Simhasana – 1
Simha means a lion. This asana is dedicated to Narasirnha (Nara = man : Simha = lion), the Man-Lion Incarnation of Visnu. It is related that the demon king Hirana Kasipu had obtained a boon from Brahma ensuring that he would not be killed by day or night, in or out of his house, on land or water, by God, man or beast. The demon king then persecuted both gods and men, including his pious son Prahlada, who was an ardent devotee of Visnu. Prahlada was subjected to a variety of cruelties and ordeals, but by the favour of Visnu he remained unscathed and preached with greater faith and vigour the omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of Lord Visnu. In a fit of exasperation Hiranya Kasipu asked his son why, if Visnu was omnipresent, he could not see Him in the pillar of his palace hall. The demon king contemptuously kicked the pillar to convince his son of the absurdity of his faith. When Prahlada called upon Visnu for help, the Lord burst from the pillar in a fearful form, the top half being a lion and the lower half a man. It was then dusk, when it was neither day nor night. The Lord lifted Hiranya Kasipu in the air, seated Himself on the threshold, placed the demon king on His thigh and tore him to pieces. Narasirpha Avatar is often depicted in Indian sculpture and one such powerful group can be seen in the Ellora caves.
1. Sit on the floor, with the legs stretched straight in front.
2. Raise the seat, bend the right knee and place the right foot under the left buttock. Then bend the left knee and place the left foot under the right buttock. The left ankle should be kept under the right one.
3· Sit on the heels with the toes pointing back.
4· Then bring the weight of the body on the thighs and knees.
5· Stretch the trunk forward and keep the back erect.
6. Place the right palm on the right knee and the and the left palm on the left knee. Stretch the arms straight and keep them stiff. Spread the fingers and press them against the knees.
7. Open the jaws wide and stretch the tongue out towards the chin as far as you can.
8. Gaze at the centre of the eyebrows or at the tip of the nose. Stay in the pose for about 30 seconds, breathing through the mouth.
9. Withdraw the tongue into the mouth, lift the hands from the knees and straighten the legs. Then repeat the pose, first placing the left foot under the right buttock and then the right foot under the left buttock.
10. Stay for an equal length of time on both sides.
The pose cures foul breath and cleans the tongue. After continued practice speech becomes clearer so this asana is recommended to stammerers. It also helps one to master the three Bandhas.