“A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man.”
Lion Pose (Simhasana) is a favorite of my yoga students of all ages, and helps relieve stress. The term ‘Simhasana’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Simha’ which means ‘lion’ and ‘asana’ which means ‘pose’.
Simhasana, lion pose Step by Step:
- Kneel on the floor and sit on your heels. Cross the front of your right ankle over the back of your left (if you feel you can do so and feel steady).
- Sit tall with head and chest held high like a lion.
- Place your hands, palms down, on your knees.
- Keep your spine straight and body in relaxed position.
- Fan the palms and spread your fingers like the large, sharp claws of a lion’s paw.
- Take a deep breath. Inhale and exhale completely
- Take a deep breath in through your nose. Open your mouth wide, stretching out your tongue and curling its tip down toward the chin. Open your eyes wide, slowly breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound, (the breath will pass over the back of the throat,) while bringing your palms forward onto the mat. Keep your head up.
- Older children may try to set their gaze or drishti at the spot between the eyebrows. This is called mid-brow gazing, bhru-madhya-drisht. Or, direct the eyes to the tip of the nose, nasa-agra-drishti.
- Close your mouth and eyes. Take a short break in between each repetition. Roar two or three times.
- Children often get over excited roaring like the Lion King. I ask them to try practicing as a lion cub and a lioness, then talk about how they felt practicing each roar.
- Pounce like a lion: Spring forward as you roar. Bring your weight forward with hands and knees or bring your whole body forward, placing your palms on the floor to support yourself.
I AM BRAVE
I AM STRONG
I AM POWERFUL
I AM A LEADER
I AM AWESOME
- Alleviates tension in the face, neck and body.
- Strengthens the diaphragm.
- Trains the various muscles involved in speech and is helpful for those who stutter.
- Releases excess energy.
- Connects children to their inner strength.
- Elevates your spirits.
Young children love to be playful and use their imagination. Most of my yoga classes for ages preschool to grade 2 incorporate animal poses, whether recreating a book or a story, or creating adventures to the jungle or the zoo. The Lion pose is one of the children’s favorite breaths and poses. Three of the books that I read that include a lion, thus simhasana:
We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs
Elmer by David McKee
You Are a Lion by Taeeun Yoo
Naturally, the song to accompany us as we march through the jungle is The Lion Sleeps Tonight from the CD DJ’s Choice-Games and Songs and Sing-A-Longs.