Lion’s breath is a pranayama technique. Keep reading below to find out what pranayama is and the purpose of it, the benefits of lion’s breath, and how to use it.
The Purpose of Pranayama
Pranayama is a yogic term that means control of the breath. It is a crucial part of a yoga practice. Translated from, Sanskrit, “Prana” means life force energy and “Ayama” translates to control.
The state of our breath is in direct correlation to the state of our life force energy. If we are blocked in some way it will show up in our breathing patterns.
Attention and practices to control the capacity and rhythm of the breath will bring your awareness into the subtler forms of how your energy body moves. It will also open the pathways in which you are blocking prana from giving you life.
Practicing pranayama will draw you away from the business and distractions of the mind and into a deeper state of meditation. It will help you dissolve Maya, a yogic term speaking of that which we perceive as real but is actually an illusion.
The Benefits of Lion’s Breath
Lion’s breath is a warming breath used to relax the jaw, stretch the face, and dispel built-up tension. It is a great exercise to use to release blockages or create movement within heavier emotions that can surface during your yoga practice.
Lion’s breath opens the throat chakra and boosts confidence. It can bring forth a sort of warrior energy. It is possible you may feel silly while practicing this technique.
The simple act of freeing yourself from the idea of a “normal” yoga practice can offer you a space to step deeper into owning the way you express yourself on and off the matt.
How To Practice Lions Breath
There are many ways to incorporate lions breath into your meditation practice. You may wish to simply include it within your sitting pranayama practice which may be done before beginning your asana practice, the physical yoga practice.
- To practice this technique while at rest find a comfortable seat, you can try crossing the front of the right ankle behind the back of the left ankle and positioning yourself so the right heel comes to rest against the perineum
- rest your hands on your knees with the palms open and facing upwards
- come into focus with your current rhythm of breathing
- begin to lengthen your breath while keeping both the inhale and exhale the same length
- take a deep inhale through the nose
- as you exhale, send the tongue out of the mouth and down the chin, contract the muscles of the throat in order to make the “haaaah” sound similar to as if you are fogging up a window
- some yogic texts teach one to allow the eyes to open wide and bring their Drishti, (or focused gaze) to the space between the brows (the third eye)
- inhale through the nose, return to a neutral facial position and repeat four or five times
You can also include lion’s breath during your asana practice. This can be incorporated as a way to release and deepen your mental focus. It can also be applied specifically with the Simhasana pose (lions pose).