Most people see yoga as a way to release tension and stress, so why is it that yoga can sometimes make you angry? If yoga makes you angry, it can be frustrating. You probably did not go into those yogic exercises to get angry; you truly had your mind set on a relaxing session. But, when that does not come, you are probably left worrying you are doing something wrong!
Feeling anger during yoga is to be expected sometimes. Yoga helps to release pent-up emotions, and sometimes those emotions are of hurt, pain, frustration, and other negative feelings. Know that this sometimes happens, and it may be your body and mind wanting you to release a burden.
So, do not let anger during yoga make you even angrier. If these emotions arise and you feel as though you cannot process them on your own, then there are resources and practices that you can use to help you understand and overcome these feelings of anger.
Why Yoga Can Cause Anger
When practicing yoga, you are releasing tension, both mental and physical. For many, this tension comes from physical frustrations, past pains, stressors, and other negatives in one’s life.
As you know, yoga does not always leave you feeling happy. So, if you start feeling anger during a yoga session, although it may frustrate and confuse you, do not quit because of that. Try and understand the source of your anger. Feeling your emotions is important, but expecting to release anger every yoga session isn’t healthy for your practice.
As with all things, release should happen in moderation. Yoga is about finding peace and balance, so the last thing you want is a practice that’s routinely angry.
One of the more obvious reasons that you may be feeling anger during yoga is due to a feeling of inability to complete the poses. This is the more surface, or physical, source of anger that can come about during yoga.
Frustration from Difficult Poses
When you are first starting, it can be easy to fall into a pit of frustration when you can’t perform a seemingly easy pose. This can be worsened if you are in a class where everyone else seems to be performing the moves with ease.
Even when you have been doing yoga for a while, the inability to master a certain pose or series of poses can cause anger and confusion. You may be left wondering, “I work so hard at this. Why is it so difficult to reach my goal?”
This type of anger may not seem that serious. But, these “simple” frustrations may stem from those deeper emotions that you have hidden away. For example, anger over the inability to complete a pose could stem from a long-held fear of failure.
Emotional Reasons for Anger
Sometimes what we’re bearing is a tension that we did not even realize we had. In the yoga basics article, “Emotional Release Through Yoga,” Timothy Burgin writes, “Our emotional tensions and traumas are often woven into physical tension and pain… [yoga and practiced breathing which releases muscle tension] can also release associated emotions bound in our muscles.”
So, the poses and breathing exercises in yoga are far more than just a good stretch. Those stretches can help us release emotions that we buried away. It can help us realize the subconscious reasons that we have been feeling emotional stress and physical stiffness.
When these emotions arise, let yourself understand why you may be feeling this way. Is it from current stressors? Maybe you push yourself too hard at work. Maybe you had an experience that you locked away instead of facing it and working through the emotions. Are over expectations that you or others put on yourself surfacing? Maybe you try and do too much every day, to the point of burnout.
For whatever reason you may be feeling this anger, it is important to take you time and work through the emotions, whether you are alone or in a class with others. Do not bottle them up. If you feel the need to talk to a therapist about these feelings, then you should do so.
And, most important of all, do not be ashamed of the anger you feel. It is easy to be afraid that others will reject you for not having that peace you would expect with yoga. Realize that you are not the first, and certainly will not be the last, to feel this way during a yoga session. But, do not let that anger control you either.
And, as I said earlier, talk to a therapist if you need to. And, if you are not comfortable with a therapist, talk to your yoga instructor, or a trusted friend or family member. Do not let anger or any other emotions be pushed down. Doing may be a temporary fix, but it can have negative long-term effects.
But, I Don’t Know Why I am Angry
If you get angry during yoga, you will oftentimes be able to pinpoint why you are mad. Whether it is from deep pains that you have been carrying for years, or simply because some jerk cut you off on the way to class, we often at least have an idea why we’re angry.
But, sometimes, you may not know why you are angry. This could be the result of a plethora of factors such as a stressful day that has clogged your mind. If this happens, it can be frustrating not to know why you are mad, especially if it is yoga that brings it to the surface.
Whether you know you are angry or not, don’t fret. Your body trying to get rid of that anger that is gnawing at you. And, sometimes, we need to face that anger to overcome it. Healthline did an article where they covered common causes of anger. Knowing and understanding why you are angry can help you overcome that anger.
- Problems in your personal life. This could range anywhere from problems at work to problems with relationships, romantic and plutonic.
- Something that another did that changed your schedule, such as a friend canceling dinner plans or your boss scheduling a big, last-minute meeting
- Annoying events, especially those that disrupt your day. For example, your kid forgot their bag at home, and now, you have to go and bring it to their school
- Memories from past traumas that have happened to you
When you are doing yoga, it can be frustrating for these feelings to come up. If this happens, then it is good just to take deep breaths and try to work through whatever may be bothering you at that moment.
Unfortunately, these feelings can sometimes be lingering. And, depending on the situation, it may be a good idea to seek guidance for the frustrations that you may be feeling.
Do Not Do This Too Often
Some may find this emotional release to sound therapeutic, healing. I am sure that we all have some anger that we have pushed down. And, for some, the idea of letting those come to the surface and working through them may sound nice.
Although this may seem nice, intense emotion should not be something you strive for each time you have a yoga session. In fact, some say that you should not go into yoga specifically seeking the release of negative emotions.
However, not all people feel this way. Some believe that you can purposefully release these emotions. But, if you decide to do this, it must be done in moderation.
