Simhasana or Lion Pose

Simhasana or Lion Pose

Simhasana or Lion Pose

What's up, everyone? today on the Pranayama series we are learning Lion's Breath. This is a pose that I used to resist, and now I embrace, which is why I am sharing it with you today. It's a wonderful breath and a pose. Today that for me, inspires, requires even a little bit of silliness and just reminds you to let go of what other people think. For that reason, I feel like it boosts confidence. 

The Pranayama practice itself is great for relieving stress. It boosts vitality, gets rid of negative emotions, and stuff like that. It can also open up the throat chakra and relieve any stress or tension in the jaw or the neck if you suffer from it. Anyway, loads of benefits of this pose and this breath practice, so let's hop on the mat and learn Lion's Pose. All right. So to learn Lion's Breath today, we're going to come into a seated posture on the knees. We have a couple of options here. You can begin in Verasana, Hero Pose. If this is not available to you, then you're going to practice Lion's breath in an easy cross-legged position today.

 You can lift the hips on a blanket, sit upon a block. You can practice this in a chair. The focus of today is not on the pose, but rather on the Pranayama or the breath. So just get comfortable. I'm going to come to my knees and I'm going to bring my two big toes together and let the heels spread wide. I did a voice-over this morning. It should be nice and warm and articulate. So knees are spilling out, the two big toes are kissing together, and I'm letting them sit bones, that pelvic floor nestles into the arches of my feet, resisting the urge to say, "Ha-yo." So pelvic floor nestling into the feet. I'll bring the hands to the tops of the thighs, and you'll loop the shoulders forward, up and back. Open the chest, very important here. So if you're in cross-legged, just sit up nice and tall. Draw the shoulders away from the ears. 

We'll take a deep breath here. And on the exhale, spread the palms wide and press the palms down towards your knees. So what I'm doing here is connecting palm to shoulder and really spreading the shoulder blades left to right, becoming active in the shoulder girdle and in the chest. So for the breath, I'm going to inhale through the nose. For starters, just exhale out through the mouth with the "ha" sound. Here we go. So let's try it just like that again. This time as you inhale, lengthen up through the crown of the head. And as you exhale, really press through your fingers. You can imagine these little Lion's Claws here as you press into the base of the palm.

 So spread the palms wide, inhale, lengthen through the crown of the head, exhale, "ha." So as I'm pressing out through the palms and exhaling, I'm drawing the shoulder blades down and really opening up through the chest. Just a little extra here. So let's try that one more time. Inhale in, lengthen through the crown of the head, and exhale out "ha." Okay, good. So now, adding a little lion. I'm going to inhale in, the same thing. This time, on that, exhale which is a strong "ha" sound, as if you were fogging up a window and creating a little fog there. This time, I'm going to lengthen the tip of the tongue down towards the Earth. Keep lengthening through the crown of the head. As I send my tongue out and down, I'm going to send my gaze up towards my third eye, if you will.

 So there are many ways to practice this pose. This is how we're going to learn it today and we're going to shift into different variations as we grow the breath practice. So I inhale in and exhale. Practice, tongue out, gaze up "ha". Okay, so we're going to keep going with this. A couple of notes. Be careful not to create any unnecessary tension in the neck and the shoulders. That's why we practice with the shoulders drawn away from the ears and broadening through the upper back body and the chest. Tongue, again, points down as you exhale; your gaze goes all the way up towards the third eye. 

So this focus can also be sent up towards the sky, but in traditional practice - and we can talk more about and it's a relation to the Bandhas or the locks on another day. But for now, this quick foundation in Pranayama. Play with sending the gaze up towards the third eye here, or just up towards the ceiling. So we're going to practice five Lion's Breaths in a row and see what happens here. Ready? Here we go. We inhale, lengthen through the crown of the head, exhale, Lion's breath, tongue out, "ha." Close the eyes, soften through the eyelids. Inhale. Exhale, spread the palms, Lion's Breath, tongue out, "ha." Inhale. Close the eyes and exhale, Lion's Breath, looking up, "ha." Two more, here we go. "Ha." Last one. "Ha." Now, lay the palms on the highest points of the thighs. Close your eyes and just notice how you feel. Relax your jaw. Then we'll bat the eyelashes open, "Ha-yo," high on the breath. 

So now, we're adding another variation of the pose so that we can learn the breath in that. We widen the knees. This is another option here, a little more lion's love for you. So you can stay in a cross-legged position if you're already there. Otherwise, we'll learn a second variation here, bringing the knees wide and pressing the palms into the Earth. Now, just take a second here to press away from the mat. Find that broadening through the chest. Then keep that chest open as you turn the fingertips inside, inwards, in towards your body. Press into all ten knuckles, again, broadening through the upper back body just like we did before. 

So there's a tendency to collapse here like we're chillin' like villains, so keep that integrity in the spine. Great. Here we go. We're going to practice five Lion's Breaths here. This time, pressing into the palms, knees nice and wide, opening through the throat. Okay, here we go. Inhale, lengthen through the crown of the head and exhale. Begin Lion's Breath, tongue out, "ha." Close the eyes. Inhale. "Ha." For these last two, you might begin to find a little rotation in the pelvis, so maybe I'll actually turn to the side here just so you can see that. I wasn't really planning to teach all of this, but you might as well get all the bang for your buck, so to speak. 

So, practice two more. Broadening through the chest and just noticing now, incorporating a little bit of tilt in the pelvis, a little bit of spinal flex here as we open through the front body. Open through the throat chakra and find a gentle compression or massage in the back of the neck. Okay, here we go. Two Lion's breaths in a row and then we're done. Inhale in. Full body experience. Exhale, Lion's Breath, tongue out. Then we'll gently release. Palms walk forward. We walk the knees in towards the center. We'll press up and out of the Earth so we can curl the toes under, a little counterpose for the feet. And then we outstretch it in the front, melting the heart to the Earth. 

We'll breathe through the soles of the feet, and relax. Take a second here if you need to rotate the wrists, and then we release. Okay, So that was Lion's Pose. You can incorporate this breath into your practice in any Asana that feels good. I invite you to find a little self-expression, explore doing Lion's Breath in Downward Dog. Explore doing Lion's Breath perhaps in a Cobra, or Upward-Facing Dog or in Sukasana meditation pose. If you have any suggestions please write to us they are very valuable for us to see you soon Namaste.


  • Mitigates strain in the face and chest.

  • Improves dissemination of blood to the face.

  • Keeps your eyes solid by animating the nerves.

  • Animates and firms the platysma.

  • Forestalls sore throat, asthma, and other respiratory afflictions.

  • May help treat awful breath.

  • Is said to annihilate ailment.


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