There’s one posture in the Bikram series I always seem to forget exists. Even after 21 days of consecutive yoga sessions. It’s the Wind Removing Pose.
After the standing series, we get a break. There’s a two minute savasana. The body is all warmed up, sweat just dripping onto my mat. It’s time for the spine strengthening series. Wait! I almost missed it again. First, the Wind Removing Pose. The instructor tells me to stay on my back, lift right leg up and hold it just below the knee. To get a good grip on the sweaty leg, all my fingers are interlaced, webbing to webbing, thumbs included. I pull my right knee towards my right shoulder, avoiding rib cage and hold. We repeat on the left side and then do it with both legs, holding elbows, neck and back long on the mat. Another hold. The pose is supposed to help digestion by massaging the abdomen and colon. Hence the name – flatulence prevention.
Until recently, I actually thought the posture was called Windy Trees Removal Pose. It had a poetic “Wind in the Willows” feel to it. What a shock it was to realise that it was called Wind Removing Pose. In my superficial mind, it doesn’t sound very yogic at all. I find it much easier to relate to and connect with posture names derived from the nature. I love the clear-sighted and brave Eagle that provides me with the needed balance, the ferocious or even deadly Cobra that makes me reach higher and higher and the magnificent Tree that is steadily rooted into the ground but expands it branches to connect with others.
I need to make this pose more memorable for me, so that I no longer ignore it. All the 26 postures in the Bikram series have lengthy Sanskrit names. Wind Removing Pose is Pavanamuktasana. I know that “asana” is “pose”. I quickly break up the rest of the word into “pavana” and “mukta”. With the invaluable support of an online Sanakrit translation service, I find the meanings “wind” and “removing”, but luckily there are alternative translations as well. “Pavana” can also mean “cow-dung” and “mukta” can indicate “loosened”.
From now on, I will always remember the Pavanamuktasana or rather the Loosened Cow-Dung Pose.