Lion Pose, Simhasana, (sim-hahs-anna)
sinha (lion) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Simhagarjanasana
Pose Type: Seated, Stretching, Stress Relief
Strengthen your face and throat muscles, release tension and express your silly side in Simhasana.
Lion Pose Fundamentals
We all struggle to express ourselves and feel confident sometimes. What better way to overcome that than to wake up the lion energy within us?
Lion Pose is a unique asana in that it combines physical practice with a specific breathing technique. It can be performed from virtually any seated position, and the name relates to the pranayama it involves, and not the posture itself.
The pose is connected to a breathing exercise that resembles a lion’s roar – hence its name. It is a great asana to perform before the yoga practice, as it helps clear thoughts and warm up the body.
It was first mentioned in Hatha Yoga Pradipika which lists it under the four main poses all students should have in their practice.
The Lion is an important symbol in Indian culture and was a vehicle for Goddess Durga. It represents determination, courage, righteousness, strength, and willpower.
This pose itself is dedicated to a Narasimha, a manifestation of Lord Vishnu with lion-like features.
A legend states he has taken this form in order to kill a demon called Hiranyakashyapu, who symbolizes the overcoming of six internal demons – desire (kama), anger (krodha), greed (lobha), arrogance (mada), delusion (moha), and jealousy (matsya).
We all have these tendencies within us, and the practice of Lion Pose may lead to our own battle against them. It encourages us to overcome these by contemplating the qualities of confidence, fearlessness, and honesty.
Lion Pose & Enegretics
On an energetic level, the pose stimulates all three energy locks – Mulabandha, Uddiyana Bandha, and Jalandhar Bandha. Strengthening these locks is believed to also improve our psychic and spiritual powers.
Although the drishti (gaze) in Lion Pose should be pointed towards the Crown or Third Eye chakras, it primarily stimulates the Throat Chakra. This chakra may help us speak our truth, express ourselves and improve our communication.
Lion Pose Benefits
- Strengthens facial muscles, vocal cords, throat muscles, abdomen, diaphragm, hands, and chest.
- The seated position will open and lengthen the hips, ankles, and feet.
- Opens the chest, which may improve breathing.
- Helps clear the mind and increase focus, so it’s helpful as a preparation for a yoga or meditation practice.
- Encourages healthy posture, as the spine should be long for the duration of the practice.
- Releases pent-up emotions and energy blocks, which calms the mind.
- Stimulates the function of the platysma muscles in the throat, as well as thyroid and parathyroid glands.
- May aid with any voice or throat-related difficulties.
- Boosts blood circulation to the face.
- Improves digestion by contracting and releasing the abdominal muscles.
How To Do Lion Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
- Start by sitting on your knees and resting your hips on your calves.
- Keeping your feet touching, spread your knees as wide as you can. This is a variation of Frog Pose.
- Place your palms on the floor in front of you, pointing your fingers towards your body, and lean your torso forward. Arch the spine upwards. Gaze at the Third Eye.
- Take a deep inhale, stick your tongue out, and exhale through the mouth, impressing a lion’s roar with a Haaa! Sound
- You can repeat the breathing exercise as many times as you would like.
Tips And Tricks:
- Your eyes should be open wide during the practice of the pose and gaze up, towards your crown, the Third Eye point, or the tip of the nose.
- By pressing the palms firmly into the ground, you will also simultaneously press the shoulder blades, which will help open your chest.
- If you feel insecure, seek guidance from a teacher. It is always best to learn pranayamas under the supervision of someone experienced.
- It would be best to practice this asana on an empty stomach. Also, perform in silence and on your own if you feel uncomfortable practicing when you know someone could disturb you.
Lion Pose Variations:
From Easy Pose or Hero Pose
Instead of sitting on your knees, you can also perform this asana starting cross-legged in Easy Pose or Hero Pose.
In this case, push your palms against your knees instead of the floor, splaying the fingers as if you have a pair of claws.
In Cat Cow
You can also practice Lion Pose dynamically in Cat Cow.
Begin in Table Top Pose. First tuck into Cat Pose, round your back, and inhale. Then perform the “roar” and the exhalation as you arch your back and move up to Cow Pose. You can perform the movement and breath for as many times as you would like.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Over-stretching the mouth. Although you should open your mouth wide, don’t force it, as that may lead to strain.
Feeling dizzy. Gazing at the third eye or the tip of the nose may make some practitioners feel dizzy. If that’s the case for you, gaze straight up instead.
Avoid the pose if you have any injury or condition related to the face, tongue, or neck. In case of a knee injury, it may be best to practice the breathing technique while sitting on a chair.
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