For an outsider, the life of the most decorated Olympian of all times, Michael Phelps, may seem like a bed of roses. But he too had a dark phase. “I didn’t want to live anymore,” he said to Business Insider. US swimming champion Phelps opened up about the depressive episodes in his life when he couldn’t find the strength to get out of bed. The 23-time gold medallist, Phelps revealed that when he was going through one of his darkest phases, a breathing exercise helped him calm down and relax. Now, he’s teaching his kid, two-year-old Boomer the same technique, called Lion’s Breath, also known as Simhasana in yoga.
Simhasana means “the lion pose” in Sanskrit. The final asana or pose resembles a sitting, roaring lion, which inspired the name. Katrina Kaif to Train with Michael Phelps! ‘Wanna Know What You Taught Him,’ Teases Arjun Kapoor on Instagram.
How to Perform Simhasana (Watch Video):
Phelps says of Boomer: “When he gets frustrated, he’ll try to take a deep breath, and almost take a step back, and rethink everything or use his words instead of throwing a temper tantrum and just letting his emotions come out.”
He added that not reacting and letting the stress build up inside will turn out to be a “gigantic bomb” that will go off at any given point. Shashi Tharoor Berates US Website For Calling Pranayam ‘Cardiac Coherence Breathing,’ Wins Hearts on Twitter.
Boomer has already taken to the technique like fish to water. Phelps admits that sometimes, his two-year-old asks him to take the lion breath sometimes.
How to Perform Lion’s Breath or Simhasana
It involves breathing in deeply and exhaling forcefully by opening the mouth wide. In some variants, people stick their tongue out, stretching the face and opening the eyes wide. The pose is said to reduce your stress and also benefit the face, eyes, tongue, throat, vocal cords, abdomen, lungs, chest and the diaphragm.
To perform Simhasana, kneel on the floor and then sit on your haunches. Cross the front of your right ankle over the back of the left. Press palms against the knees and splay your fingers out. Inhale deeply through the nose. Hold in the breath.
Now open your mouth wide slowly, stick your tongue out and curl it downward.
Exhale with an audible ‘aaahhh...” sound.
Lion’s breath technique or Simhasana has many health benefits. By stimulating the Manipura chakra, it also improves mental health and self-esteem.