By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
How can Yoga help us release anger? According to ancient Vedic philosophy, human suffering stems from the inability to see the true nature of life. Nowhere is that more true than when we feel the primal emotion of anger. Ultimately, the only way to stop this reaction is to change the thought process that leads to this primal feeling.
Nevertheless, anger is made up of energy. Our bodies and minds hold currents of energy waves. In order to harness that energy, we might try mantras, japa, prayers, and positive affirmations. Yet, Yoga has many methods from which to choose, and some help us to channel physical energy constructively. Yoga is one of the oldest and most effective ways, of channeling energy through the body.
Yoga is also a scientifically proven method of balancing the mind, body, and spirit; that in itself helps to reduce the tension that fuels anger. Although every posture (asana) may not be right for every student, many asanas are particularly useful for clearing blockages and releasing negative energy. Below are some examples of asana groups, which will help anyone release anger without regret.
• Restorative Postures that soothe the nervous system, and relax muscle tension, are good for both beginners and more advanced students. Among these meditative asanas are: Lotus Pose, Easy Pose, Hero Pose, and Corpse Pose.
• Forward Bends are good for releasing tension in the back, spine, shoulders and upper body area – for increasing the flow of prana or vital life force.
• Triangle Pose provides a good stretch for the sides of the body, adjust skeletal alignment, and gives us a sense of being grounded.
• Twists balance the spine, expand the chest, and increase the flow of blood throughout the body, cleansing the organs of toxins, and supplying them with a freshly oxygenated blood supply.
• Warrior Poses build strong legs, and are effective for dealing with fear, while instilling confidence or courage.
• Mild Inversions, such as: Shoulder Stand, Downward Facing Dog, and Legs up the Wall Pose, involve the entire body; they calm the nervous system and release negative energy.
• Mountain Pose is helpful for grounding the body and centering scattered emotions.
The key to controlling anger is by recognizing, and stopping, negative thoughts in their early stages. Harnessing negative energy requires clarity and awareness. Yoga teaches practitioners to listen to their bodies, to be patient, and to observe the process, when practicing asanas.
These energy-channeling skills can then be transferred to daily life. The same discipline that it takes to hold an asana, and then release it in your Yoga practice, can be just as effective when it is time to release anger, while channeling it into compassion and forgiveness.
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