National Chronicle
Opinion

Controlling anger through Yoga

By Yogi Himanshu

Anger is one of the key human emotions and a gift of nature. It gives energy and power to “fight or flight” in cases of danger. But when anger is irrational, it keeps harming the body and mind as the state of equanimity remains disturbed. Just like optimum anxiety is needed to excel and perform in daily life, anger too is not always bad. But remaining angry all the time kills the person same way persistent anxiety does. In a fit of anger, a person can do irreversible damage to himself.

We generally get angry when things do not happen the way we want. We also react angrily to criticism, insult or adverse comments. Anger may also arise when mind has not rested for some reason either due to much less sleep or high intensity of thoughts. A little anger in such situations is not unnatural at all. But being in this state for longer period of time is harmful as suppressed emotions have a tendency to manifest as unnatural behaviour.

Suppressed anger has been seen to be much more detrimental than expressed ones. After expressing moderate anger, many people become normal and forget the episode.

Anger many a time is unrecognized emotion, something we do not want to admit. There can be many triggers to it like jealousy, hurt, pride, rejection, failure, expectations that if not spotted in time could lead to suppressed emotions and ultimately result in uncontrolled anger.

Anger manifests in many physical and mental troubles. In addition to psychological issues like depression and disorders of mood, it keeps weakening the body. Some of the physical symptoms in people perennially angry include body pain, high blood pressure, hypertension and reduced immunity. Anger also eats up productive time as the stream of nagging and uncontrolled thoughts hardly leaves scope for anything else. It also destroys personal and social relationships and leaves one unhappy in the long term.

Yoga and meditation has potential to make a person mindful of his anger. There are many asanas that help both in long term and short term. While in the short term, steadying the breath and soothing the nerves can help irrational thoughts at bay, in the long term one gets to understand the root causes of the anger. Over the time practicing these exercises can help the mind less susceptible to sudden bouts of anger.

Various breathing techniques can calm an agitated mind thus considerably reducing the scope of getting irritated and angry. Pranayamas such as kapalbhati and nadi sodhan instantly deepen the breath and reduce tension in the mind. Bhramari pranayam by making “hmm” sound is equally effective in soothing the tense mind. Savasana can release pent up stress from the body and relaxes it completely. By letting go of long-held toxic emotions, one prepares the body and the mind to be healthier in future.

( Yogi Himanshu  is founder of Himalayan Yoga Association, Rishikesh)

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