Yoga

Practices for Releasing Anger

Profile of person practicing breathwork
Profile of person practicing breathwork

Anger can be an intense emotional experience that often feels inexplicable. It can arise out of nowhere for something seemingly irrational and can feel hard to get a hold of. Experiencing anger persistently is usually a sign of stuck and unexpressed emotion. These emotions may have nothing to do with anger, but when experiences like sadness, shame, and frustration are held in the body, they can manifest as anger in our day-to-day lives.

It is essential that we don't shame ourselves for intense emotional experiences and potentially lashing out at others. Understanding that we are doing the best we can and showing these emotions and parts of ourselves love, and understanding is imperative for healing. There are many simple and effective practices to clear stuck anger and emotion in the body and cool the excess heat that can cause feelings of anger in the first place. If you are in a chapter of your life where anger seems to be in the driver's seat, you can utilize these techniques to alchemize your experience to feel lighter and more at peace.

Focus on Cooling

An excellent place to begin soothing feelings of anger is to focus on cooling down the system. In Ayurveda, anger is associated with a Pitta imbalance or a sign of excess heat in the body. If you are feeling angry frequently, it is a good sign that your Pitta may be out of balance. You can focus on cooling Pitta by keeping your body cool and avoiding high-intensity or heat-building exercises. Another way to balance Pitta is to avoid spicy and sour foods, incorporating cool and sweet foods and drinks like cucumber, coconut, and cilantro. You can also include many effective cooling herbs in your routine to cool down the system. You can learn more about Pitta balancing herbs here.

Self Soothing

Another important beginning step to releasing anger is allowing ourselves to fully feel and experience this emotion with love and compassion for ourselves. It is imperative we don't resist or shame our emotional experience as this further represses it. A great way to practice self-soothing in times of anger is to place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly and become present with your anger. Allow yourself to feel the sensations it is creating in your body, then repeat silently; "it is okay for me to feel angry." Continue to repeat this mantra to yourself as you allow the emotion to move through you. When you feel a sense of relief, you can release the mantra and transition back to your day.

Somatic Shaking

Anger is often a result of stagnant emotion and stuck trauma in our bodies. Somatic exercises are a powerful way to clear and release what is stored in the body to feel lighter and more at ease. Somatic shaking is a fun and effective way to clear and let go of this stagnant energy.

Begin by playing music that inspires you to move. Start with your feet, hips, width, and arms at your side, palms facing forward. Begin to settle into the body as you start to bounce your legs. Then begin to shake the hands, then the arms. Start slow, and increase the shaking as you get more comfortable, eventually shaking all of your limbs and moving your entire body. Close your eyes and allow yourself to shake, move, and dance in any way that feels organic for you, breathing through any emotion that comes up. Continue this process for five to twelve minutes. Take time to slow down your movements intentionally and stand in mountain pose, breathing deeply to finish the practice. Rest afterward if you need to, integrating consciously back into your day.

Breathwork

The power of the breath to clear and release stagnant energy in the body is profound. The breath can take us into the depths of our psyche, allowing what needs to be released to surface and move through us. Breathwork is a highly effective way of dealing with and letting go of anger. Breath exercises with a faster and more clearing nature can be highly effective.

A simple yet powerful and clearing breath pattern is the 10-20-30 breath. If you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, have heart problems, or are prone to lightheadedness, avoid this breath pattern. Find either a comfortable seat or lie down somewhere where you will not be disturbed.

The breath is a long continuous breath in and out of the mouth. Begin with ten rounds of breath in and out of the mouth at your own pace, and then hold the breath out for ten seconds after the last exhale. Inhale and take one normal breath before moving into twenty rounds of breath in and out of the mouth. Hold at the bottom of the exhale after the last breath for a count of twenty. Inhale and take a normal breath or two before moving into the last round, thirty breaths in and out of the mouth. Hold the breath out for thirty when you are finished, then inhale deeply, let it go, and resume a regular breathing pattern.

Sit in silence and rest for a few minutes after you have completed this breath practice. Revisit this practice in times of intense emotion or a few times a week for regular maintenance. Move back into your day slowly and mindfully when you feel ready.

Stream of Consciousness Journaling

Anger is often accompanied by a racing mind or an intense stream of consciousness. Journaling is a powerful way to process our thoughts, emotions and can serve as a great release. Taking time to put pen to paper in an unstructured way can give this intense mental energy somewhere to go. When you are experiencing high levels of anger, practice grabbing your journal and writing down your stream of consciousness. You can write words, feelings, scribbles, or anything that feels cathartic to you. Continue this practice until you feel a sense of relief and like you have moved through and processed your anger.

Remember to meet yourself with love and compassion as you navigate these feelings, trusting that you can find relief and feel lighter on the other end.


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