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Understanding Anger Through Yoga

Anger is an emotion that not everybody is comfortable talking about. As children we are often taught to keep our anger inside, and that we shouldn’t allow the more negative of our emotions to get the better of us.

Yoga can help to teach us that it is completely normal and natural to experience anger. And what’s more is that this ancient practice can also help us to find ways to deal with our anger, whilst also demonstrating kindness and compassion towards ourselves.

The Manifestation of Anger

Anger can manifest itself in several different ways and forms. It may prompt us to behave in a manner that we would not usually consider, and to say things that we don’t really mean. This can of course be damaging to our relationships, and cause us to spread the negativity that we are feeling to other people.

Anger can also sometimes give us clarity in situations where our judgement has been clouded. When this is the case, this emotion can push us towards making difficult decisions that we may rather not make.

Taking Back Power

By refusing to acknowledge our anger, we are sometimes doing our inner selves a disservice. Instead of quashing this negative emotion, there is often much to be gained from allowing this feeling to surface and attempting to understand it. This is in direct contrast to any urges you may have to push it back down and attempt to ignore it.

managing anger yoga whole self

Turning to your journal in moments of anger can be a very gentle way to let these feelings out and to begin processing them. This can help you to take back your power over your anger and to truly understand where it comes from and what it means.

When you are writing about your anger, try to consider the following points:

  • Where did these feelings come from?
  • Has this arisen from a new situation or ongoing issue?
  • Can you pinpoint the source of your anger?
  • Do you already know how you can resolve the situation?
  • What are the next steps that you can take?

Be sure not to hold anything back when you are writing in your journal about your anger. These words are written for only you to read and it’s important to remember that everything that you are feeling is totally valid.

Focus on Your Breathing

One of the most basic things that you can do in a present moment of anger is to stop what you are doing, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and count slowly to ten.

Within this count of ten you may find that the negative emotions you are experiencing subside a little or even entirely.

Express Gratitude

Taking a moment to express gratitude can also help to stop anger in its tracks and encourage positive emotions to appear instead.

When you remind yourself of the things that you are grateful for, then you will begin to see the balance that exists in your life. You will become more aware that experiencing a low moment doesn’t define your or your life, and that you can make your way back to a positive place.

Listing the things that you are grateful for to yourself is a fantastic start, but you may also find further joy in actually demonstrating your gratitude in physical ways to those who you are grateful for!

Feel Your Anger

At the very essence, anger is simply a core human emotion, and isn’t something that we will ever be able to remove from our lives entirely.

Paying attention to how this anger feels inside of your body can be one of the first steps to understanding it, and then being able to overcome it.

Where is the sensation of anger in your body when it appears? How does it feel and how does it develop? Does it weigh you down or lift you up? Once you can locate the feelings of anger in your body, then a great visualisation exercise for lessening the impact of these feelings, is to imagine them moving through the body to the surface of the skin, and then out into the air and away from you!

Yoga and Anger

One of the most beneficial things that a regular yoga practice can teach us is how to live each moment in a mindful way. Furthermore, yoga teaches us how to harness our energy – both physical and emotional – to be used for our own gain.

If you are struggling with consistent feelings of anger then the vigorous movements of a high-paced yoga class could be exactly what your body and mind need.

Yoga Teacher Students Class

In order to help release anger from your body, you can have a go at the following yoga poses!

Swaying Palm-Tree Pose (Tiryaka Tadasana)

You can enter this pose by first by standing tall with your feet facing forwards, slightly wider than hip-width apart. Interlace your fingers together and then breathe in as you lift your arms up overhead towards the sky. Exhale deeply at this point as you allow your shoulders to relax.

On your next in-breath, rotate the hands so that your palms are now facing up and feel your body lengthen as it moves gently to the left. Breathe out as you push your feet firmly into the ground beneath you.

Hold the pose here as you breathe deeply in and out for ten breaths. On your last breath you should return your body to the centre and release your arms slowly back down to your sides.

This pose is believed to stimulate the function of the liver and to help blocked anger to find an exit from the body.

Pendulum Pose (Dolasana)

To enjoy this pose you must first start in a standing position with your feet shoulder distance apart. Interlace the hands behind the head at the top of your neck. As you take your first inhale, open up the chest and allow the elbows to naturally spread apart.

On the exhale, bend the body forwards to bring the chest down towards the middle of the legs and hold here for the following inhale. On the next exhale, bounce your body gently to bring the chest in the direction of the right leg and continue for the following inhale. As you exhale again, bounce the body towards the left leg, and continue for the following inhale. Exhale as you hold your body here, and on the following inhale you can bring your worst back up to the starting standing position.

Repeat this movement five times, paying close attention to your breathing as you do so.

You may find as you are flowing through this pose that you begin to feel dizzy or simply that you do not feel balanced in what you are doing. If this is the case, then bring your body slowly down to the mat and rest in Child’s Pose until you are sure these feelings have passed.

This pose can help to expel frustration from your chest and heart, where much of the weight of your anger will naturally come to rest.

Stress and Anger

Being able to overcome the sources of stress in your life can help better equip you to understand and deal with your anger! This is something that I aim to help you do each and every week with my Get Inspired Newsletter!

This weekly dose of inspiration will come straight to your inbox to motivate you to say NO to stress and YES to happiness! Click here now to sign up and immediately receive my Top Ten Tried and Tested Methods to Keep Stress and Anxiety Away!

A Natural Human Emotion

Anger is a natural human emotion and can occur for any number of reasons. Some people are much quicker to get angry than others, but there is certainly not a single person on the planet who does not get angry at something!

Disappointment and frustration are two common causes of anger, alongside lack of control over certain ongoing events and isolated incidents. During these situations, your brain will be flooded with adrenaline and cortisol as your body enters fight or flight mode. Excess cortisol in the body can actually be damaging to the immune system as well as having the potential to impair memory function.

Persistent angry episodes are not only unhealthy for your body and mind, but can also cause further reaching problems in other areas of your life – such as your relationships with others.

Process Your Emotions with Positivity

Although anger is a natural response, understanding your reasons for becoming angry and being able to process this emotion in a positive way, will help you to deal with it in the long term.

As soon as you feel yourself getting angry it is a great idea to distance yourself from this reaction by rating your anger. When you do this you will start to see your anger as being separate from yourself and it therefore becomes much easier to process.

When rating anger, I find it helpful to use a scale of one to five, with one being not very angry and five being the angriest you can imagine being. It is unlikely that you will ever rate your anger at a level five when you stop to think about it, and this realisation can be very helpful in alleviating your mood and temper.

Breathing for Relief

I am a big fan of the benefits of breathing and I find it to be especially useful during periods of anger. Immediately making the effort to focus on your breathing when you start to feel anger rising will not only distract you from the situation, but will also work to relax your body. Anger can often cause your body to tense up and breathing is a great way to combat this.

Understanding why you have become angry in the first place can help to prevent the same thing from happening again in the future. Try to consider the reasons why the situation has left you feeling disappointed or frustrated.

Consider the ways that you could regain control of the situation in order to gain better control of your emotions. Only then will you be able to work towards better control of your anger in the future and better maintain a positive outlook.

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