How to Practice Simha Mudra - Lions Breath

By Nicklas    11 / Jan / 2019    In Category Health and Fitness

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Simha mudra is sometimes also called Simhagarjanasana or simha pranayama. Simha is a Sanskrit word that means lion. Simha mudra translates to lion expression or gesture and simha pranayama to lion’s breath. Simhagarjanasan translates to lions pose. This pranayama is practiced as a pose in some types of yoga.

It is considered by many yogis a silly pranayama because of how you end up looking like. You tongue will be pulled out and you will be roaring like a lion while in stance with your arms looking like the front feet of the lion. It is a pranayama that reminds many to have fun while practicing yoga.

Step by Step

1. Start by getting your body into Vajrasana position. To get into this position kneel down on your mat. Cross your ankles behind you and then seat with your buttocks on your legs. Ensure that your spine, head and neck are aligned.

2. Put your knees about 40-50 cm apart while maintaining the Vajrasana position. Maintain this position as you do the pose.  

3. Place the palms of your hands on the floor in the space between your knees. Maintain a straight posture. Ensure your arms are straightened out and the back is lengthened. Do not slouch when in position or bend forward.

4. Place the palms with the fingers facing your body. If you are seated in a cross legged position you can place your arms on your knees with the fingers sprayed out.

5. When in position, inhale deeply. As you inhale, open your mouth and pull your tongue out. Curl the tip of the tongue out towards the chin so that the throat and palate are stretched out. Open your eyes wide so that all the muscles on your face are stretched out.

6. Position your gaze between the eyebrows so that you are in bhru-madhya drishti. You can also choose to use the nasagrai drishti (tip of the nose). This will help you to focus on the breathing. 

7. Contract the muscles on the front of your throat. Exhale smoothly through the mouth so that the air passes through the constricted throat. This will naturally cause you to make a HAAA sound as if you are roaring.

8. As you inhale, return your face to normal position. Some scripts also suggest that you lift your arms back and place them at the sides of your body so that you are upright. You will them repeat every step indicated here in 1-7 in every breath. Repeat this 2-3 times. After you are done, alternate the cross of the leg and carry out the same number of breaths. When you have become proficient, the simha pranayama should be practiced for about 5 – 7 minutes or as long as you can be able to hold the pose.

Possible Benefits

  • This pose strengthens the platysma keeping it firm as you age. This prevents drooping of the jaw as you age.
  • Simha mudra also relieves tension and anxiety in the body and mind. The pose leaves you feeling happy and excited.
  • The pose elongates the spine and improves posture.
  • The pose relieves tension in the jaws and face caused by grinding teeth and clenching jaws.
  • It increases blood circulation in the tongue, throat and neck region. This also relieves the tension and stress in the neck.
  • The pose stretches the knees, arms and ankles.
  • Simha mudra has also been said to enhance vocal tone.
  • It opens up the throat and allows you to engage the throat chakra.
  • This pose being a playful one helps to relieve anger and frustration promoting happy and healthy living.

Beginners Tips

  • Ensure that the breathing is not too rushed especially on the exhale.

  • Make sure that you pull your tongue out as far as possible. This will stretch out all the muscles in your face and also stretch the tongue.
  • Remember to make the roaring HAAA sound. This will stretch your throat and the mouth palate to the maximum. It stretches further than just pulling the tongue out.
  • If you are unable to place your arms straight on the floor, you can have them float on the air at the point where they are completely extended and straight. This will ensure you do not bend your spine forward.
  • You can also do the pose while in a seated position if you are not able to do it kneeling.

Simha mudra can be practiced before or after your asanas to relax your body. Simha mudra is important because it facilitates all the three bandhas (mula, jalandhara and uddiyana bandhas). This pose is easy and can be practiced without any major struggles. Since it is a relaxing pose or pranayama, it can be followed by any asana that you deem necessary in your regime.  

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