If you’ve ever practiced Lion’s Breath Pranayama (Simhasana), then you know just how much fun this silly breath practice can be. From the outside, it may look ridiculous, but this pranayama exercise is invigorating, empowering, and delightfully playful.
You may have heard Lion’s Breath called Simhasana or Lion Pose or you may know it better from playing make believe as a child. But however you know it, this fun and seemingly foolish pranayama practice powerfully brings out your inner child along with your inner lion(ess).
Simhasana Is More Than Just Fun and Games – Here Are 5 Benefits of Lion’s Breath Pranayama:
While it may just look like a childish practice, Lion’s Breath really offers a lot of meaningful benefits.
1. Releases Inhibitions
First and foremost, Lion’s Breath Pranayama requires you to let go of self-limiting inhibitions and fears about how you look.
As you open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue, and cross your eyes, you have little choice but to surrender to the silliness, tap into your inner lion, and let go of any inhibitions that may be holding you back.
2. Removes Self-Consciousness
Because Simhasana is so bold and forces you to release your inhibitions to practice, it also pushes you to let go of self-consciousness and just be free in your own body.
Whether you practice alone, in a crowded room of people, or in front of the lions at the zoo, Lion’s Breath will make you feel free and carefree through its empowering nature.
3. Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Pranayama, as a whole, helps to relieve stress and anxiety by bringing your awareness to your breath and tuning in with this autonomic bodily function.
Lion’s Breath Pranayama may be particularly useful for relieving stress because it is such a cathartic action. Forcefully pushing air out through your mouth with a dynamic gesture may help you to release stagnant stress lingering in your physical body.
4. Stretches the Muscles of Your Face and Jaw
Simhasana requires you to open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue. This simple action is one that we don’t often practice, so it’s helpful to release tension in the face and jaw.
5. Stimulates Your Throat Chakra
Your Vishuddha Chakra, or Throat Chakra, is housed directly in your throat and it represents clarity, communication, and expression.
Most pranayama practices stimulate this chakra by vibrating the vocal cords, but Simhasana in particular, strongly activates this energy center because it is such a powerful pranayama practice.
Since you literally roar like a lion in Lion’s Breath, you bring a lot of vibrational energy to this chakra to awaken and illuminate it.
Unleash Your Inner Lion in Simhasana – Here’s Your Step-by-Step Tutorial for Lion’s Breath Pranayama:
While this practice isn’t tricky from a technical perspective, it does require freedom and inner strength.
1. Find a Comfortable Position
You can literally practice Lion’s Breath Pranayama in any comfortable seat or yoga pose that you like. Want to rock out Simhasana while in Warrior III? More power to you! Prefer to muster your roar in a cross-legged seat? Go for it!
Find any comfortable position that you like – ideally one in which your spine can be lengthened so your diaphragm and lungs can work at their deepest capacity for your roar.
2. Set an Intention
Before beginning Lion’s Breath Pranayama, set an intention to release something that no longer serves you. Dig down deep into your psyche to decide what to let go of emotionally when you physically release air from your body.
Give yourself permission to let go of what you don’t need and visualize it leaving you as you exhale in Simhasana.
3. Inhale Deeply
To prepare for your wild, deep belly roar, draw a full breath of air in through your nose.
4. Find Your Drishti
Cross your eyes to look up toward your Ajna Chakra, or Third Eye. Focus your awareness on this center of intuition in your body.
5. Release Your Roar
Open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue, and reach it down toward your chin. Exhale forcefully, moving the air across the center of your tongue.
With your exhale, release a “haaaa” sound from deep within your belly – your own bone-chilling roar. Use the force of the exhale to create a sharp suction of your belly to draw in toward your spine.
After your full Simhasa, restore your natural breath for a few rounds of deep inhales and exhales. When you feel ready, repeat Lion’s Breath as many times as you’d like.
Find Your Roar in Simhasana – The Takeaway on Lion’s Breath Pranayama
Lion’s Breath Pranayama is a fun, invigorating, playful, and liberating practice. It empowers you both physically and mentally and helps you to release stagnant energy, emotions, and tension.
If you’re new to practicing Simhasana, play around without limitations like a baby lion cub to find your voice and your own unique roar.
If you’ve been practicing Lion’s Breath Pranayama for ages, continue to brazenly roar to release your inner wild animal who refuses to be tamed.