The Purpose of Yoga – Anger Management Secrets
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
How come some Yogis seem so even tempered? How do Yoga practitioners manage to establish control over fits of anger? Will any Yoga technique help those who become physically violent? Let’s look at some Yogic methods to empower you to take control of your feelings and anger.
Yogic breathing techniques (Pranayama) are highly underrated by the public at large. Among the many powers of Pranayama is the ability to release anger and tension from within your body and mind. Yoga teachers guide their students in a number of Pranayama techniques.
Here is a sample of a Pranayama technique, which you can use for anger management. Inhale for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. Do this four times, without making any noise, before you say a word.
You should learn to do this so quietly, a person standing next to you would not know. Eventually, you will be able to do this for a much longer time span, which is fine. The one to two ratio of inhale to exhale will expel your anger and rid your body of toxins.
This breathing pattern is sometimes called the “4-7-8 breath,” but it can also be modified for people who can not breathe as deep. For example: You can modify this Pranayama to – inhale for two seconds, hold for four seconds, and exhale for four seconds.
This breathing sequence is a “2-4-4 breath.” The one to two ratio of inhale to exhale has still been maintained, but the sequence has been modified for those who have a shallow breath. When possible, the breath can be lengthened as the lungs get used to harnessing the air flow.
Extended breath retention may have to be modified to meet your needs. In the case of dizziness, pregnancy, high blood pressure, and breathing disorders, you should consult with a physician before practicing breathing techniques.
In Yoga, mindfulness is a basic principle for rational thinking. Mindfulness is when you are intentionally aware of your surroundings. You are “in the moment,” and judgment or intolerance will not distort your view.
Many people make excuses for temper tantrums and fits of anger. In some cases, there is a medical reason, and the services of a competent physician, or psychiatrist, should be sought as soon as possible.
However, the vast majority of people do make excuses. Here is an example of how people make excuses in regard to anger management. Let’s say, you are a dog lover and your dog is your most loyal friend in the world. You come home one day, and your dog ate your favorite suit.
Your particular reaction determines the amount of emotional control you really have. People will forgive their pets, loved ones, and their children for many things, but they will not control their anger out in public. They drive through traffic daily, with the mind set of a battle-hardened war veteran, and an “us against them” survivalist mentality.
Now, if you would have physically beaten your most loyal friend in the world for eating your favorite suit, you really do need professional help right now. This is a simple concept because your suit can be replaced, but a valuable friendship cannot be replaced so easily.
Anger, without control, will destroy friendships, families, and much more. You could even find yourself in prison over one fit of anger. Mindfulness teaches us to see the “big picture,” and the consequences of our actions.
Emotional health is addressed in Yoga classes, and a good emotional state exists in harmony, with physical, mental, and spiritual health.
With the exception of mantra or japa practice, most forms of Yoga meditation require a bit of silence. Silence is a “teacher,” which quiets the mind and helps us focus during meditation sessions.
Yet, how can you maintain control “in the heat of the moment?” The ancient samurai warriors, of Japan, practiced meditation before and after being “battle tested.” We do not have to test our meditation skills in this way, but many of us are tested every day by self-control.
Yoga teaches us control, moderation, and timing. There is a time to speak up and a time to be silent. If we are screaming our thoughts out at the top of our lungs, we have not given any consideration to control, moderation, and timing. Shouting may seem necessary, but it tends to escalate conflicts.
This does not mean that you should be silent at all times, or that you should become a door mat. Knowing when, and how to, express your viewpoint, is a vital part of life.
An example of this is when we speak from the ego to protect our own interests. Even when our tone is measured and moderate, self-centered talk does not resolve conflicts. If your objective is to win the argument and prove your point, you will never listen or be silent at the right time.
The ability to listen emphatically to an opposing opinion first, and understand the other side of the issue, does resolve potential arguments before they start. Diplomatic negotiations operate the same way. In fact, if you look at the world today, constructive peace talks make progress – albeit slowly.
In Yoga practice, you are taught to listen and observe. Within a Yoga class, self-observation is addressed frequently. Pranayama and meditation require that you first, listen to the world from within – then you can better understand the world outside your body. To observe the world, you must listen carefully.
When meeting others, one key to remember is that people love to talk about themselves. If you want to diffuse a situation, ask a person to explain his or her viewpoint, and just listen.
When you explain that you will listen, it is upon the condition that the other party does not shout. You will have “air time” to calmly express your views and you will “stick to the issues at hand.” For optimum success, old issues should be addressed at a separate time.
Differences can be peacefully resolved if we rationally discuss them by listening, focusing, negotiating, and by avoiding being side tracked by issues of the past. For all of this to happen, silence on your part, is required at the proper time.
Detachment to outcome is a principle of Yoga and is covered in many scriptures. An ego driven person cannot be silent. He or she must always win every debate, conversation, or argument. There is too much of the “in your face” mindset on public display.
A small number of politicians, and athletes, destroy their own careers – becoming known by their ego driven shouting matches. They make enemies of the press, the public, and their peers. Is this an example we want to give our children? We should resolve conflicts peacefully, as a shining example for our children’s sake.
© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications