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In Inspiration on
July 7, 2014

Dealing with Anger as a Yogi

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I have a very long temper, but when I reach the end of my fuse, it ain’t pretty. One of the best benefits from yoga and meditation for me is the ability to control more of my emotions. Granted, I’m not the best at it, and I also don’t believe in repressing what I’m feeling; often, however, anger isn’t exactly appropriate, especially in public (I like to be private about my arguments, thank you very much).

Here are a few of my tips to managing your temper just as it’s about to explode: 

  1. Take deep breaths. Yeah, you’ll look a little weird if you just stop the argument and conversation and just breathe, but it’ll help. Focus on the sensation of the breath moving in and out of your nose, and if you need something even more attention demanding, try in-through-your-nose, out-through-your-mouth. Do this ten times, and if you don’t feel a bit calmer, do it ten more. Repeat until you feel coherent again!
  2. Distance yourself from the conflict. I’m a confrontational, stubborn person, so when I get into an argument, I’ll really go for it. Often I have to remind myself to step back and say, “What are we really fighting about?”
  3. In the same vein as #2, look at the conflict from the other person’s point of view. Points that will make sense to you may not make sense to another person. If you can understand where they’re coming from instead of assuming they’re wrong, you can help spearhead a solution before the argument gets out of control.
  4. Let them have their accident somewhere else. I read this in a self-help book I got for 8th grade graduation (yes) and it really stuck with me. Originally the author was talking about a driver with road rage endangering other drivers on the highway. Instead of getting angry and retaliating, the author just dealt with the dangerous driver and let him on his way–and sometimes you have to do that with arguments. Some people will have bad days, vomit their negative emotions on your, or provoke conflict for the sake of conflict. Learn to recognize these situations. It can be hard, especially if you’re tired or stressed, to let little jabs go, but just let them have their accident somewhere else. If you don’t give in to the fight, they can’t start one.
  5. Likewise, if you’re jonesing for an argument, stop yourself as best you can! Picking a fight won’t make you feel better, and it’ll damage the relationships you hold dear when you’re not upset.
  6. Channel your energy. If you’re angry, put it into something. For me the most accessible resource is #1, or meditative breathing. I also like to breathe into my manipura chakra (solar plexus). The Solar Plexus is the center of energy in the body that deals with control, confidence, energy, and attitude. It can also deal with all of the raw emotions, and is located behind the navel. If this sounds a little new agey, just stay with me: Close your eyes. Picture a yellow little circle of light centered around your navel. Now, when you breathe, imagine your breath traveling to that spot on the inhale, and moving through it on the exhale, emerging cleaner and less volatile than before. It’s like an air filter, but for your energy! Breathe into that spot deeply and keep doing it until you feel more balanced. (Disclaimer: I’m not a chakra expert, but this is what makes me feel better).
  7. If breathing isn’t going to help you, and you’re that worked up, get active. Do some real yoga or asanas to help channel that energy. Go on a run. Do some pushups. Anything that gets your body moving to burn off the negative energy is a good thing; just don’t push yourself too hard!
  8. If you need to, leave the situation. This is a trick I learned in ResLife as an RA; sometimes, the best way to resolve an argument is to just politely excuse yourself and take some time away from the situation. Just say, “I’m sorry, I need to take a few minutes to gather my thoughts and look over my emotions before I can respond to anything.” Taking a simple time out can help immensely decrease the angry, tense energy of two people or of a room.

I hope these helped! Leave some calming tips in the comments if you have any!