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Anger Management

Every time I practice asana, it's like I open a box and anger seeps out. I want to be loving, gentle, compassionate, and tolerant, but I get mad about everything. I've tried traditional therapy with minimal, short-lived benefits. Are there practices to help me move past this? —Rhonda Williams from Liberty, New York

Read Frank Jude Boccio's response:

Your asana practice could inflame the fire element of pitta. But yoga is a path of opening to true transformation. The first step to radical transformation is to let go of your judgment and hatred of your anger.

Irritability, anger, hatred, and rage are forms of aversion—the unwillingness to accept what is. We tend to feel that our only options with anger are to repress it or express it, yet both strategies are simply attempts to eliminate or avoid it. The third, more challenging way is feeling it, knowing it, opening to it. Your eagerness to "move past it" is actually a form of self-aggression.

What if you were to see your anger as a crying baby? Would you turn your back on it? Or would you approach and embrace the baby? This is what your anger needs from you. You say you wish to be loving, gentle, compassionate, and tolerant. Here's your opportunity! The gift of unconditional acceptance will soften your heart so that you can look into anger's true causes and conditions.

This process requires courage. Anger is painful. When present, it feels as if you cannot stand it—and then it gets worse. It feels as if it will never end. Drop your thoughts about anger and stay present with the feelings and sensations of your body—no matter how unpleasant they may be. Let go of your conditioning around anger as bad, shameful, or unspiritual, and with an open, tender heart, stay with your feelings. Use your breath as your anchor. Anger is not monolithic but constantly changing: You will feel grief, sorrow, rage, fear, and all sorts of emotions arise, shift, and pass. Bringing mindfulness to anger lets you face deep-seated energies and forces that have been driving your life and keeping you from living in a fully loving and conscious way. This is how to transform your anger into wisdom and self-knowledge.

Frank Jude Boccio is a yoga teacher, Ayurveda practitioner, hypnotherapist, and the author of Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath, Body, and Mind.
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Reader Comments


yeah. while doing relaxtion and meditation. or going running is the best of anger management.


I too have noticed that after yoga practice I can become easily angered at even trivial things. This helps helps to solve the mystery!


I really appreciate this comment. I have been really frustrated with myself lately because I feel that I am going to steps forward and one step back. I am amazed how much yoga has helped and recently I got angry over something relatively small. This is such a helpful way to think of anger. I think that with my initial thoughts of yoga, I was pushing away the feelings of anger, rather than accepting and feeling what all those feelings encompass.

Thanks again!

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