By Gopi Rao
Yoga training offers many tools for reducing and releasing anger. Yogic methodology includes not only physical postures and breathing exercises, but also meditation and relaxation techniques. The fluid movements of Hatha Yoga allow the over-stressed and anxious body and mind to release the tension that can easily escalate into anger and even rage.
On a physical level, Yogic practices help to reduce adrenalin and cortisol levels that help to fuel an anxious and overly-agitated body and mind. The practice of Hath Yoga allows a practitioner to channel and express his or her anger in a positive, life-affirming way. As the energy that comes from anger fuels one’s asana practice, the negative energy (negative thinking patterns) are used as fuel and released, while endorphins such as: dopamine and serotonin levels are raised. These “feel-good” hormones help to balance out the more aggressive hormones of anger such as cortisol and adrenaline.
Asana practice also helps to release anger by promoting self-awareness on all levels within a student’s being. Usually anger or a continual state of hostility is fueled by negative underlying beliefs and stories that we ascribe to certain situations or people. Yoga training sessions help to develop cognitive awareness of these beliefs and stories, so that we can rationally evaluate their accuracy.
Within this Yogic state of self-awareness, one develops an keen understanding of the triggers that lead to a blow up, which makes a problem easily identifiable and leads to permanent solutions. A Yoga student will develop mindfulness skills to more easily identify the signs of an impending anger attack, such as shortness of breath, feelings of anxiety, heart palpitations, and chest pains. Not only will asana practice help to channel this negative energy constructively, the Yogic practices of pranayama and meditation will also help to calm an overactive sympathetic nervous system.
Yoga teachers should be making the public aware of the effectiveness of channeling anger in a constructive way. Practicing asana for releasing anger is a great tool for finding inner peace. Not only does asana help the practitioner to channel and release excess anxious and angry energy, the breathing and meditation techniques also assist the student in soothing a very agitated and potentially explosive inner landscape.
At the very least, the inner awareness that a student gains during a mindful asana practice supports the student in understanding the process of the escalation of anger and the stories underlying that escalation. With this awareness comes the power to identify and challenge one’s underlying beliefs and thus disarm the triggers, so that a potentially explosive situation may be handled with more diplomacy.
Over time and with consistent effort, a student will be able to shift his or her hormonal balance from one driven by anxiety and anger to contentment and peacefulness, which in turn will support a Yoga practitioner in living a healthier and happier life.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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