Tutorial: the mighty lion

This week I want to introduce a mixture of a yoga pose with pranayama (breathing) called “Lion’s Breath” or “Lion’s Pose” (Simhasana).

 

Person’s living with PD may experience what is known as a “masked face“. This can include; lack of blinking, lack of expressions associated with emotion, smiling, frowning and grinning. In addition, someone can experience hypophonia (softened speech), difficulty clearing the throat, and speech/swallowing issues. Drawing attention to the muscles in the face, neck and surrounding throat can help to regain a sense of control of facial and related movements. Lion’s breath is a great way to emphasize facial movements more than you would in day-to-day experiences. Also, there is constriction of the throat muscles, which can be very beneficial.

Benefits:

  • Alleviating tension in the chest, neck and face
  • Release emotional tension, frustration, resentment and negativity
  • Is said to improve speech, mainly word pronunciation and alleviate stutters
Contraindications:
  • If knee injury sit in a chair or use supports under your knees (blanket) and sits-bones (block)

How:

  • Come to your knees *note: place a blanket under your knees if you need a little extra cushion or sit on a block to elevate your hips, finally sitting in a chair works too!
  • Cross the right ankle over the back of the left and sit back on your heels
  • Sit tall and spread your palms wide on your knees or thighs
  • Inhale deeply and lengthen the spine, spreading the shoulder blades apart and spreading the fingers wide (like lions’ claws!) feel your face relaxed
  • Open your mouth and eyes wide, sticking your tongue out and reaching it down for the chin as you roll your eyes upward (think Gene Simmons!)
  • Exhale out your mouth and contract the muscle in the front of your throat so you make a loud “ha” sound, like a lion’s roar.
  • Repeat 2-3 more times, then switch the cross of your feet, and practice again.

As you exhale, imagine releasing negativity and fatigue, and Yogic texts say that lion’s breath combats disease. Give it a try, and see if you don’t at least feel your face and neck engage, some lightness, and perhaps a bit more positivity … just ask Gene! much love.

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