Lion's Breath: How to Practice and Potential Benefits – Greatist

Looking for a breathing exercise that can give you the heart of a lion? Enter: Lion’s Breath (aka simhasana).
Here’s a deep-dive into how this technique works and some of the perks that it can bring your bod 🦁.
Lion’s Breath is a type of yogic breath regulation (aka pranayama). It’s an empowering exercise that can help reduce stress and increase confidence. It even seems to have a positive effect on your respiratory system 🫁.
In a Lion’s Breath sesh, you’ll place your hands on your knees to imitate a lion’s claws. Then, inhale through your nose and exhale deeply through your mouth.
Lots of peeps say Lion’s Breath is a great way to relax your throat, jaw, and face. Some folks also believe it can eliminate toxins, reduce tension, and bolster respiratory function. But more on that in a bit 😉.
Bonus: You don’t need to be a seasoned yogi or have a gym membership to reap the benefits. Folks of all fitness levels can do Lion’s Breath just about anywhere!
Lion’s Breath is a fab way to start or finish a meditation or yoga practice, but it can also stand on its own as a solo practice.
Here’s a play-by-play on how to do Lion’s Breath:
Here are some of our top tips to help you make the most out of your Lion’s Breath sesh.
Lion’s Breath can help you let go of stale or painful emotional energy. As you exhale, imagine you’re releasing any thoughts or vibes that don’t serve you. Then envision fresh energy coming into your body as you inhale.
PSA: You might notice some mental resistance during Lion’s Breath sessions. And that’s OK! Just acknowledge those feelings and send them away when you’re ready.
Here’s a rundown of the potential perks that Lion’s Breath has to offer.
A research review suggested yogic breathing can help manage asthma symptoms. According to another research review, this might be thanks to the way that these breathing exercises can stabilize carbon dioxide levels.
This type of breathing may also help decrease the bronchospasms that lead to breathlessness. But TBH, we need more research to show whether Lion’s Breath on its own can help manage these symptoms.
There’s some research to back the idea that breathing exercises can benefit folks who are on the autism spectrum. A case report looked at the effects of multisensory yoga sessions on a 7-year-old with Apert and Asperger’s syndrome. Researchers found that 4 weeks of twice-a-week sessions had a positive impact on the child’s physical performance, social engagement, and expressive emotions.
An older 2010 case report showed that breathing deeply can help you feel calm and ease anxiety. This can be super beneficial to anyone who feels social anxiety or environmental stress. But again, we need more science.
According to a small study, breathing exercises can help increase your lung capacity. This could help folks who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung diseases that can block airflow.
Another small study found that yogic breathing helped increase exercise tolerance in participants with symptomatic, moderate-to-severe COPD. Controlled yoga breathing also helped free airways that were blocked by emphysema or bronchitis symptoms. While this is top-notch news, we need more in-depth studies to prove the perks.
There’s some anecdotal evidence that shows pranayama can help:
Remember, these potential perks aren’t backed by scientific studies. We need more real research before we know if these benefits are the real deal.
Lion’s Breath is a breathing exercise that boasts beaucoup health benefits. It can help reduce stress and may perk up respiratory function. You can add it to your yoga or meditation practice, or do it as a standalone activity throughout the day.
Just keep in mind, breath manipulation isn’t a cure-all. Contact your doc ASAP if you’re experiencing breathing or other health conditions.
Last medically reviewed on September 8, 2021
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