Simhasana (Lion Pose)

Simhasana (Lion Pose)


What is Simhasana (Lion Pose)?

Simhasana (Lion Pose)

Simhasana, or Lion Pose, is a beginner-friendly, seated Hatha yoga asana that can be performed by all age groups. 

You’ll start by kneeling on the yoga mat and sitting in Hero pose. Next, make a roaring sound like a lion with an open mouth, extended tongue, and throat. This forceful roar helps Yes face to relax and re-energize your throat. 

This unique modern yoga pose is usually executed in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) stance but can also be modified depending on how you feel. 

The name Simhasana is a combination of Sanskrit words where 'Simha' means Lion and 'Asana' means pose or posture. 

This pose was first described in the 10 & 11 Century Hatha yoga text Vimanarcanakalpa, and it is also mentioned in the 19th-century Hatha yoga text Joga Pradipika as Narasimhasana. Narasimha or Narasingha means 'Lion Man,’ the fourth avatar of Lord Vishnu. 

Narasimha incarnated from part of a lion and emerged to slay Hiranyakashipu (King of Asuras). This lion avatar is known to symbolize energy, justice, and Dharma

Sanskrit Name: सिंहासन         Pronunciation: Sim-has-ana

Pose Type: Seated Pose       Also known as: Lion Pose

Strengthens: Legs, Throat, Mind, Back, and Lungs              

Stretches: Knees, Ankles, Spine, and Face

Health Benefits of Simhasana

  • Improves posture. 

  • Helps with constipation. 

  • Keeps the platysma muscles firm.

  • Enhances digestive organs' function. 

  • Relieves tension in the facial muscles.

  • Stimulates pituitary and thyroid glands.  

  • Alleviates symptoms of mild back pain. 

  • Opens and strengthens pelvic muscles.

  • Improves blood circulation in the legs and face. 

  • Improves cardiovascular and respiratory health. 

  • Helps in activating the manipura, crown, and throat chakra.

When to Avoid Performing Simhasana

  • Avoid after serious surgery. 

  • Avoid if you have knee arthritis.

  • Avoid during chronic back pain. 

  • Avoid if you have a hernia or ulcers.

  • Avoid if you have serious breathing issues. 

  • Avoid if you have calf, wrist, or hamstring injuries.

  • Avoid if you have injured ankles or knee ligaments.

How to do Simhasana (Lion Pose)

Lion pose practice is divided into multiple stages below. 

Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Simhasana

Lion pose requires an active spine, an open pelvic floor, and strong knees. Here are some warm up poses to prepare your body:  

1. Dandasana (Staff Pose): Sit with your legs extended forward and your toes pointing toward the ceiling. Maintain a straight spine, place platysma hands at the sides of your glutes and hold this pose here for a few seconds. 

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

This will enhance flexibility in your legs and hamstrings and help activate your spine and pelvic floor muscles. 

2. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose): Continuing from Staff position, bring your legs into a namaste formation and keep your spine straight by holding both your feet in place with your palms. Make sure that your knees are close to the ground. 

 Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Hold this position here or flap your thighs up and down without resting on the ground for a few seconds. Do this until you feel your glutes, hip flexors, and inner thighs all warmed up. 

3. Virasana (Hero Pose): 

This modern kneeling yoga asana enables you to stretch your front thighs and activate your knees and spine. 

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Kneel on your mat, firm your shoulders, sit straight, rest your bottom on the floor in the space between your legs, and place your palms on your knees. Hold this pose here for 2-3 minutes. 

Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Simhasana

The following are steps to practice Simhasana or Lion pose: 

Step 1- Sit in the center of your yoga mat and start with Vajrasana position. 

Step 2- Next, spread your thighs at the front, lean slightly forward, and place both palms between your thigh gap. 

Step 3- Inhale deep, focus between your eyebrows for a few seconds, and exhale.

Step 4-  As you exhale, stick your tongue out and make a roaring sound (HAAARRHH) like a lion. 

Step 5- Repeat the roaring for a couple more seconds and finally relax by returning to Vajrasana position. 

Breath Awareness: 

  • Inhale: While sitting in the forward lean stance, ready to roar. 

  • Exhale: Perform an elongated exhale from your lungs, while your throat is about to make a roaring sound. 

Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold Simhasana for 10-30 seconds with 2-3 roars. 

Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold Simhasana for 30-60 seconds with 5-10 roars. 

Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind

The following are some posture cues to keep in mind while performing Lion pose to make your practice is safe and effective. 

