We all know that pranayama, or yogic breathing, can benefit our emotional, mental, and physical well-being. There are numerous types of pranayama that can help improve sleep, enhance lung capacity, and increase mindfulness, but Lion’s breath is one of our favorites.
What is Lion’s Breath?
Lion’s breath, or Simhasana in Sanskrit, is a form of pranayama that can alleviate stress, eliminate toxins, and stimulate your throat and upper chest. Performed on its own or as part of a larger practice, Lion’s breath will help release tension in your entire face, stimulate your fifth chakra, and engage your diaphragm.
What it’s good for
Lion’s breath is related to the thyroid and the fifth chakra, or Vishuddha–throat chakra. Your fifth chakra is the seat of communication and expression so regularly practicing this breath is a great way to unlock your personal voice.
Another benefit is that it helps clear your throat while simultaneously relaxing your face and neck muscles. If you give a lot of presentations, teach group fitness, or engage in public speaking, Lion’s breath is extremely helpful to support clear communication and release facial tension.
Last, but certainly not least, this breathing technique stimulates your vocal cords and diaphragm, making it a favorite breathing exercise among singers and performers. It can also be a helpful breathing exercise for people with speech impairments, such as stuttering.
How to do it
Consider making Lion’s breath part of your yoga and meditation practice as a way to unlock the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of pranayama, or before your next speaking event.
If you are new to this type of breath work, follow our step-by-step guide for how to perform this light-hearted, yet extremely effective, pranayama:
- Get into your seated position of choice.
- Place your hands on your knees. Spread your fingertips wide, like a lion’s claws.
- Lean your upper body forward slightly.
- Inhale through your nose with your mouth closed.
- Open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue as much as you can, curling it down toward your chin.
- Exhale forcefully with a “ha” sound. Keep your tongue out for the entire exhale and don’t be afraid to get loud.
- Relax your face and take a few normal breaths before doing another Lion’s breath.
- Repeat until you’ve completed four to six of these breaths.
- Once you complete your cycle of Lion’s breath, breathe steadily in and out through your nose for a few minutes.
Want to learn more breathing techniques like this? Join us in-studio or online with our $99 New Student offer (regularly $158/month) and enjoy a month of yoga, barre, meditation, and breathwork with our experienced instructors and supportive community. Ohana means family, and we want you to join ours!
Erin Entlich is a certified yoga instructor, personal trainer, holistic health coach, and writer. She believes doing good starts with feeling good, which is why she loves helping people weave movement, mindfulness, and healthy eating into their daily lives. Find out more at www.erinentlich.com.