Yoga with Melissa 381 Heart Stabilization Series: Yoga for Anger

by Melissa West on April 28, 2017

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Yoga for Anger

If I may be so bold, one of the core and unspoken beliefs held by yoga and spiritual communities is that to experience anger is somehow unspiritual or un-yogic. The truth is sometimes life will be all rainbows, lollipops and unicorns and sometimes life will hand us the most antagonistic set of circumstances we can imagine. Our body will respond the way our body will respond. Unless we plan on taking an emotional lobotomy (a term I love coined by Ngakpa Chogyam and Khandro Dechen) then anger is going to be part of our everyday experience.

Our knee jerk reaction will be to somehow control and manage our natural arising of emotions within our body. Anger has a particular intensity which urges us to react or push through with even more restraint and emotional supervision. And yet there is another option, which is opening to directly to our anger, not to react with an emotional outburst, or try to control it, manage it, suppress it, or push through it, but open to the truth of it as it is in this moment.

Anger is a powerful force that shows up in many forms in our lives. It is all the ways we judge, push away, condemn, criticize or hate some experience in our lives. It can run the gamut of annoyance, deep fear, hatred to rage. At the core we can recognize a dislike or aversion to some aspect of our present moment experience.

When anger arises notice what is happening. Notice that anger happens when we are hurt or when we are afraid. Anger is a powerful medicine. It shows us where we are stuck, where our limits are and where we are clinging to our beliefs and fears about how things in our lives “should” be unfolding. In other words, anger is based on our limited beliefs about how our world should unfold and how we should be treated.

When anger arises, notice the anger. Where do you feel it in your body? What happens in your body when anger arises? Can you notice different kinds of anger? Can you feel the effects of anger on your breath? Can you feel the contraction in your body when anger arises? Can you feel the affects of anger on your mind?

Our practice does not allow is to eliminate anger from our lives. That is an impossible task. Our lives will unfold as they will unfold. People will treat us the way we will treat us. All of this is beyond on our control. Relating to anger as it arises and passes is a lifelong journey, one that takes tenderness, patience and compassion.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

If you appreciated this approach to opening to anger rather than going for an emotional lobotomy give the video a thumbs up.

If you know somebody who would benefit from this class please feel free to share the video with them.

Props Needed: Yoga Blocks, Pillow, Meditation Cushion, Blanket,

Yoga Poses or Asana: Bridge Pose or Setu Bandhasana, Boat Pose or Navasana, Chaturanga Dandasana or Tricep Pushup, Pigeon Pose or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, Goddess Victory Squat or Utkata Konasana, Dolphin Pose or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana, Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana, Cow’s Face Pose or Gomukhasana, Lion’s Breath or Simhasana, Savasana or Corpse Pose, Samputa Mudra

Let me know in the comments if this was a different approach to anger than you are used to experiencing in a yoga class in if so, how was it different for you?

Thank you so much for your donations: Carla from Belguim and Sonja from South Australia.

Today we practiced Goddess Victory squat as a way to connect with the strong emotion of anger. If you would like a full class to connect with your fierce Goddess, In our membership community we have a long yoga class called The Transformative Power of Kali (55 mins) Kali’s fierceness often reminds me of the powerful emotion, anger. This yoga class will invoke the transformative fires of transformation through hip and groin opening, third chakra and core strengthening yoga postures and moon salutation to connect with Kali’s intense energy.

It was one of the first yoga classes in our membership community back in 2011. Link Here

Membership Sign-Up

Weekly Yoga with Melissa #381 Photos of Yoga Poses


  • Donna Stone

    Thank you for this opportunity to become more aware of anger in my body/mind, the time to sit with it and experience its transformation.

  • Valéria Cesar da Costa

    Dear Melissa, it´s been almost 4 years since I found you. Right after episode 101, I searched for something more specific, and soon hit the target at the time finding episode 102, Yoga of Emotions: Anger. After all these years, I´ve always wanted to leave my testimonial for you, but knew there would be just the right time. So here I am, right after experiencing another episode on the same theme, however with a different approach. As you wisely say experiencing anger is part of being human, but having experienced it hard these days I was feeling guilty, rebuked, as in the poem you´ve just read. Once again, your light has reached me, and as I set my intention during the class, I found out now I can accept the experience of feeling anger, knowing the balm will come and cease the flame… and ease the pain. Once again, thank you so much for sharing your best. It always reaches me deeply. Gratitude, Valéria.

    • Hi Valerie,
      Wow, amazing how here we are from yoga for emotions, anger, to another class on anger and yes, a different approach. Yes, anger is an emotion, just like any other emotion that deserves to be felt. Thanks for taking the time to leave your heartfelt comments. Namaste, Melissa

  • Carla Van de Schoot

    I tried to do this class because I have anger issues. But after 15 minutes or so I felt so warm I couldn’t continue. And its not the weather. Maybe this means something. I will try again tomorrow. I feel a bit sad I cant do this.

    • Thank you for speaking so honestly about what was present for you when you approached this class. What stands out to me is how connected you were to the sensations in your body. There is also a real tenderness in your sadness in choosing to turn away for the time being. Namaste, Melissa

      • Carla Van de Schoot

        I have already prepared the room and my mat to give it a second try this evening!

        • I admire your courage to open to this process again Carla 🙂

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