The Lion is associated with the Qian trigram. Qian is spirit force, or Heaven, and the father of the trigrams. Qian is pure Yang and represents strength and creativity. In the body, it represents the head, and the Interlocking Palm in the martial arts.
Sun Lutang said, “the Lion is strict, dignified, ardent, fiery, virtuous, and heroic.” He emphasized the Lion palm in his practice saying that “it compromised the first of 10,000 methods.”
To perform the Lion, walk the circle in the Holding the Spear Mother Palm and perform a Single Palm Change. When exiting the Single Palm Change, however, the right hand will slide out under the left elbow as the left hand turns over to assume its position at the forehead.
Sun Lutang starts this change from the Pushing Millstone Palm. I prefer to start the Animal Palm changes from the fixed posture representing the animal.
Walk the circle in the left facing Holding the Spear Palm. Toe-in with the right foot to begin the change.
Continue as in the Single Palm Change by lowering the right palm to push out as your toe-out with the left foot.
The form does not stop. Close the posture with a toe-in of the right foot.
Reverse direction and twist back to the center of circle. But instead of raising palms as in the Single and Double Palm changes, keep the right arm flat with the left palm held over it as if you are carrying something.
Toe-out with the right foot and prepare to walk the circle in the opposite direction. As you toe-out the left hand rises to the forehead.
It is easy to raise the shoulders when performing Lion Opens its Big Mouth. As you begin walking, take a breath or two to relax your shoulders, and focus on the alignment of the posture. The purpose of walking the circle is not to perform the palm changes, it is to focus on your alignments, stepping, and breathing. This is a meditative practice. Each of the Lion Palms has a unique objective, do not confuse them.