Written by Kim Fischer, below is a recent article taken from her blog, Lotus Life Yoga. Kim is a certified yoga instructor at our Syracuse CNY Healing Arts Center.
What is anger? When you get angry, is it you who gets angry, or is it something that is happening to you? Yoga teaches us to slow down and examine our thoughts and emotions as they arise. We know through meditation, that most of the time our minds race with thoughts, plans, and expectations. How do we react when an expectation isn’t met? To an untrained mind, we feel waves of sadness, depression, anxiety or maybe fear. However, these emotions are just that, waves of energy. Lets look at what we know about the ocean waves, other than their obvious beauty. We know that quite simply, they come and go. And like the waves, our emotions also come and go. We must remember this analogy next time we are hurting, and learn how to surf!
Riding the waves, as I like to say in my classes, is what makes us good yogis. It pushes and guides us to deep edges and boundries of our minds where we feel resistance. Then we rise up, towards the light, surviving the challenge and ready for more! What a valuable lesson. We can use this same technique off the mat, so to speak. When anger presents itself, we have an option. First, we can kick and scream like a three year old, and give into the emotion. Or we can pause, take a deep breath and put on our wetsuits, because it’s hang ten time! Let the emotion rise within you, watch it. Breathe into it. Say to yourself I feel angry or mad or jealous (fill in the blank with how you feel). Then watch it some more. Eventually the feelings will resolve and you can see clearly again. This resolve can take seconds or sometimes years. The point isn’t to rush out of “bad” emotions but to open-up, and be present to what is and use this as a self-learning opportunity.After the wave(s) have left the body we can then begin to ask ourselves important introspective questions. Why did I feel this way in the first place, what triggered this emotion? Is there something I need to acknowledge or address? Is there something I need to say out loud to someone (loving communication)? What do I need to feel better? We often neglect this last question and as a result we never “heal.” If we’re not careful this can lead us to unhealthy emotional patterns and behaviors.
Most importantly remember, we are not our emotions. Emotions are forms of energy, and all will pass. And, like any new adventure, it takes a good dose of courage and a pinch of patience to look inward. I know you can do it!