In the article linked above Mr. Burgin goes on to say that, if you do yoga to release emotion, this should not be practiced too often (no more than three times a month), and, “[this is] contradicted with a history of emotional or physical instability and would be cautioned with a history of intense trauma.”
Essentially, over release of negative emotions can cause more harm than good, just like bottling up emotions can harm you. And, if you have a history of major trauma, yoga may not be the best way to release it. For those that had a major trauma, it would be better to go to a therapist or yoga therapist since they are trained to help you work through that anger, and any other emotions you may feel.
Yoga Therapy, What is It?
Although traditionally therapy is very good, there are some people who seek more than just talking about their emotions. Some people may want something that they can use in conjunction with regular therapy. They may seek a way to release their emotions physically. And, you guessed it, yoga therapy is one option
According to YogaTherapy.com, yoga therapy applies yoga practices along with the help of a trained yoga therapist to help people address their “physical, mental, and emotional needs.” The great thing about having someone that leads you through this one-on-one session is that they are trained to keep you safe.
Although it has not been proven, research suggests that yoga therapy can be “an adjunctive therapy for anxiety, depression, trauma, and PTSD.” But, yoga therapy will be best when used alongside traditional therapy.
Purposeful Emotional Release
Now that you hopefully have a better understanding of why you feel anger during yoga, you may want to experiment a bit with releasing these emotions so that you can overcome them and be more at peace.
As I said above, it is not good to practice this often. And, if you have emotional trauma, it is probably better to work through the emotions you have with someone. Whether you have lots of emotional baggage or not, it is best to have someone around, such as a therapist or yoga therapist. This is especially true if you have major trauma.
But, I understand that not everyone has the time or money to pay for a therapist or yoga therapist. If this is the case, then there are specific poses and breathwork you can do to try to overcome the anger or other negative emotions that you may feel.
Below is a summary of how breathwork and different poses can help you to release these emotions. For further understanding of these ideas, and how to complete the poses, follow the links provided.
Emotional Release Through Pranayama
The best way to release your negative emotions, according to yogis, is the careful use of two of the main aspects of yoga. One of these is pranayama, which is the way that you breathe while doing yoga. This is used to bring inner balance. Remember, finding an inner balance may mean understanding negative emotions to release them.
To release emotions, we need to relax the mind, and breathing does exactly that. Breathwork, whether it is fast or slow, helps to ground you. It is a way to work through difficult emotions that you feel welling up. Even if you feel anger flair up outside of yoga, doing some simple breathing exercises can help to calm you.
Emotional Release through Asanas
The other aspect of yoga is the asanas, which are the positions you take. These also help in releasing and working through emotions.
Different people recommend different poses, but there are some commonalities. So, here are some poses that I found two or more people recommended to release emotion:
- Lion Pose: This pose helps to release tension in the jaw. Releasing tension can help in reducing anxiety and helps people to release negative emotions. (Sources: YogiApproved.com and Yoga Journal).
- Pigeon Pose: The pigeon pose, due to its complexity, is difficult to achieve. So, don’t feel ashamed if you need to use some “props” or someone nearby to help you out. In fact, using supporting props, or having someone help you can be good. The feeling of the embrace (whether it is inanimate or animate) can help you work through negative emotions. (Sources: DOYOUYOGA and out of stress).
- Bound Angle Pose: As many know, we hold lots of stress in our hips. This pose can help relieve that tension. And, with the release of tension, can come the release of emotions. (Sources: YogiApproved.com and Yoga Journal).
- Upward-facing dog: Sometimes, when we hold back something that is troubling us, we feel a lump in our throat. Since Upward-facing dog “stretches” one’s throat, it may help people to feel that lump release. And, the emotion associated with it may also be released. But, if it is not, there is no harm in talking to someone you need to. (Sources: YogiApproved.com and Yoga Journal).
- Headstand or Supported Headstand: Our heads are heavy, like, ten pounds heavy. Doing a headstand can help you relieve that tension for a time, and realign your neck muscles. Headstands also require great focus, and this focus can help us to not dwell on the past, present, or future. These two factors can help you release negative emotions.
Through both pranayama and asana, it is important to work through the emotions that arise calmly. Sometimes the emotions will be fleeting and go away by the time you finish your yoga session. But, the deeper emotions from long-lasting pains may linger. If this is the case, then there is no harm in talking to someone.
As a side note, if you can afford it, a big advantage of having a yoga therapist is that they will be able to help you through instruction on breathwork and guidance in choosing positions that will work best for you. They are trained for this and will know how to help you as best they can.
Do Not Let Anger Get You Down
You probably picked up yoga to find some type of peace and serenity in your everyday life. Yoga is often seen as a great outlet for the calm and relaxation that many people seek in the busyness of our modern world.
If you have gotten angry during yoga, it can be a major downer. The very thing that you started to bring peace and serenity is, instead, bringing up pangs of anger and frustration.
Do not let this bring you down. Many people have negative emotions that arise while doing yoga. And, many believe this is because yoga is helping your body get rid of these negative emotions. Sometimes, these negative emotions need more than just a few yoga poses to go away. Remember, though, do not do yoga just because you want to release these emotions too often.
If these emotions arise and don’t give up during the yoga session, talk to your instructor, or a trusted friend or family member. And, it never hurts to go to a therapist and, if you desire to, a yoga therapist. These people are trained in how to help you overcome these emotions.
Do not give up when these emotions arise and push your emotions down. Your body is trying to tell you that it is time for some good old-fashioned emotional healing. It is healing that you definitely deserve!
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