Lion's Breath

Breathing Technique

For this practice we’re gonna be combining breath with  sound and movement.

  1. Sit on the floor or in a chair, or stand with your feet planted on the ground.
  2. Take a second to intentionally pause and be here now, wherever you are. You might be coming into this practice feeling low, with uncomfortable sensations, emotions, or thoughts, or maybe you’re not feeling much at all in this moment. I'm here to remind you that this is okay. This is a nervous system response - and we can maybe even thank our nervous system for trying to protect us, and just spend the next few minutes being curious about trying something new.
  3. Inhale through the nose.
  4. Exhale through the mouth with a soft "Haaaaah" sound — the kinda breath you'd do if you were trying to warm up cold hands, or fog up a window. 
  5. As you inhale through the nose, find a gentle lift in the spine. 
  6. As you exhale, press your palms into your knees and stretch your chest forward and your chin up a little to make the "Haaaaah" sound. 
  7. Repeat this 1-2 more times. 
  8. If you want to try a full lion’s breath, inhale through the nose again. 
  9. On your next exhale, this time stick your tongue all the way out, while you also try to look up towards the centre of your forehead with your eyes. As you exhale, create that same "Haaaaah" breath, but see if you can make the sound a little louder this time. 
  10. Inhale through the nose. 
  11. As you exhale, stick your tongue out and shift your gaze up as you breathe out — “Haaaaah”. 
  12. If you’d like, you can ask yourself “what emotion, thought, or sensation do I want to let go of with this breath right now?” — and imagine letting this rise through your chest as you inhale, and release through throat and jaw as you breath out with a “Haaaaah”.
  13. Whatever breath practice you have landed on, repeat it 1-2 more times, or however long feels okay for you. 
  14. Once you’ve finished, notice if anything is different from just a few moments ago. Are there any shifts, however tiny or subtle, in how your body feels? Remember that whatever comes up is okay, and if you can, just check in with yourself and see if there’s anything else you need in this moment.

( i )        This breathing technique is a great way to up-regulate the nervous system and take us out of that shut down response of the red zone.

It engages our breath with our facial muscles, our diaphragm and our vocal chords, which helps to send that up-regulating signal along multiple pathways of the vagus nerve that can help to release tension, reduce cortisol levels, and give us a little extra energy in the body and brain, and gently return back to the green zone.