Yoga Posture Guide - The Lion Pose (Simha-asana)

The Lion Pose (Simha-asana)

The yoga Lion Pose is a very uncommon yoga pose in that it does not require any bending or stretching of the body. It is a pose that helps relieve stress. It is called the Simhasana because in Sanskrit, ‘simha’ means all powerful and is the term commonly used to denote a lion. The Lion Pose for kids is very popular because of the way the pose is held. In fact, children tend to perform the Lion Yoga Pose better than adults!

We use our voices to communicate. We can whisper, speak, sing, or scream, and shade our expression with many nuances. When we are nervous, scared, happy, or sad, others hear it in our voice. A friend may tell you on the phone that everything is fine, but you know by the tone of her voice it’s not true. Our voices reflect not only our state of mind but also the state of our nervous system.

Try The Lion Pose (Simha-asana) when you feel angry or anxious, or when you haven’t expressed yourself the way you wanted. Perhaps you’ll find yourself happier, more grounded, and lighter—emotionally and physically.

Translation: The Sanskrit word simha which literally means "the powerful one" is the word for "lion." This, therefore is known as the lion posture, and one performing it can be said to resemble a roaring lion about to attack.

Pronunciation: sin-gha-sa-na

Difficulty: (2)

This pose is also called Simhagarjanasana.

The simha-asana benefits parts of the body that most other asanas do not: the face, jaw, mouth, throat and tongue. Those who experience tightness or discomfort in the jaws such as teeth grinding, clenched jaws, a misaligned bite, etc. will benefit from both the jaw and tongue stretching of the simha-asana. This asana is also known to help prevent or cure sore throats. The muscles and tissues of the face are rejuvenated from the alternating stretching and release, an exercise they rarely get in the course of our everyday lives. The fixed gaze relieves tense or burning eyes and the stretched fingers benefits the hands and wrists.

Benefits of Simhasana (The Lion Yoga Pose)


  • The practitioner develops a beautiful and sonorous voice. It helps to solve many voice-related problems.
  • This asana is said to remove defects of the throat, nose, mouth, and ears. It is known to remove bad breath.
  • It helps in cases of stuttering.
  • It relieves tension in the chest and the facial muscles and makes the face look young. Steady breathing in this position helps the chest and the abdomen.
  • According to the Hatha Yoga text Hatha Yoga Pradeepika,Simhasana aids in performing the three bandhas or locks namely,Moola bandha, Uddiyana banda and Jalandara bandha.
  • In the yogic text Gheranda Samhita, Simhasana is described as the destroyer of all diseases.
  • Relieves tension in the face and chest
  • Improves circulation of blood to the face
  • Keeps your eyes healthy by stimulating the nerves
  • Stimulates and firms the platysma
  • Helps prevent a sore throat, asthma, and other respiratory ailments.

The Lion Yoga Pose (Simha-asana) Instructions


  1. Sit up on the knees with the heels of the feet pressed against the buttocks and the calves of the legs flat on the floor. 
  2. Place the balls of the hands on the knees, straighten the arms and keep the back erect and the head straight (not tilted forward, back, to the left or the right). 
  3. Inhale while leaning forward slightly, stretching the mouth the jaws as wide as possible, extend the tongue out and downward as much as possible, fix your gaze either at the tip of the nose or between the eyebrows and stretch the fingers straight out from the knees. 
  4. Hold the posture for the duration of the inhaled breath then exhale, relaxing the forward stretch, dropping the fingers to the knees and closing the mouth and eyes. 
Duration/Repetitions: Hold the simha-asana for thirty to sixty seconds and repeat three to five times. 

Variations


Since the Simhasana is such an easy pose, there are not too many variations. However, since the focus is on relaxation, different people make slight variations to the way they perform the pose. Listed below are some of the variations for lion pose.
  • Variation 1: Some people like to sit with their ankles crossed so that you sit on one heel instead of two.
  • Variation 2: As you are supposed to sit completely relaxed and because the most relaxed position while holding this sitting position is to have your hands on your knees, many people do that and just splay their fingers while exhaling.
  • Variation 3: Some use the same pose, but laugh instead of roar in order to reduce stress.
  • Variation 4: Instead of closing the eyes and looking to the third eye, this pose is sometimes held with the eyes open and looking to the tip of the nose.
The Simhasana has to be a violent release of tension. Many people follow a lackadaisical approach to this pose, with their exhaling not being violent enough. Even their throwing out their arms and splaying out their fingers is not done with much energy. This pose is an outlet for pent up anger and just as a half-hearted punch at a punching bag will not release much of your frustration, half-heartedly following the yoga lion pose will not give you many benefits.

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