A Yoga Practice for Anger
"Your anger can be the best part of you, sweetheart."
That's what my therapist said to me.
It hit strong. I knew immediately what she said was true. I started to cry.
"It's possible to love your anger. Your anger shows you where your boundary is."
It always seemed to me that emotions are a lot like fashion trends. Some people can really pull it off. Others, only a few people could away wearing. Happy is a good pair of jeans. Confident, a white t-shirt. They never go out of style. Angry is a suit appropriate for very limited settings, and not right for most others - definitely not me.
When I took my therapist's suggestion to love my anger, and explore it rather than ignore it I naturally used my Yoga practices to aide in the process.
So if you've been working with anger lately here are some practices I have found helpful.
Embracing anger the inner fire it stokes feels in contrast to Yoga on the service. Vairagya, after all is a practice in itself. However, vairagya, which is often considered dispassion or non-attachment, doesn't mean things won't piss me off, or righteously fire me up. I am human after all.
Instead, I've come to understand that suppression is not non-attachment. In fact, it's ultimate attachment. Suppression means I am keeping something with me way down deep and never actually facing it because it becomes too painful or feels too shameful. Yoga practices can help move through the immediate sting and bring some mastery over the emotion and experience that I'm feeling, so that a more beautiful inner state is possible.
1. Use the Heat Through Movement
If you're really feeling angry this probably won't be hard to do. Building and using heat in the body through movement can be a great way to shift the fire from sitting in your belly, your heart, or your throat, and allow dilute throughout the body where it can be put to proper use. Movement requires energy. So use your fire as fuel, and don't hold back until you feel like you've shifted from a concentrated heat, to an evenly metabolized heat.
2. Tell Yourself What You're Angry About Using Your Voice
In Yoga we have a practice of Satya. Sat is the root of this word, and it means truth. We also have a practice known as Svadhyaya, which is the practice of studying ourselves or knowing ourselves. When we are willing to acknowledge to ourselves the belief about the anger it doesn't mean we need to voice it anyone around us (or the person that perhaps influenced our heat.) Rather, it's a practice of being honest with ourselves and then getting to know more about ourselves in that process.
3. Control Your Breathing
In Yoga we call this pranayama. Prana is vital life force, and yama is a control, boundary, or restraint. Two great pranayama practices for anger include Lions Breath (inhale through the nose, tougue out, exhale out the mouth). Lion's Breath will help you let some heat out and similar to movement shift from feeling concentrated and bubbling over, to a more balanced space. Then follow it up with 3 part breath, which is a deep diaphragmatic breath filling belly, ribs, and chest, then exhales that releases chest, ribs, and finally belly. 3 Part Breath soothes the nervous system shifting from a state of high arousal to a place of calm.
In this process don't struggle for angers, or try and put a goal to the practice. Instead just witness and observe. See what comes up. No matter what, taking practices like this puts space between the feeling and the next action. If there is action that needs to be taken you can use your practice to do it from a place where you feel empowered, centered, and clear.
3/18/2023 11:21:17 pm
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Hi there! You found me. My name is Julia Marie Lopez. For 22 years I have studied meditation and mindful movement as my primary tools for healing. For the past 13 years I have worked as an instructor, a wellness business owner, the Founder of Practice Everywhere, and now I am embarking on a new adventure to expand how we define our Personal and Public Practices.
Since I offer you my experience and perspective, share my writing about life, love and wellness, and offer a bit of unsolicited advice, I think you should also know that I do include affiliate links and promotions in some of blogs. If you make an action (such as sign ups, memberships, or purchases) I might earn a commission. I promise to use this income to support my love of coffee, dogs, yoga, and my family (in no particular order).💜