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Simhagarjnasana (Roaring lion pose)

There are so many Asanas related to the reference point of nature and wildlife. Simhgarjnasana is one of those Asanas. The Sanskrit word Simha, which literally means the powerful one, is the word for lion. This, therefore, is known as the lion posture. While performing, it resembles a roaring lion about to attack. Roaring loudly like a lion depicts the fierceness of the lion which benefits those parts of the body where it is stretched and pulled. Sticking your tongue out stimulates the throat and cultivates courage and fearlessness. If possible practice this Asana during sunrise time facing eastern direction. Learn the story related to this Asana:

THE STORY BEHIND

There once lived a ferocious king named Hiranya-Kashyapu. Through penance he had obtained the boon that he could neither be killed by man nor by beast, neither by day nor by night, neither indoors nor when outdoors and neither by hand nor by weapon. Considering himself invincible, he wrecked havoc on earth.

Hiranya-Kashyapu despised Lord Vishnu. Strangely enough Hiranya-Kashyapu’s son, Prahlada was a pious boy and a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Hiranya-Kashyapu tried to kill him many times. The servants threw Prahlada from top of mountains and in to the sea but could not kill him. Snakes and fire also could not harm him. Each time Prahlada was protected by Lord Vishnu.

Hiranya-Kashyapu asked Prahlada whether Vishnu was present in the pillar and took his mace to hit the pillar. Finally, Lord Vishnu emerged from the pillar in the incarnation of a dreadful creature, half-man-half-lion called Narasimha (the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Nara means man, Simha means lion. The Hiranya-Kashyapu hit Narasimha with his mace but Narasimha brushed it aside swiftly. It was twilight. The man-lion dragged Hiranya-Kashyapu to the threshold.

Narasimha sat on the threshold of the court room, placed the body of the demon on his thighs, and pierced his nails into the body of the demon and broke open his stomach killing him. There neither indoors nor outdoors Narasimha tore the evil king apart with his sharp claws.



POSITION OF SIMHAGARJNASANA

Choose the sitting position that's right for you, depending on your degree of flexibility and practice. It can be Vajrasana (Kneeling), simple cross-legged or Padmasana (the Lotus pose). Whichever position is used, the method is the same.

POSITION OF READINESS IN VAJRASANA

Sit in Vajrasana with balls of your hands on the knees, straighten the arms and keep the back erect, head straight (not tilted forward, back, to the left or the right). Inhale slowly through the nose and gently lean over the hands.

POSITION OF READINESS IN PADMASANA

Sit in Padmasana & stand on the knees. Extend the arms in the front and place them on the floor with fingers pointing towards your body. Inhale slowly through the nose and gently lean over the hands & push the pelvic region to the floor.

TECHNIQUE FOR ALL THE SITTING POSITIONS

• While exhaling through the mouth do the following things simultaneously:
• Stretch the mouth, the jaws as wide as possible & extend the tongue out and downward as much as you can.
• Open the eyes as wide as you can and make them look frightening.
• Fix your gaze either at the tip of the nose or between the eyebrows and stretch the fingers straight out from the knees and make the ‘hhhaaa’ sound as loud as you can from the throat.
• You need to copy the roaring lion.
• After exhaling out completely place the tongue inside and shut the lips close.
• This completes one round of Simhagarjnasana.
• Then breathe again from nose & repeat the exercise 4-6 times.

AWARENESS

• For physical body, awareness should be on the throat.
• For spiritual body, awareness should be on Vishuddhi or Ajna Chakra.

REFLEXTIONS

• Bring Lord Narasimha to mind while doing the Lion pose
• Ask yourself, what demons do I need to destroy in myself to expand beyond my limitations
• Repeat the pose asking how do I use my personal power

BENEFITS

• The Simha Asana cleans the nerves from throat to brain. So it benefits in alleviating diseases of throat, nose, ears, eyes and mouth.

• This Asana involves the stretching of the tongue as you are required to mimic the roaring lion. So it increases the circulation to the root of the tongue and to the throat and has medicinal value for curing throat trouble, voice deficiency and tonsillitis.

• Problems like tightness of the jaw like teeth grinding, clenched jaws can get relief by performing this Asana regularly.

• It has a good effect on the respiratory system. It activates the larynx, trachea and all the bronchioles.
• Tension is removed from the chest and diaphragm. Lungs are toned up. Problems like asthma, hidden cough are benefited. It develops a strong and beautiful voice.

• The stretching and pulling stimulates the nerves to give you a refreshed look. It can be treated as a very good Asana which can remove your wrinkles and can be stated as anti-ageing Yoga Asana.

• The gaze which is used in the Asana helps your eyes by keeping it shiny and bright. It removes the tension from the eyes and also clears burning sensation which you keep feeling in your eyes.

• It removes anger as your hands and fingers stretch while performing this Asana.

• Suffering from neck or backache can get relief. The central nervous system is recharged with energy.

• Simhagarjnasana is helpful for those who stutter or who are nervous and introverted. It adds confidence in your posture and your character. Memory, concentration and will power develop.

CONCLUSION

Yoga is liberation from limitations, and fear is one of the biggest reactions, not a choice. In the Lion pose, you learn to contact the source of power within yourself. When you embody Narasimha's power, you can conquer your demons instead of hiding them or projecting them out onto someone else. The Lion shows you that powerful emotions don't have to be choked back or flung out. 

They can be released with the breath, transformed through sound and elevated through intention. It teaches you about courage, about taking risks. You overcome hesitations and tackle fears. At its best the Lion pose leads you definitely, furiously, completely into the moment without an ounce of holding back. In that moment you experience the refreshing freedom of wholeheartedness.

Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna

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