Simha Kriya The Lions Yawn

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This practice is also known as simhasana and simha mudra, and in the yoga upanishads as simhagarjanasana (roaring lion pose). We have already described methods of cleaning and revitalizing the various different organs of the head, such as the nose, eyes, etc.1. Simha kriya supplements these previous practices by giving an excellent massage and stimulation to the organs of the throat, in particular the tonsils. These two insignificant looking guardians of the throat have a decisive role to play in maintaining good health.

The tonsils

If you open your mouth and look in a mirror you will see two masses of spongy tissue seated at the back of the mouth in front and on each side of the throat. These are called the tonsils. Similar masses are to be found at the back of the nose (called the adenoids), on the back of the tongue and also scattered over the walls of the throat. These all form part of the lymphatic system and are known as lymph nodes.

One of the functions of the lymphatic system is to eliminate toxins from the body. As such it performs an essential role, for it is in the accumulation of toxins that germs breed resulting in disease. Poisons and bacteria that are mopped up in the system are trapped and concentrated in the lymph nodes, including the tonsils, prior to expulsion from the body. This bacteria is neutralized by antibodies which are produced within the lymph nodes.

Sometimes, however, the build-up of toxins within the system becomes too great and this overwhelms the lymph nodes. Under these circumstances the nodes themselves become infected. In the case of the tonsils the result is a painful inflammation and fever known as tonsillitis.

The normal medical practice, which fortunately is losing favour, is to remove these tonsils when they start to become inflamed. This does not solve the problem because the real reason for the inflammation is an over-toxic blood system. In fact in the long run removal causes more problems than it solves, since these small organs are vital in protecting the body against the onset of disease. Yoga approaches this ailment in a more natural manner. Through asanas and pranayama the entire body is purified of poisons and the occurrence of tonsillitis and other ailments connected with the lymphatic system become less likely.

Simha kriya in particular influences the tonsils. It stimulates the blood flow to the tonsils and thereby flushes out accumulated toxins. As such it is a powerful technique for preventing and often removing tonsillitis.


Place a blanket on the floor. Sit in vajrasana2.

Separate the knees about 45 cms. The toes of the feet should be in contact. Lean forwards and place the hands on the floor between the legs.

The hands should be side by side with the fingers pointing backwards. The elbows should point backwards. Straighten the arms fully and arch the back; this is important in giving the maximum stretch to the front of the neck.

Tilt the head backwards sufficiently so that there is a comfortable amount of tension in the neck.

Simha Kriya

The eyes should be kept open during the practice, with the gaze directed at the centre of the eyebrows or at a point on the ceiling in front of you.

Keep the mouth closed. Fold the tongue backwards so that the tip presses hard against the soft palate at the top and back of the mouth. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. At the end of the inhalation release the tension of the tongue, open the mouth and extend the tongue outwards and towards the chin as far as possible.

Exhale slowly. Simultaneously produce a clear, loud and steady vocal sound from the throat;

in other words an aaah sound. If one wishes the tongue can be also moved from side to side while emitting the sound.

At the end of exhalation, again press the tongue against the upper palate of the mouth.

Close the mouth and breathe in.

This is 1 round. Do as many rounds as time permits.


There are a number of variations of simha kriya. The following are the same as the basic technique except that the sitting positions are different.

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