Looking for a breathing exercise that can give you the heart of a lion? Enter: Lion’s Breath (aka simhasana).
Here’s a deep-dive into how this technique works and some of the perks that it can bring your bod 🦁.
What is Lion’s breath?
Lion’s Breath is a type of yogic breath regulation (aka pranayama). It’s an empowering exercise that can help reduce stress and increase confidence. It even seems to have a positive effect on your respiratory system 🫁.
In a Lion’s Breath sesh, you’ll place your hands on your knees to imitate a lion’s claws. Then, inhale through your nose and exhale deeply through your mouth.
Lots of peeps say Lion’s Breath is a great way to relax your throat, jaw, and face. Some folks also believe it can eliminate toxins, reduce tension, and bolster respiratory function. But more on that in a bit 😉.
Lion’s Breath is a fab way to start or finish a meditation or yoga practice, but it can also stand on its own as a solo practice.
Here’s a play-by-play on how to do Lion’s Breath:
- Kneel down, resting your feet under your butt, torso upright.
- Straighten your arms and place your hands on your knees.
- Spread your fingers as wide as you can and imagine your hands are claws.
- Open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out toward your chin.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose.
- Exhale through your mouth to make a “ha” sound.
- Return to starting position. Repeat 5–7 times.
Here are some of our top tips to help you make the most out of your Lion’s Breath sesh.
- Fill your lungs. Try to breathe as deeply as you can on each inhale.
- Pick a focus. It may help to concentrate on the feeling of the air moving in and out of your chest.
- Slowly return to reality. Finish each routine with a few minutes of deep breathing in a typical rhythm.
- Feel free to switch up the position. You can sit crisscross, on a chair, or in a Lotus Pose if that’s more comfortable for you.
- Get into it! Don’t feel silly about sticking your tongue out 👅. Let go of your inhibitions and embrace your inner lion! #Rawr
Make it mindful
Lion’s Breath can help you let go of stale or painful emotional energy. As you exhale, imagine you’re releasing any thoughts or vibes that don’t serve you. Then envision fresh energy coming into your body as you inhale.
PSA: You might notice some mental resistance during Lion’s Breath sessions. And that’s OK! Just acknowledge those feelings and send them away when you’re ready.
Here’s a rundown of the potential perks that Lion’s Breath has to offer.
May ease asthma symptoms
A research review suggested yogic breathing can help manage asthma symptoms. According to another research review, this might be thanks to the way that these breathing exercises can stabilize carbon dioxide levels.
This type of breathing may also help decrease the bronchospasms that lead to breathlessness. But TBH, we need more research to show whether Lion’s Breath on its own can help manage these symptoms.
Could benefit Apert and Asperger’s syndrome symptoms
There’s some research to back the idea that breathing exercises can benefit folks who are on the autism spectrum. A case report looked at the effects of multisensory yoga sessions on a 7-year-old with Apert and Asperger’s syndrome. Researchers found that 4 weeks of twice-a-week sessions had a positive impact on the child’s physical performance, social engagement, and expressive emotions.
An older 2010 case report showed that breathing deeply can help you feel calm and ease anxiety. This can be super beneficial to anyone who feels social anxiety or environmental stress. But again, we need more science.
Might help treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
According to a small study, breathing exercises can help increase your lung capacity. This could help folks who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung diseases that can block airflow.
Another small study found that yogic breathing helped increase exercise tolerance in participants with symptomatic, moderate-to-severe COPD. Controlled yoga breathing also helped free airways that were blocked by emphysema or bronchitis symptoms. While this is top-notch news, we need more in-depth studies to prove the perks.
Other potential benefits
There’s some anecdotal evidence that shows pranayama can help:
- lower blood sugar
- improve sleep quality
- reduce stress and anxiety
- enhance cognitive function
- stave off cigarette cravings
Remember, these potential perks aren’t backed by scientific studies. We need more real research before we know if these benefits are the real deal.
Lion’s Breath is a breathing exercise that boasts beaucoup health benefits. It can help reduce stress and may perk up respiratory function. You can add it to your yoga or meditation practice, or do it as a standalone activity throughout the day.
Just keep in mind, breath manipulation isn’t a cure-all. Contact your doc ASAP if you’re experiencing breathing or other health conditions.