What Is A Lion’s Breath?
It helps in extending the breath and vital life forces. It also increases lung capacity, increases mindfulness, and helps in getting good sleep.
Lion’s breath is a type of breathing practice or pranayama. It involves sticking out the tongue and roaring like a lion. It may make you look silly but would make you feel really good. If practiced as first thing in the morning it would warm you up and increase energy levels.
How To Do A Lion’s Breath
Lion’s breath can be done at the beginning and the end of asana or breathing exercises. It can also be done in a variety of sitting position that includes:
- Hero pose
- Thunderbolt pose
- Easy pose
- To do Lion’s breath breathing exercise, focus your gaze or fixate your third eye. Concentrate on the tip of your nose, you can also open your eyes wide and gaze up towards the ceiling or the sky.
- Seat yourself in a comfortable position. Lean forward, with the palm on your knees or the floor. Spread the fingers wide apart. Inhale through the nose.
- Open the mouth wide and stick out the tongue and stretch it down towards the chin. Exhale forcefully with the breath crossing the root of the tongue. While exhaling, make sure the ‘ha’ sound comes from deep within the abdomen.
- Breathe normally for a few minutes and then repeat. Lion’s breath can be repeated up to 7 times.
- Finish it by breathing deeply for 1-3 minutes.
What are the Benefits of Doing Lion’s Breath?
Lion’s breath is a type of pranayama that helps in alleviating stress and stimulating the throat and upper chest. Lion’s breath is a great practice to let go off the negative energy throughout the day and increase positive energy.
Lion’s breath is known to benefit the body in the following ways:
- Relaxes throat and face. Lion’s breath helps clear throat in those with a throat tickle and dry throat. It relaxes facial and throat muscles.
- Stimulates vocal cords and diaphragm. It is a favourite breathing exercise for people with speech impairment and singers.
- Lion’s breath helps in releasing emotions. It helps in those parts of life when you speak up in a certain situation where you tend to shy away.
- It brings about positive effects on exercise tolerance in people with symptomatic and moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Research done showed positive effects of breathing exercise on COPD(2).
- Breathing exercises like pranayama and Lions Breath also benefit people with asthma. Research shows a positive effect of breathing exercises on childhood asthma(3).
- They reduce hyperventilation and normalize carbon-dioxide levels. They also help in reducing bronchospasm caused by breathlessness.
- Pranayama is also known to reduce anxiety, improve respiratory endurance, and boost immunity.
- Pranayama is also known to have a positive impact on Apert and Asperger’s syndrome. A study was conducted on a 7 years old boy with Apert and Asperger’s syndrome. Lion’s breath had a positive effect on the child’s ability to self-regulate stress(4).
Few of the other concerns where Pranayama and other breathing exercises like Lions Breath has shown to be helpful are:
- Improving sleep quality
- Lessens cigarette craving
- Enhance mindfulness
- Alleviates stress and anxiety
- Increases cognitive function
- Lowers blood pressure
Lion’s breath is a beneficial and enjoyable breathing yoga exercise that can be added to the yoga practice. It can help in loosening up and having fun.
While doing any type pranayama, pay extra attention if you are a beginner. Stop if there is a feeling of nausea, anxiety, or shortness of breath.
If you have a problem doing it get advice from a qualified yoga instructor. He can help you know the technique better and design it the way it would be good for you.