Simhasana–Awaken Your Inner Lion or Creep Out Your Friends

simhasana
Thanks to Yoga Lily for the image.

I remember a long time ago when a teacher of mine showed me Simhasana. I thought he was crazy, and that it was the creepiest thing I’d ever seen. Naturally, I tried it immediately. Years later, as I was studying for my yoga certification, I came across a picture of B.K.S. Iyengar practicing this pose. Literally, it gave me nightmares.

Although the image of a person practicing Simhasana can be off-putting, the pose is relatively easy and boasts many health advantages. So, find a good mirror so you can check yourself out, and give it a try.

Benefits of Simhasana

Simhasana offers the same generic benefits as other breathing practices. However, because of its unique facial expression and tongue placement, it offers some additional benefits. Here is a list of generic benefits of pranayama practice:

  • Reduced anxiety.
  • Increased relaxation.
  • Reduced insomnia.
  • Oxygenated blood.
  • Stress reduction.
  • Clearer thinking.
  • Decreased anger.
  • Lower blood pressure.

According to StyleCraze.com, specific benefits include:

  1. Reduced stress and tension on the chest and the face.
  2. Stimulation of the platysma ( a thin, flat, rectangular muscle that lies on the front of the throat). This keeps this muscle firm as we continue to age.
  3. Old texts claim this asana destroys diseases and activates the three major bandhas – Mula, Jalandhara, and Uddiyana.
  4. This asana benefits the face, eyes, tongue, throat, vocal chords, abdomen, respiratory tract, diaphragm, chest, hands, and fingers.
  5. Gets rid of respiratory tract infections.
  6. Exercises the tongue because of the full stretch outside the mouth.
  7. Gets rid of bad breath.
  8. Cures stuttering, teeth grinding, clenched jaws, and back pains.
  9. Removes wrinkles and delays aging.
  10. Relieves burning eyes.
  11. Relaxes neck muscles.
  12. Improved tone and texture of the voice.

Cautions

While the seated position for this yoga pose and breathing practice may be uncomfortable, it can be modified. If there is too much stress on your knees or discomfort at the hips, simply sit on a chair.

Otherwise, the Simhasana breath work is safe for everyone.

Simhasana

  1. Begin in Thunderbolt pose. Remember, if you need to place a blanket under your knees or in the crease behind your knees to help with knee pain, go ahead and do that. Also, if your hips are tight, you may sit on a block. If none of these are comfortable, take a seat in a chair. Since our focus today is the breath behind this pose, it doesn’t really matter if you’re not seated in the technically correct position.
  2. Place your hands on your knees. Feel the flow of energy as your hands send energy down into your thighs, and it flows back up through your arms.
  3. Inhale deeply through your nose.
  4. Open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue, roll your eyes up to look at the spot between your eyebrows, and exhale forcefully and quickly. As you exhale, allow your diaphragm to help expel air and make a sort of “ha” sound. Allow yourself to rock forward slightly, placing more weight on your arms.
  5. Complete 3 repetitions of this breath.

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Do you have any other tips for practicing Simhasana? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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