By Heather Greaves
Reiki Teacher, Yoga Instructor and Holistic Counsellor
Express Your Anger
One of the best things I have learned from practicing Kundalini Yoga over the years is the concept of accepting anger. There seems to be a stigma attached to it being ‘wrong’ or even ‘unspiritual’ to be angry. Especially for women. It’s almost like it’s considered ‘not attractive’ to show you’re angry. However, in the practice of Kundalini yoga, you learn how normal and necessary anger really is. The important thing is HOW we express it.
Anger is simply an emotion that arises in us that is as normal as breathing. We know that we are not our emotions because emotions are not permanent. They come and go just like our breaths. Some days we can feel happy and some days we don’t. Life is ever changing and evolving so it is impossible to feel the exact same way all day everyday…and how boring would life be if that were the case!
Anger is one of the emotions that gets us motivated to act or make changes to our current path in life. Everything at the end of the day is about our survival; so anger can be helpful to push us into make challenging decisions. If everything were basically harmonious and pleasant, why would we want to change that?
Getting angry shows us that we have choice in how we want our lives to unfold.
If we feel we are being oppressed or ‘trapped’ by something or someone else’s concept of how our lives need to be, we have the capacity to put our foot down and say, “Hey, that’s not ok with me!” and then we can take the steps towards a more ideal outcome.
There are some situations in human life where outsiders don’t help others in need. Why is that? Often it’s anger. Believe it or not this can happen because we feel that if we were in ‘their shoes’ we would want things to be different, so we become impassioned to offer them aid if we feel they are unable, or unwilling, to help themselves. Anger can be a necessary tool to motivate them and us into creating necessary change.
Anger is not useful if it is used to discriminate, oppress, hurt or harm another being out of pleasure or enjoyment. It is important to own what you are feeling and use that feeling to allow change to occur. This doesn’t mean to say that you must be angry in order to change things, but it isn’t necessary to feel bad or guilty if anger arises within you when you do.
Anger becomes illness in our bodies and minds when it is not expressed. It begins to fester like a wound blocking and malfunctioning our internal systems. It is very challenging to direct anger into something useful if it has not been expressed for a long time. Compound anger is the building up of unexpressed anger over time that when finally hits its capacity, explodes causing often times irreparable damage to those closest to us. This is not helpful or useful and generally leaves us feeling worse than when we had kept it bottled up. At some point, though, anger will ALWAYS burst forth if held back for too long.
This is why a regular practice of yoga and meditation helps. It gives our bodies and minds the opportunity to accept whatever emotions are there and have the presence of mind to know how best to utilise them in the moment. ‘Practice makes perfect’, after all. You too can gain the ability to harness the necessity of your anger through meditation and yoga.