why sticking out your tongue

Lion’s breath: why sticking out your tongue is beneficial

Tongue protrusion helps increase blood flow to the neck, cleans the tongue and stretches the jaw muscles

When we were little, we loved to grimace and stick our tongue out. We would have continued to do this, but parents, teachers and the rules of etiquette always told us that it was indecent. Since then, we have begun to keep our mouths shut, occasionally showing it to the therapist, and even then without much enthusiasm.

But in yoga classes, the protruding tongue is strongly encouraged, because it is very beneficial for our health. This technique is called “Lion’s breath” and belongs to the varieties of pranayama. To do it, you need to sit on your heels and put your palms on your knees. Then stretch your neck forward, pressing your chin to your chest, and bulge your eyes. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue with the sound “ha”.

The problem is that we have become so mature and shy that it has become incredibly difficult to perform lion breathing in public: we worry about looking too stupid, and we look around shyly. Meanwhile, we are depriving ourselves of the significant benefits that such pranayama offers.

First of all, from an anatomical point of view, active protrusion of the tongue (some even manage to touch their chin) helps to increase blood flow to the neck, cleanse the tongue and stretch the jaw muscles. This means that you will remove the double chin and preserve your youth for a long time, as you will keep the skin of the face and neck in good shape. And due to the use of three diaphragms, the voice improves (which is why many yogis sing delightfully and have a melodious languid voice).

You cannot give up such useful properties just because of shyness. Therefore, the next time the instructor announces that it is time for the lion to breathe, imagine that there is someone in front of you to whom you would gladly show your tongue and at whom you would look in the most daring way from under the brows.

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