Release tension, let go of negative emotions and prevent gut disruption with this simple and fun yogic breath technique
You are calm, relaxed and at ease, any tension in your jaw and neck has disappeared, your mind is content and free from worry, your tummy is settled, you feel rejuvenated, confident and able to tackle anything that comes your way — this is what Lion’s breath could do for you.
Yogic breathing is referred to as pranayama and Lion’s breath, or Simha Pranayama, is a type of pranayama. It is related to the fifth/throat chakra (an energy point within the body) connected to our ability to communicate verbally. Lion’s breath can help to realign or unblock this chakra and allow us to speak our minds and express ourselves clearly and confidently.
What’s more, it can provide a myriad of benefits for your emotional, physical and mental wellbeing.
As Lion’s breath involves stretching the entire face, it can alleviate stress and tension. It can also help you to release emotions and eliminate toxins. Regular practice of pranayama, such as Lion’s breath, has even been proven to relieve some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety which are common contributors to gut disruption and/or IBS flare-ups.
You will probably feel silly when practicing this, so may not prefer to do it in public. However, try not to take it too seriously, have some fun and as my yoga teacher says: “bring a sense of humour.”
Are you ready to roar your way to calm? Find out how below.
How to do Lion’s Breath
You can do it on its own or as part of a longer practice. It’s particularly great to do in the morning to energise you or after a sweaty/intense workout to release heat.
You can practice Lion’s breath in a variety of positions including sitting in a cross-legged position on the floor, sat on a chair or in Lion’s Pose (see how to do it). Choose whichever feels most comfortable for you. You can sit on a block or cushion to modify these.
- In whichever seated position you have chosen, press your hands firmly into your knees or the floor and spread your fingers as wide as possible like Lion’s claws.
- Inhale deeply through your nose.
- Open your mouth wide, stick your tongue out and reach it as far as possible down toward your chin, then exhale forcefully through your mouth. While exhaling, make a “ha” sound and try to bring your drishti (focussed gaze) towards your third eye (the space between your eyebrows) or the tip of your nose, opening your eyes wide.
- Repeat 4-6 times. If you have your feet/legs crossed, change the cross of your legs halfway through your repetitions.
- To finish, breathe deeply and normally for a few moments.
Has this technique worked for you? Want to share a breathing exercise you find useful? Get in touch.
If you should experience any dizziness while practicing Lion’s breath, stop and return to normal breathing. While Lion’s breath may help to alleviate stress and anxiety, it should not be used as a substitute for medical care. Consult a medical professional if you are concerned about your mental and/or digestive health.