Get Angry Do Yoga

Sometimes I’m angry at the world. Those closest to me get it the most. Those who have already proved they’ll stick around when you’re not a nice person ( cue your partner ). Those who don’t have a choice (cue your family ). Those you live you’re day to day life with ( cue housemates, close friends, pets ).

Cue all the people that you are so close to, they are part of your identity to such a degree that you get angry at them when actually you’re angry at yourself. But it’s hard to be angry at yourself; what does that look like? What does that feel like? And who’s got time to stay with that anger and work out what it’s about? Much easier to get it out of your system and direct it at someone else. 

Sure enough, when I got to my yoga mat on one of these ‘angry days’ and there was no one else on the mat but me (there never is just for the record), I realised the anger was still very much there and it was very much about me.

I don’t look hugely angry in this video but then that’s the thing about anger; when you have used up much energy getting angry at others and you finally sit with yourself, you realise beneath the anger there is, ultimately, sadness. 

Familiar poses are the container here for my emotional state.They challenge me enough to require my focus. My attention drops into my body and the breath needed to support the shapes. I stretch to my edge and feel the boundaries of my body, there is nowhere to go then but inwards.

I lean into the block and feel myself supported enough that I can open upwards more. I surrender into pigeon pose and watch my angry mind, I meet it with my breath and sensations in my body.  

Yoga isn’t magic mind. I didn’t hop off my mat and suddenly feel fab. But it was the beginning of understanding. Understanding I needed to apologise to my husband. Understanding I needed to be gentle with myself for the rest of the day. Understanding that I would like to talk to a girlfriend.

In short, a little bit of yoga gave me a little bit of distance from the emotion, enough to see it for what it was, enough to see three actions I could do to move forward.

Like many yoga teachers, when I teach at Yoga Home, I always have a moment of sitting in stillness at the beginning and end of class. These two moments put the movement part of class in context. Observing where we are at the beginning of our practise and then observing where we’re at, at the end of class is golden.

For me it’s a little like we become our own dance movement therapists for a moment; beginning by asking ourselves how we are feeling, listening to the answer without judgement, then letting ourselves explore it all through movement, and finally ending the session by seeing how we feel post moving the body.

What is one practise you have that helps you find perspective?

Is it part of your routine, so it’s already there when you need it the most?

Can you incorporate a moment of stillness into the beginning and end of your practise, in which you observe in what state you begin and end your practise?