  • Align your spine: Your spine needs to be straight if Lion pose is performed with crossed legs, or keep your spine slightly leaning forward, making a 45-degree angle with the ground. This will help you make sure that your back is flexed or appropriately relaxed. 

  • Distribute your body weight: If you’re not distributing your body weight evenly on both your legs in the starting position, then you might not be able to maintain Lion pose for very long. Make sure your body is not excessively compressing any one leg. 

Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Simhasana

Below are some counter yoga poses to relax your spine and knees after a prolonged hold of Simhasana: 

1. Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose): Exit Lion pose, sit straight in Virasana for a few seconds, and start to descend backward. Slowly rest your back between the gap of your legs. 

Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)

You can also stretch your arms over your head for deeper shoulder relaxation. Rest in this pose for 2-5 minutes. 

2. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose): From Reclining hero position, get into Seated Bound Angle Pose. Position your legs in namaste formation and start to lean back on the ground. 

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

Lie down entirely and rest your head, neck, and shoulders on the ground. Now, extend both arms overhead and close your eyes. This will help your back, spine, and shoulders to relax, enabling you to unwind any leftover tension in your back muscles. 

Simhasana Modifications and Props

Below is a beginner-friendly Lion pose modification with props to make your practice more comfortable and easy to hold longer:

  • Add a Simhasana Box: This wooden box is shaped specially to warm up, condition, and contour your spine during the Lion Pose II, which can be challenging without the prop. 

Add a Simhasana Box

To try this modification, get into easy Simhasana and lean your torso on the slant board, knees crossed, touching the base of the box, and with both arms on the side, head up, gazing forward, and tongue out. 

Simhasana Variations to Consider

Depending upon your physical ability, try practicing any of the following Lion pose variations to advance your practice: 

1. Lion Breathe in Cross-Legged Pose - Sit in Padmasana and close your eyes. Make sure you’re sitting up straight with your knees close to the ground and your hands resting on your knees in Gayan Mudra

 Lion Breathe in Cross-Legged Pose

Now, inhale deep, and practice the lion roaring action with elongated exhales. This will help you build breath and roar coordination before you move on to the main pose practice. 

2. Lion Pose with Reverse Wrist Grip - Get into Thunderbolt position, spread your front thighs, and place both palms in this gap created with your thighs. Keep your grip reversed, meaning your fingers must be facing your pelvis. 

Lion Pose with Reverse Wrist Grip

Now, inhale deeply and exhale with a roaring sound. Repeat this for 3 to 5 minutes for increased agility in your arms, elbows, and wrists. 

3. Simhasana II (Lion Pose II) - 

Start by sitting in a seated cross-legged position. Now, slowly place your palms in front of you and drag your body forward in the cross-leg stance so that you’re front thighs are pressing on the yoga mat. 

Simhasana II (Lion Pose II)

Next, take a deep breath and exhale with a roar like a lion. Repeat this roaring breath 5 to 10 times and finally release the pose. To exit, come into a table-top position and relax your arms and spine. 

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Level-Up Poses After Simhasana for Advanced Yogis

For advanced practitioners, here are some advanced postures that will continue to challenge your breathing capacity and tone full body muscles. 

Once you have mastered the Lion pose in the Thunderbolt position and all its variations, try the following seated advanced yoga poses. 

Level-Up Pose 1 - Malasana Variation (Garland Pose with Lion Breath)

Level-Up Pose 2 - Utkata Konasana Variation (Goddess Pose with Lion Breath)

Level-Up Pose 3 - Laghu Vajrasana (Backbend Thunderbolt Pose)

Malasana Variation (Garland Pose with Lion Breath)

Malasana Variation (Garland Pose with Lion Breath)

Utkata Konasana Variation (Goddess Pose with Lion Breath)

Utkata Konasana Variation (Goddess Pose with Lion Breath)

Laghu Vajrasana

Laghu Vajrasana 

Similar Seated Poses like Simhasana

The following are a few seated yoga poses that are similar to Lion pose practice. 

  1. Virasana (Hero Pose)

  2. Dandasana (Staff Pose)

  3. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

  4. Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

  5. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

  6. Paschimottanasana (The Forward Bend)

Frequently Asked Questions about Simhasana (Lion Pose)

Can beginners perform Simhasana?

What are the different stretches in Simhasana?

What are the benefits of Simhasana yoga?

What are the different variations in the Simhasana lion pose?

Who should avoid performing Simhasana yoga?

Which asana is recommended to be performed after Simhasana?

Articles about Simhasana (Lion Pose)
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