Lion's Breath

Last Updated: January 1, 2018

Definition - What does Lion's Breath mean?

Lion's breath is the breathing technique, or pranayama, which goes with simhasana, or lion pose. It is a powerful breathing method that includes a forceful exhalation. The name refers to the fierce lion-like expression of the yogi's face and the roaring sound of the breath made when performing this pranayama.

This breathing technique and the associated pose are well-known for their ability to reduce stress and anger through the active release of tension with the exhale. During the breath, all three bandhas can be engaged.

Yogapedia explains Lion's Breath

Lion's breath is performed by starting in simhasana then lowering the jaw to open the mouth wide, stretching the tongue out and curling it down. The gaze is toward the sky. The muscles at the front of the throat contract and a forceful exhalation is made with a roaring "haaaa" sound, feeling the air pass over the back of the throat. This can be repeated two or three times.

Lion's breath is said to provide an ideal outlet for negative energy. The powerful exhalation and the engagement of the arms and shoulders are a manifestation of the release of negative energy from inside. It is said that many problems are a result of anger and resentment held inside and lion's breath, with simhasana, releases that energy. It is important that the exhalation is strong and full of intention, not half-hearted, in order to experience the full benefits.

Lion's breath stimulates the manipura chakra, and may also improve self-esteem and feelings of empowerment.

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