The upper body cycle of Pawanmuktasana sequentially opens the joints from the fingers to the shoulders. Even if you cannot sense any energetic benefits from the movements, you are benefiting the joints. Fluids often accumulate in the joints, resulting in stagnation, inflammation, and stiffness that can lead to rheumatism and neuralgia. Pawanmuktasana is recommended for people suffering from these conditions because it helps to move the fluids.

1) Hand Clenching: The six upper body meridians begin or end in the tips of the fingers. We will be awakening the flow of energy through these meridians. Sit with your legs extended out in front of you (or if that is uncomfortable, sit cross-legged or sit on a cushion). Extend your arms so that the hands are at shoulder level. Start with the palms open and facing each other. Now, close your hands with your thumbs inside the fist, and reopen them. Do this ten times. You are stimulating the energy at the tips of the fingers. Move slowly, deliberately.

2) Wrist Bending: With the arms still straight, open your palms, so they face away from you, fingers pointing up. Next drop the hands, so the fingers are pointing straight down. Wave the hands, ten times keeping the fingers straight. Do not bend the knuckles. You are now removing blockages to energy flow in the wrist joint. Go slowly.


3) Wrist Rotation: Begin with the right palm closed into a fist, facing the floor. The thumb should be inside the fist. If your arm is getting tired, support it with the free hand. Rotate the right wrist in a circle ten times in one direction, and then ten times in the other direction. Do the same with the left wrist. Next, circle both wrists together, ten times in same direction. Switch direction, and do ten more. Finally do this again, but rotate the wrists in opposite directions ten times. Then switch directions, and do it ten more times.


4) Elbow Bending: Hold your arms out in front of you with the palms facing up. Bend at the elbows as you inhale, and touch your fingers to your shoulders. As you exhale, extend the arms again. Repeat this ten times. Next, do the same motion, but start with the arms stretched wide to the side. This practice removes blockages found in the elbow joints.







5) Shoulder Circles: Hold your right fingertips to the right shoulder, keeping your elbow at the same level as the shoulder. Your left hand rests on the left knee. Move the right elbow in large circles. Inhale as you lift up, and exhale as the elbow descends. Do ten circles in each direction, and then switch arms. After doing each arm individually, bring both hands to the shoulders and slowly trace ten large circles with the arms moving in opposite directions. Try to touch the elbows together as they come in front of you. After ten circles in one direction do ten more in the other direction. You have now opened the shoulder joints.

(Next: Pranayama )