👇🏾 Click on the video below for a 15-minute yoga-movement practice. Start standing, end standing. Release anger, tension, and toxins while creating space in the body-mind through movement.
Anger arises when we need things to be different than they are. It has the potential to inspire action; it’s creative. Anger stagnates into resentment when we can’t or don’t take the action it asks of us, or it can become chronic when the change we desire requires more time than we’d prefer. We can feel impatient, frustrated, or irritated. We need things to change or be different, right now!
When we need the moment to be anything other than it is, we’re separated from the moment. When this becomes chronic, we may feel an emptiness within ourselves or our world.
If this need stems from anger and its drive to create something new for ourselves or the world, and we’re unsatisfied through that creative process, we can feel an emptiness that we may find other ways to fill—obsessive thinking and/or compulsive behavior, whether its in consumption, relationships or even in how to change our world and our actions in attempt to make that happen.
This practice is for when we’re angered by the need for this moment that holds ourselves, others, or the world at large, to be other than it is.
Through presence in each moment, even by being present in our body through a movement practice, we can be with our anger as it arises and allow this anger to inspire aligned action while giving ourselves the freedom to safely release anger and even experience moments free from it, flowing with the flux of change that is inherent within ourselves, our lives, all of life, moment to moment.
When we remain angered or unfulfilled, we stagnate; we’re resisting the natural state of change (consciously or not), and when our anger and feeling of lack become chronic, we put our health at risk while relinquishing our ability to experience freedom, at least within our internal world.
When we give ourselves presence in each moment, we grant ourselves the ability to feel fulfilled, at peace, connected, and content. We can offer that to ourselves through practice, and when we do, only then can we extend this to our loved ones and to the world.
Here we explore the intersection between anger and emptiness in the emotional and mental bodies while covering all bases for detoxification that is even more essential if we’re off balance in this way, because if so, we may very well end up turning to food, alcohol, drugs, or needy (and thus toxic) relationships to soothe the anger, or emptiness, with the way things currently are, in this moment.
Therefore, this practice focuses on movements specific to lymphatic circulation that enhance detoxification, including bouncing, swaying, and swinging circles with the arms, while combining the wood and earth elements of five-element theory to:
👉🏼 Ground and center in acceptance for this moment as it is (earth in balance) to stabilize a need for our moments to be other than they are (earth imbalance)—stomach & spleen meridians
When applying the energy (and fascia) channels of the meridians to Hatha yoga, we also work with the bigger muscles that run along these lines. The earth element pertains to the spleen and stomach meridians. Yoga asana that work with these channels focus on the front line, as seen in the diagrams above, and the core that is the literal center of the body—the pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, diaphragm, and deepest muscles running through the spine.
Relating to the earth element and thus spleen and stomach channels, we address our digestion—this including anything that consumes our senses, not only food, drinks, or drugs. This is why these channels comprise the earth element: our senses are what make us human, in these human bodies, that relate with our physical world.
The earth is how we ground and center our body-mind in this moment from any looping obsessions, compulsions, or worries about the past or future, and by dropping us deeper into the body and the present moment, relieve anger that relates to the past or imagined future. The stability that is either augmented or discovered in an earth-focused practice also aids the rise and release of the anger and irritability that surfaces through a wood-element focus. Thus the combination of earth and wood in this practice.
Examples of asana utilized in this practice that address these energetic and physical lines include:
- Utkatasana, chair, strengthens the quadriceps, the muscle group through the front of the thighs, and the core of the body that enables lengthening the spine and opening of the chest.
- This strengthening is doubled by balancing on the balls of the feet, when the earth element is felt more acutely through heightened focus on deeper grounding through the balls of the feet and stilling the focus of drishti, vision, that eases that balance-act not only physically but mentally.
- Kumbhakasana, plank, is supported and stabilized through the entire front line of the body and deep core muscles.
- Grounding in diaphragmatic breathing here, by gently expanding the breath into the belly, not only keeps the body-mind calm in this posture but also stimulates the lymphatic system and the diaphragm itself as a primary core muscle.
- Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, upward dog, activates and extends the entire front line, through the front of the feet, legs, torso, chest, and throat, when the shoulders and neck are strong enough to support that opening.
- It’s optimal to focus on pressing down through the hands to move the shoulders away from the ears, open the chest, and lift through the throat as not to sink into and compress the back of the neck.
👉🏼 Expand through movement (wood in balance) to release excessive anger and irritability (wood imbalance)—liver & gall bladder meridians
In a wood-element yoga asana practice, we move through the in- and outside lines of the body that run with the liver and gallbladder meridians as seen above, and in doing so, release anger and irritability. This release permits more ease to rest into this moment, and in turn, easily contributes to an earth-focused practice.
Examples of asana utilized in this practice that address these energetic and physical lines include:
- Viparita Virahabdrasana, reverse warrior, and Utthita Parsvakonasana, extended side angle, both actively open the liver channel through the inside of the legs and torso, and the gallbladder channel through the outside of the torso and legs.
- The liver channel through the adductors—the muscle group of the inside of the thighs—is strongly engaged to align the front knee over the ankle, and pressing down through the outside of the back foot actively lifts the adductors through the back leg. (The stability of the lower body despite movement through the torso also indicates a strong presence of earth element.)
- The gallbladder channel is moved through the opening of the side body in Viparita Virabhadrasana and the extension of the outside of the foot all the way through the fingers in Utthita Parsvakonasana.
- Utkasa Konasana, goddess squat, not only charges an active opening of the liver meridian and adductors, but also fires through the abductors—the glutes and smaller muscles that turn the hips out—that run with the gallbladder meridian.
- Prasarita Padottanasana, wide-legged standing forward bend, when pressing through the outsides of the feet, lengthens the gallbladder channel through the outside of the legs and activates the inner thighs that relate with the liver meridian.
- Parivrtta Utkatasana, revolved chair, is an obvious combination of both earth and wood elements by adding a twist that moves the gallbladder channel and compresses the liver channel of the torso. The adductors and abductors are also strongly engaged, indicating wood element, along with the quadriceps, as seen above in an earth-focus.
Feeling lack in this moment is stressful, and anger is stressful, and both stress and anger are addictive.
Anger is interconnected with stress because it can induce a stress response, and both stress and anger are addictive. If you’re struggling with chronic stress, learn more about how you can help yourself now with it here. You can also use specific Hatha-Vinyasa yoga and Yin yoga practices that help with the symptoms of the chronic stress itself.
If you’re angry or irritable and yet heavily fatigued or exhausted, the stress-specific Hatha-Vinyasa yoga and Yin yoga practices may be more beneficial than the practice herein. Be mindful that you don’t wear yourself out—consistency in practice is more potent medicine than sporadic doses that stress or deplete you more!
If anger has become a default for you, find more tools here to help you relieve anger through food, herbs, and also introspective questions to guide you to discover more about your behavioral patterns and how they may contribute to your anger, giving you the power of self-awareness, to change your behavior so it relieves anger and helps you express yourself as you really are.
Also find other, simple DIY detox methods to get you detoxing on the daily, and remember, a little bit is always better than nothing! If it’s one serving of fresh, whole foods, or fifteen or even five minutes of movement or meditation, or cutting out one processed food that you know is harming you, whatever it is, you got this because changing stressful patterns, with self-love, self-awareness and acceptance, and with commitment and perseverance, is always, always here for us, in this moment.
To create a world within our vision, to be in service to others and this world, we need to care for ourselves first.
Support is sometimes exactly what we’re missing to make changes that we feel are necessary, hence the Holistic Liberation Program, with yoga and meditation sessions, support calls, and supplemental holistic practices that together, provide a well-rounded, fully supportive program that confronts the emotional, mental, and physical causes and symptoms of chronic stress.
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Jyllin is a holistic health coach and somatic practitioner, and teacher of therapeutic yoga and creative movement, specializing in liberation from self-sabotaging patterns of chronic stress. Learn more about Jyllin and The Holistic Liberation Program.