SIMHA KRIYA OR THE PURIFYING GESTURE OF THE LION
The technique of Simha Kriya or "purifying gesture of the lion" is very valuable due to its quality of purifying the mental level.
It can also be practiced independently, at any time of day, even if it is not accompanied by an asana.
With your mouth closed, turn your tongue so that its tip and posterior part touches the palate, pressing hard with the tongue on the palate. Keep this pressure high during one long and slow inhalation.
When the lungs are filled with air, open suddenly the mouth and quickly push the tongue out of the mouth as far as you can.
In the same time, exhale letting out the sound haaa during the whole exhalation. The vibration needs to be a little from the throat.
When your lungs are empty, repeat the technique for at least ten times, or even more if you have enough time.
HOW TO PERFORM THE ASANA
Adopt the lotus pose, Padmasana; place your palms on the floor in front of you, then transfer your weight from the hips to the arms, lifting your trunk from the floor until you are standing on your knees and arms.
The palms are placed so that the thumbs are pointing away from the trunk and the fingers are pointing towards the knees.
This position stretches the ligaments of the joints. As the elbows are pointed towards the trunk, you can stay in this position without any muscular effort.
THE FINAL POSE
Make a vigorous contraction of the back muscles and of the buttocks, push the navel as much as possible towards the floor. Perform Simha Kriya and do not bend the arms.
The body has four points of support, the knees and the hands.
Do not relax the upper part of the body, you need to contract the muscles to push the navel towards the floor.
Do not allow the shoulders to relax, making the head and neck appear hidden in between the shoulders. Keep your head up, just as a proud lion does.
THE VARIANT IN ARDHA PADMASANA
If you cannot do the lotus pose, Padmasana yet, you can still practice this asana, placing your legs in Ardha Padmasana. Alternatively, if you cannot adopt Ardha Padmasana, simply sit on your knees in Vajrasana and do Simha Kriya.
This asana is unique in that it balances the energies in the pelvic area, both in the legs and with the spine, especially the lumbar area.
For thousands of years, the yogis consider that a correct posture of the pelvis is an essential element for the overall balance of the spine. If the pelvis is misplaced, there are various deformations of the spine, and first being exaggerated lumbar curve.
The practice of Simhasana in Padmasana stretches the appropriate muscles and ligaments for maintaining the correct position of the pelvis and mobilizing the hip joint.
The pelvis is like a mono-block. It is good to remember that it is partly made of two main parts that give it the concave form, the iliac bones, and on the other hand of the sacrum with its appendix, the coccyges.
Thus it is important to be aware of the fact that the pelvis has joints. These joints are four and they allow only small movements but which are still important.
If these joints are not in their proper place, the lower part of the back may cause terrible pain. A large part of all lumbar pains are cause by these dislocations.
Simhasana in Padmasana improves the flexibility. The people who have practiced this asana perseveringly gave testimonies of acute lumbar pains that disappeared through daily practice.
However, the practice of Simhasana in Padmasana is useless during a period of lumbar pain. You have to wait until the pain has passed to be able to benefit from this asana.
Yogis consider this exercise is really important for the health of the tonsils.
The lion gesture not only activates the blood circulation in the throat area, but also the circulation of the lymph in the lymphatic ganglions. This circulation, improves the defence against infectious micro organisms.
THE SALIVARY GLANDS
During the entire time while we do Simha Kriya the saliva is more abundant due to the pressure of the salivary glands.
If we swallow this saliva, it compensates to a certain degree an insufficient mastication, the toning of the salivary glands allows them to secrete a greater quantity of saliva, making digestion easier.
As we most often eat not because we are hungry but because it is the time to eat, and as we eat boiled food that is softer and does not require much mastication, our salivary glands do not have the time or the opportunity to function properly.
The Simha Kriya performs an internal massage on the tonsils and on the rest of the glands located in this area.
This pose can be also accompanied by Mula Bandha, the contraction of the perineal muscles. Referring to these things, we will quote a Dutch doctor, Rana Polderman, a famous yoga therapist: “we would like to underline the importance of the coccyges gland Luschka (Luschka’s body) in the yoga practice.
The role of this gland is very little known in contemporary medical science. This is an irregular mass of cells situated on the top of the coccyges, with the size of a pea and oval form.
This gland is irrigated by numerous capillaries, and it has autonomous nervous fibres.
From a point of view, this gland resembles the “carotidal sinus”, located at the level of the throat, and it influences the arterial blood pressure, breath, sleep, and the altered states of consciousness.
The coccyges body performs a similar function. While we practice Mula Bandha the nervous terminations of the coccyges body are stimulated.
Through its nervous fibres, it is directly connected to the odd ganglion, an autonomous nervous centre located close to the top of the coccyges.
The western physiology offered this small and terribly important structure only a limited attention.”