The Sanskrit word simha which literally means "the powerful one" is the word for "lion." This, therefore is known as the lion posture, and one performing it can be said to resemble a roaring lion about to attack.
Simhasana: The Lion Pose - Detailed Description
"Place the two heels under the perineum with soles turned upwards; hands to rest on the knees which should touch the ground. Open your mouth as you perform thejalandhara-mudra (chin lock) and fix your gaze on the root of the nose. This is Simha-asana, the destroyer of all diseases." - Hatha-yoga-pradipika I.37
- Sit up on the knees with the heels of the feet pressed against the buttocks and the calves of the legs flat on the floor.
- Place the balls of the hands on the knees, straighten the arms and keep the back erect and the head straight (not tilted forward, back, to the left or the right).
- Inhale while leaning forward slightly, stretching the mouth the jaws as wide as possible, extend the tongue out and downward as much as possible, fix your gaze either at the tip of the nose or between the eyebrows and stretch the fingers straight out from the knees.
- Hold the posture for the duration of the inhaled breath then exhale, relaxing the forward stretch, dropping the fingers to the knees and closing the mouth and eyes.
- The simha-asana benefits parts of the body that most other asanas do not: the face, jaw, mouth, throat and tongue. Those who experience tightness or discomfort in the jaws such as teeth grinding, clenched jaws, a misaligned bite, etc. will benefit from both the jaw and tongue stretching of the simha-asana.
- This asana is also known to help prevent or cure sore throats.
- The muscles and tissues of the face are rejuvenated from the alternating stretching and release, an exercise they rarely get in the course of our everyday lives.
- The fixed gaze relieves tense or burning eyes and the stretched fingers benefits the hands and wrists.