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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.