By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500
How does Yoga help one to channel anger? According to Buddha, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” For centuries, Swamis, Gurus, and Buddhist monks have been teaching spiritual practices for overcoming anger, and recent research has affirmed the validity of these ancient teachings.
Although various Yoga teachers explain it differently, most agree that the key to channeling anger is an awareness of its origin and the ability to stop the thought process that causes it to escalate.
Modern day Yoga teacher and psychotherapist Stephen Cope says the view of anger taught within Yoga for thousands of years is, at least, as effective as any contemporary approach. He describes anger as an emotion that subsists between the physical and astral bodies. Unless it is suppressed or denied, anger will rise and fall in the same way as any other kind of energy.
People generally suppress anger because they think it is ‘bad’, but Yogic philosophy says that everything – negative or positive – is a part of the universe. Anger is the way the subconscious mind responds to a perceived or real injustice that causes it to react in fury. A thought doesn’t even have to be destructive to create the spiral. The fear of losing something that brings pleasure can cause anger, as well.
Although philosophic principles are not easily condensed, the following are a few concepts that deal with the control of negative emotions.
• Anger can be surmounted with patience and willingness to change one’s habits.
• First, however, one has to understand how the process works.
• Individuals experience anger differently and require different ways of handling it.
• Anger comes when a preconceived thought or belief is activated. To channel anger, one has to become aware of the origin of these beliefs and change them.
• Anger can be replaced with positive emotions, such as compassion or love.
• Asanas help to move energy and, therefore, to channel anger from the body.
• Meditation and breathing techniques help to create awareness of subconscious thoughts leading to anger.
• Practicing Yoga can lead to mindfulness and clarity, making it easier to change negative thoughts in their earliest stages.
Yoga is spiritual practice that promotes insight into emotions, thoughts, and behavior. Although no one exercise can eliminate anger, this ancient healing art helps to eliminate tension, promote general well-being, and calm the mind and the body. This, alone, reduces much of the frustration leading to anger and encourages positive thinking.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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