By Faye Martins
The Buddha (Prince Gautama Siddharta) once said, “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.” Feelings of anger tend to swell and grow inside of us, causing a number of physical and mental side effects. Anger causes stress hormones to flood throughout the body in a “fight or flight” response. Over time, when anger is a regular part of life, this can cause lasting effects, such as headaches, digestive problems, anxiety, heart attack and stroke.
Paulji has often said, “Be mindful of your thoughts. Each unique thought has the potential to become an action.” He mentions that our thoughts as we are awake, asleep or day dreaming, have the ability shape the world around us, by shaping us from within. We reflect our inner thoughts, even if we don’t speak them. You can tell if someone is angry or happy just by observing them. Yoga is a practical method for improving our mental and emotional growth.
Yoga can help control anger at its onset. It can also relieve the long-term effects that anger has on the body. People with anger issues can learn to release those negative feelings and focus on pulling more positive energy into the body. The key to releasing anger is recognizing that it is only hurting yourself, not those that you are directing the anger toward. When you release the anger and replace it with calm, positive thoughts, you will be a healthier person.
Any general yoga practice that includes breathing and meditation will have positive effects on quelling anger. There are also some specific poses that can be beneficial. Poses that help to calm the mind and release the ego include child’s pose, forward bend pose, inverted pose and folding leg plow. These poses bring the blood to the head, then allow it to redistribute throughout the body.
Accompany roaring lion’s pose with a nice growl or vocal release to get rid of pent up anger or frustration. After you’ve released the negativity, it can help to perform a few restorative poses that allow you to get back to a calm, positive self. Legs up the wall, pond pose, tortoise pose, sleeping bound angle pose and sleeping thunderbolt pose can provide a stillness and restoration for the body and mind.
If you have chronic anger issues, it’s important to acknowledge those feelings and then let them go. When people ignore the anger or try to cover it up, it will only grow and grow, causing many health issues. When the feelings come up in the middle of daily life, simple deep breaths can help. Breathe in slowly for a count of 10, then release the breath slowly for the same count. Visualize the anger leaving your body on the exhale while imagining peace and love flowing back in on the inhale.
For a yoga teacher to help students with anger management, he or she must have mastered the technique. If you are a yoga instructor, who focused only on asana mastery, there is still hope. The next time you feel angst, when practicing a challenging or balancing asana, just breathe and think happy thoughts.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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