Seated meditative preparatory pose. One of 15 asanas described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Assists in easing nasal and throat passage conditions, helps stop stammering. Can alleviate eye strain and aid in better functioning of the carotid sinus, the sinus nerves, the larynx, the respiratory system as well as the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
Relaxes the nervous system and calms the mind. Can help develop courage and bravery - wonderful antidote to low self esteem and timidity.
Subtle Body Benefits
Activates the bandhas – pranic locks – and intensifies pranic volume in the channels.
Produces a profound and deep meditative state if practiced in conjunction with the outer method of being very careful never to upset the minds of others.
Sit with spine perfectly upright in Vajrasana. Place palms on knees with the fingers extended straight ahead.
As an alternative, you could also sit in Bhadrasana, similar to Vajrasana but with the knees apart, toes together. Place palms on the floor in front of your groin with fingers pointing towards you, lower arms extended without locking the elbows.
You could also sit in Padmasana, Siddhasana, or Sukhasana with hands resting on thighs.
Inhale deeply through the nose, then open your mouth and exhale through your nose and mouth, and simultaneously extend your tongue as far as you can out of your mouth curving it toward the chin. Hold your breath on this exhalation retention for a few seconds or according to your capacity and the direct instructions of your teacher with the abdomen pulled in. Widen your eyes, bare your teeth and stretch your facial muscles so that your face looks like a hungry lion.
You can gaze downward along the bridge of your nose at your nose tip if you like - Nasikagra Drishti.
You can also perform Shambhavi Mudra at this point - drawing the gaze inward and upward towards the Third Eye at the mid-eyebrow point - Bhrumadhya Drishti. This is one of the advanced mudras from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and should only be practiced on the direct instruction of your teacher.
Tips From Deep Retreat
1. Simhasana is a great asana for developing awareness of Ajna Chakra, especially if performed in conjunction with Shambhavi Mudra.
2. When you actually roar loudly as you exhale, you might notice a profound relaxation and sense of letting go - this can be important and be very helpful if you are experiencing too much nervous system activation which manifests in many different ways - neck, head or eye tension, frothy urine, anxiety, tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, airiness or flightiness.
3. Because this asana spontaneously activates the three bandhas subtly - jalandhara, mula and uddiyana - it also spontaneously induces a very natural exhalation retention. It's nice to "hang out" in this suspended breath, but only as long as you're comfortable.
4. Always follow the advice of your teacher if you incorporate Shambhavi or Nasikagra Mudra or an extended retention.
Pranayama and meditation sequence naturally after this pose.
This pose can externalize introverted people – so use it appropriately and accordingly.