Do you find yourself sometimes angry in grief? Or grumpy? And sometimes, like a sudden rain shower, it disappears and you wonder what got you so angry?
We all experience anger at some point in our lives, and while it’s a natural emotion, it can be challenging to manage, especially in grief and loss. Anger can affect our relationships, work, and overall wellbeing.
Incorporating yoga into your daily routine – even while in bereavement or loss – can help you manage your anger and find inner peace.
Let’s take a look at a few ways tools and wisdom from yoga can help us with our anger in grief.
Anger / Raudra.
In yoga, anger is a fiery rajasic emotion – or taste. Sometimes, you feel it in your belly and sometimes you feel it in your chest. These two spaces in the body are similar to that where we experience (or don’t experience) courage.
In Rasa Yoga or Sadhana – the Yoga of Emotions – anger is known as Raudra. Anger resides in the manomaya kosha – the mind, the ego. Something has not met our expectations. And, of course in grief, your ego has taken a massive hit. Someone or something you love has been lost!
Anger is incredibly destructive, and not just to those around you, but also to you. If this is you, and you would like to do something constructive about your anger, then read on to learn how anger or Raudra is tamed in yoga:
Breath-work / Pranayama.
When we feel angry, our breath becomes shallow and rapid, causing our body to become tense and stressed. Deep breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing or three-part breathing, can help you release tension and calm your nervous system.
These techniques can also help you become more aware of your breath and connect with the present moment.
In particular, the following aspect of pranayama really helps quell anger.
Breath retention works well when suddenly gripped by anger. I personally have an issue with getting annoyed (and sometimes really angry) while driving. Whenever I noticed this anger rising, I retained my breath (in yoga, called ‘kumbhaka’), and truly the anger disappeared.
Keeping in mind the element associated with anger is fire. In our material world, when fire is starved of oxygen, it goes out. This metaphor – it seams – translates into the subtle body as well.
B.K.S. Iyengar, in his book, “Light On Pranayama”, says:
Kumbhaka keeps the sadhaka silent at the physical, moral, mental and spiritual levels… When the breath is stilled in kumbhaka, the senses are stilled and the mind becomes silent. Breath is the bridge between the body, the senses and the mind.― B.K.S. Iyengar, ‘Light on Pranayama’
“Sadhaka” in. a nutshell means practitioner.
CAUTION: if you have blood pressure issues (especially if unmedicated), or heart issues, practise caution or see your medical practitioner before you try retaining your breath.
Remember that breath retention should be easy and relaxed, as opposed to holding the breath, which is tense and stressful.
B.K.S. Iyengar describes breath retention as, “Retention of breath in kumbhaka should not be misinterpreted as re-tension of the brain, the nerves and the body to hold the breath. Re-tensioning leads to hypertension. Kumbhaka has to be done with the brain relaxed so as to revitalise the nervous system.”
Listen to this guided yogic breath practice for an experience in breath retentions.
Another yogic way to manage grief is to just cool down. Traditional yogics will drink cool water in silver cups, but just drinking cool water may help quell anger. You may wish to squeeze some fresh lemon into the water, which has an additional cooling effect.
Take a cold shower or focus on water elements may also help with managing your anger in grief.
Practise yoga asana.
Yoga postures can help release tension and stress from the body, allowing you to release anger and frustration. Poses that help release heat are Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand) and Halasana (Plough Pose).
Alternatively, yoga heart-openers help to open up the core area, where the solar plexus (and therefore anger) may reside. Read more here and here.
These yoga poses can also help you develop better posture and body awareness, improving your overall physical and emotional wellbeing.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and accepting your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and visualisation, can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, allowing you to manage your anger better.
Mindful meditation can also help you develop a sense of calm and inner peace, reducing the likelihood of future anger outbursts.
Mindfulness modalities is helpful not just to manage your anger, but also to support your grief.
Check out the blog posts below to learn more about mindful techniques you can use.
Putting out the fire of anger.
Anger is a natural emotion, but it’s essential to learn how to manage it effectively to avoid negative consequences, whether or not we are experiencing grief.
Yoga can be an effective way to release tension and find inner calm, allowing you to manage your anger better. Incorporating breathing exercises, physical postures, and mindfulness techniques into your daily routine can help you develop better anger management skills and support you in your journey in grief.
With regular practice, you can learn to find peace within and manage your anger, while care for yourself in grief, in a healthy way.
Do drop me an email if you have questions or seek support in your grief through yoga. I am here to support you.