yoga poses that reduce angerBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Teaching Yoga poses that reduce anger will effectively detoxify negative emotions from the body and minds of your students. Angry feelings can be generated by frustration, a sense of powerlessness or the subjective experience of being disrespected, to name only a few possible scenarios. Many Yoga students and teachers alike may experience a low level of chronic anger and frustration, which is often evidenced by having a short fuse and breathing in a shallow manner.

When the breath is constricted to the upper chest cavity, the flow of prana, or life force energy, is also impeded. In addition, the lungs are not able to fully release carbon dioxide and other toxins when the breath is truncated. A shortened, shallow breath cycle is often unconsciously maintained in order to squash uncomfortable feelings. This can be quite common among Yogins, who often pride themselves on being able to focus on the more positive aspects of life.

As a certified Yoga teacher, you have the opportunity to teach your students to quickly shift their emotional state by elongating and deepening the breath. This is quite easily accomplished through the practice of Yogic breathing techniques, such as Dirga and Ujjayi Pranayama. Both of these breathing techniques help to bring conscious awareness to the habit of shallow breathing, or even a slight holding of the breath. As a Yoga student learns to become intimately aware of his or her own breathing pattern, this awareness alone will allow the student to shift into a fuller, more detoxifying breathing pattern.

In addition, by teaching specific physical Yoga postures that release somatically-held negative emotions, such as grief and anger, you will further support your students in releasing negative emotions and memories that are no longer serving their highest good. Anger is often lodged in the throat chakra, shoulders, neck, and hip areas. Just think of the saying, “She swallowed her anger.” When we swallow our anger, we do so by constricting and closing the throat area. When this action of constricting the throat becomes habitual, the thyroid gland may be negatively affected over time.

Also, when we constrict the throat area, in order to swallow angry feelings or sentiments, the shoulders often begin to hunch up around the ears and the cave of the heart begins to collapse. All of these physical movements of somatization and emotional protection dampen the natural flow of our creativity and impede the free flow of prana. In order to release angry feelings that are being held in the physical body, teaching your students a balanced, well rounded Yoga class, including the practice of pranayama, will help them to soften and allow bubbles of anger to rise to the surface of their consciousness, and then dissipate, as they release angry feelings and negative thought patterns.

About Yoga Poses That Reduce Anger

Hip opening Yoga postures are very good for releasing pent up feelings of fear, frustration and anger. A hip opening Yoga posture may be as simple as asking your students to sit in an easy cross-legged position on their mat and to bend over with their arms comfortably in front of them on the mat. This action will effectively stretch out the hip of the forward leg. After your students stretch out one side, it is important for them to alternate the position of their front leg and stretch out the other hip.

Reclining Thread The Needle Pose

Another wonderfully effective and accessible beginning to intermediate hip opening Yoga posture is Reclining Thread The Needle Pose. The reclining version of this posture is usually practiced towards the end of a Yoga class and often just prior to Shavasana. This pose will be accessible to most Yoga students, particularly because it is practice in a prone position. Reclining Thread The Needle Pose strongly releases tension in the hips, shoulders, upper arms, neck and upper back areas.

In order for your Yoga students to receive the most benefit from practicing this reclining asana, instruct them to apply gentle pressure against their hands with their shin when they are in the posture. This action will help to facilitate the release of tension throughout the shoulders, neck, upper arms, and upper back areas. It is also important to remind your students to keep the toes of the upper foot slightly flexed and the knee of the upper leg gently pressing away from the torso.

In this way, your Yoga students will benefit from a deep hip opening posture that also releases stress and tension from the upper torso area. When these areas of physical tension are released, feelings of anger, frustration and irritability will also be assuaged. After practicing a balanced series of Yoga postures and cleansing breathing exercises, your students will feel lighter, more relaxed and energized, as they roll up their mats and continue on with the rest of their day or evening. Yoga poses that reduce anger should be a part of everyone’s daily routine.

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a writer and an academic support specialist. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: enchantress108@gmail.com.

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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