Anger creates unnecessary tension in the mind and body. From negative emotions to a distressing stomachache, reactions to rage are not only upsetting they are also very unhealthy.
If you struggle with anger, the following yogic breathing practices (pranayama) may help you to feel more at ease so you no longer have to suffer.
Instead of screaming at your spouse, child, or customer service rep, take some time to yourself and do a few rounds of this spine-tingling, endorphin-producing pranayama.
Sit or lie down on your back. As you inhale, contract the muscles of your face and make tight fists with both hands. With an explosive exhale, stick out your tongue, open your eyes and fingers very wide and roar loudly. Five rounds of lion’s breath is usually enough to release the beast of rage from your soul.
Tip: During your exhale, visualize the source of your anger shrinking down to tiny, inert particles.
Rhythmic breathing is great, but ujjayi pranayama is even better, especially when it comes to smoothing out the wrinkles of rage.
Stand or sit comfortably. Gently narrow the passageway in the back of your throat to control the flow of your deep breathing. By doing this, you will create a sound that is similar to the soothing voice of ocean waves, wind in the trees, or like the powerful Darth Vader breathing with determination behind his mask. Practice ujjayi pranayama for up to ten minutes.
Tip: Ujjayi is the Sanskrit word for victorious. Imagine you are rising victoriously above whatever caused you to feel furious.
Breath of Fire
Used as a psychic cleansing technique in Kundalini yoga, breath of fire can burn away negative feelings in a heartbeat. Since it is a more advanced form of pranayama, it is not recommended for beginners without the guidance of a teacher present.
Sit in a comfortable position with both hands layered over your lower belly. Take a deep breath in and exhale until your lungs are only one-quarter filled with air. Next, create a rapid and pumping short exhales by contracting your diaphragm. When you relax your diaphragm, you will naturally inhale. Let the relaxation phase of your inhale be the same pace of your staccato-like exhale so that you are breathing in short, rhythmic bursts at one-quarter capacity of your lungs. Do not practice breath of fire for more than twenty seconds at a time, unless you are in the company of a teacher or are an experienced practitioner.
Tip: Breath of fire is a powerful tool to singe the hairs of resentment. Let it bathe you in the heat of forgiveness.