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Pavanamuktasana keeps the colon free of bacteria edit button Edit

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A.D Pradeep Kumar | calendar 19 April 2024 | 45

The Financial Express May 14, 2000

A good reliable set of bowels is worth more to a man than any quantity of brains, once said a famous writer. The stomach is a source of energy to our body. However, if proper care is not taken, it can become prone to a long list of complaints. Ninety per cent of all our health problems and diseases arise from our abdomen through wrong eating habits and lack of proper exercise. Most diseases like piles, obesity, ulcers, hiatal hernia, diverticulosis, spastic colon, appendicitis and intestinal problems start due to constipation and improper evacuation of the bowels.

If an individual does not exercise adequately, the food does not travel through the digestive tract in the right amount of time. Its progress is delayed and by the time it reaches the rectum, all the water has been absorbed from it, leaving a residue that is a dry, sticky mass, very hard to expel. This leads to straining to clear the bowels, which leads to many of the above diseases.

Constipation, indigestion and flatus (or abdominal gas) problems are common amongst the middle and upper classes. The cause of constipation and flatus lies in refined, fried and heavy foods, unwise food combinations, a diet lacking in roughage fibre, over-eating, drinking water during meals, irregular eating habits, insomnia, sedentary habits, insufficient exercise, and fear, worry, anxiety, haste, tension, anger and jealousy.

When the large intestine is not functioning properly, the food-waste and its by-products, together with the poisonous substances cast off by other organs, accumulate in the colon and result in the dangerous process of re-absorption.

As a result, the poisons-both bio-chemical and bacterial toxins-which ought to have been eliminated quickly are thrown back into the bloodstream, carried to the tissues, nerves and brain.

A clean colon is a must for the prevention of disease. Our gastro-intestinal tract is the source of the largest number of poisons that cause auto-intoxication and therefore, it needs special attention.

Laxatives and purgatives are often employed to move the bowels when the stools have become hard, but in the long run, these only make things worse because they irritate the bowel walls. They do not act upon the system, instead the system reacts to the drugs and thus the person becomes enslaved to them.

For satisfactory evacuation, it is best to adopt a new food diet, rich in enzymes and roughage, and low in protein, starches and fats. A diet high in fibre and low in fat yields soft, moist, plentiful stools, eliminates the need to strain and is of great help in preventing and treating disease.

Constipation is a predisposing factor for flatus or abdominal gas. Flatulence is a sign of gases stuck in the intestine due to the indigestion of carbohydrates and cellulose, which are acted upon by bacterial flora and fermented. Gastrointestinal gas can be a source of great discomfort and may be associated with uneasiness, bloating, nausea, headaches and irritability. In extreme cases, there may be chest pain and difficulty in breathing.

It is practically impossible to cure indigestion, constipation and gas problems permanently without resorting to natural foods and a proper exercise regimen. A system of yogic diet and exercises are the best help for these health problems.

A very useful asana, which helps to relieve flatus with minimum expenditure of energy or strain, is the Pavanamuktasana, or the anti-flatus pose in a lying down position. This posture effectively exercises the meso-gastric, umbilical pubic, gluteal, sacral, anal, perineal and urogenital regions.

Posture

First, try the variant known as Ekapada Pavanmuktasana, or the one-leg anti-flatus pose:

  • Lie full length on the floor, arms at your side.
  • Lift one leg six inches, while exhaling.
  • Bend your leg to your chest, interlock with your hands, suspending breath for four seconds.
  • Inhaling for two seconds, stretch your leg six inches above the ground, return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise using the other leg, and complete two rounds.

The movements breathing and time should be adjusted as follows:

  • Raise leg, bring knee to chest, exhale: 2 seconds
  • Maintain pose, suspend breath: 4 seconds
  • Return to starting position, inhale: 2 seconds

When both the legs are used, instead of one as previously, you are practising the Dvipada Pavanamuktasana, or the bipedal antiflatus pose. The general technique, however, remains the same.

Benefits

The hygienic advantages of Pavanamuktasana are many and they become doubly effective with the aid of increased intra-abdominal pressure. For example, chronic constipation, flabby abdomen, sub-normal functions of the abdominal viscera and pelvic organs and other such ailments that require constitutional regeneration of the internal organs are found to respond very favourably to this asana. This is chiefly due to the special facilities that the Pavanamuktasana offers for deep internal pressure, massage and stretching of the highly complicated network of muscles, ligaments and tendons of the waist and pelvic zones. The Pavanamuktasana also helps in improving digestion and strengthening the back muscles.

Bhava

The bhava that has to be generated while performing the Pavanamuktasana Vairagya, a let-go feeling of acceptance and surrender. You try here to humble yourself before a higher reality abandoning your biased, limited views.

Limitations

Abdominal injuries, cardiac problems, hernia.

(Note: This article is based on the principles advocated by The Yoga Institute, Santacruz)