestive system’s overall functioning.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
The relaxation that comes from lying on the ground and focusing on your breath can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Stretches the Legs and Back
Bringing your knees into your chest and holding the pose for a few breaths can help to stretch the muscles in the legs and back.
The gentle compressions created by the pose may help to improve circulation throughout the body.
Drawbacks and Risks
The wind-relieving pose can be a helpful addition to your yoga practice if you are experiencing digestive discomfort.
Don’t practice the pose if you have abdominal discomfort, core muscle strain, or recently had surgery on your abdomen. Check with your doctor if you’re pregnant.
Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when practicing the wind-relieving pose.
- Rushing through the pose: It is essential to take your time and be mindful of your breath as you move through the pose. Rushing through the pose can cause you to lose your balance or strain your muscles.
- Holding your breath: Remember to breathe deeply and continuously as you move through the pose. Holding your breath can cause you to feel lightheaded or uncomfortable.
- Using too much force: The compressions created by the pose should be gentle and not cause discomfort or strain. If you feel pain or discomfort, it is important to back off and use less force.
- Not using proper alignment: Make sure your feet are flat on the ground and your knees are bent and stacked directly over your hips. Poor alignment can cause strain or discomfort.
- Not listening to your body: You have to listen to your body and modify the pose as needed to avoid strain or discomfort.
Remember to be patient and kind to yourself as you practice this pose. Yoga is a journey; it takes time and practice to improve your skills and understanding of the poses.
Modifications and Variations
One-Legged (Half) Wind-Relieving Pose
If you are experiencing discomfort on one side of your body, you can do the pose with just one leg at a time. Inhale, and exhale as you bring your right knee into your chest and hug it with your arms. Hold this position for a few breaths, then release your right leg and repeat with your left leg.
Supported Wind-Relieving Pose
If you cannot comfortably bring your knees into your chest while lying on your back, you can use a bolster or a blanket to support your knees. Place the bolster or blanket under your knees and bring your knees into your chest as in the basic pose.
Reclined Wind-Relieving Pose
If you find maintaining balance while lying on your back challenging, you can do the pose in a reclined position. Place a bolster or rolled blanket under your upper back to support your spine, and then bring your knees into your chest as in the basic pose.
Seated Wind-Relieving Pose
If you cannot lie down on the ground, you can try doing the pose seated in a chair. Bring your knees into your chest and hug them with your arms while seated in a chair.