Asana of the Month: Lion (Simhasana)

Lion pose may seem like one of the most embarrassing hatha yoga poses you can perform. Many yoga classes, especially vinyasa or power yoga,  skip this simple but beneficial pose. It’s hard for most Westerners to believe sitting on your knees and sticking your tongue out can have any physical or mental benefits, but this simple pose has a long list of physical benefits.

Most physical benefits involve the circulatory and respiratory systems. It can shorten or prevent minor sore throat pain, open up your sinuses or blocked ear canals. While you may be embarrassed doing Lion breathing on an airplane, try it to relieve ear pressure after landing or on a car trip up or down a mountain road.

Lion pose has many variations. You can do Lion breath sitting in a chair or try one of the variations shown below.

English Name: Lion

Sanskrit Name: Simhasana

Difficulty Level: 2

Start Position: Kneeling

Instructions:

Step 1.

Cross your ankles and sit on your heals or remain in kneeling pose.

Step 2.

Place your hands on your knees or thighs. Inhale deeply through your nose or mouth. Slowly exhale sticking your tongue out as far as it will go.

Step 3.

Repeat inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly with your tongue extended for 4 or 5 breathes.

 

Physical Benefits:

  • Relaxes the jaw
  • Exercises face muscles
  • Increases blood flow to the brain
  • Increases blood flow to the eyes
  • Increases blood flow to the throat
  • Relieves dry or sore throat
  • Opens up ear and nasal passages
  • Sinus relief
  • Improve lung capacity

Mental Benefits

  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces mild anxiety & depression

Contraindications:

  • Ankle or knee injury
  • Glaucoma
  • Asthma
  • Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)

Lion Pose Variations

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