For people who are shy about speaking up (like me before Toastmasters…) Simhasana pranayama is a great way to let out some noise. Simhasana’s story draws from an old fable, in which Vishnu appears in the form “Narasimha” (half lion, half man) and is generally quite fierce in vanquishing a demon.
That same ferocity, minus the demon, works here on your throat and face. This is an energizing practice, releasing tension in your throat and letting your voice work free. You embody the essence of a leaping, roaring, half-lion god in stirring the energies of your breath. Simhasana is a great breath to apply when you’re feeling angry or anxious, or when you haven’t been expressing yourself in the right way.
When you roar in Simhasana, your air should flow out freely. Do your best not to constrict the throat – this is all about freeing it up! The breath instead comes from contracting the abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor.
Begin in a comfortable position, sitting on your heels. Vajrasana is a great place to start, with your toes pointed back and your butt on your heels. Alternatively, virasana if you’re comfortable with it. Take a few moments to relax and settle in. Let your breath even out, and bring your breathing downward to engage your diaphragm. Take note of anywhere that your breath sticks, or may stick when you’re Lion-Breathing.
Push your hands out to your knees, palms down. Keep your arms long and your back upright. You can flex your fingers out like claws, if you’d like! Stick your tongue out. Let it curl out and down to touch your chin. Look up toward your third eye. Take a deep, strong breath in through the nose.
Let your mouth open wide, tongue still out, and exhale heavily. Use the muscles of your abdomen, and let your throat stay loose. Let it come out like a big haa! of breath. If it helps, rise up and lean into it a bit. Really get fierce.
Then settle back down and breathe. If you’d like, you can go right into a few of these breaths in a row. Five in a row really gets your blood moving! Of course, it’s always fine to let your tongue relax a bit before you launch into another.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a pleasant time checking out the plants. If you’re in the mood for more nature, please stay in touch!