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Anger Management For The Aspiring Yogi

In my 24 years working at the Sivananda ashrams and Centers and studying the ancient science of Raja Yoga and Vedanta, I have learned a little about anger, a difficult emotion . I thought it might be useful to let you know what I have learned about trying to return to my essential peaceful nature. See if they help you

Imagine what would your day look like without irritability or anger? How many moments, days, or even years have been lost in unnecessary grudges and resentments that seem to poison so many lives? Do you think that you get angry only with people? How about getting upset about the weather, or spilling your coffee just seconds before you have to leave the house? Or what about getting angry at your pets or your life situations?

Many lost moments could have been saved by a simple realization that anger is an emotion that can be transformed into a creative force and wisdom.

Below are five simple tips for you to begin to transform your anger, and life, today.

1. Reflect on the Negative Effects of Anger - In order to increase your understanding of anger and cultivate inspiration to practice overcoming it, you will to reflect on some of its negative effects on the body and mind.

Science has proven that when we experience anger, a toxin is released into our digestive systems. Anger increases the internal heat in our body and causes more wrinkles. On an emotional level, anger robs you of your joy and happiness. It spiritually weakens your connection with the Divine and destroys relationships. Remembering these negative qualities, and knowing that when you are angry this is happening within you, will help you to overcome this harmful negative emotion.

Sit for a few minutes and think about how anger affects your body and the mind. What does your body feel like? Can you remember some signs? For me, it comes as rising heat in the body, a tensing of the stomach and muscles, clenching fists. What about you? Did you feel the blood rushing to your head? You may also think for a moment how anger may have contributing to losing something precious in your life such as a friend or a partner or even a job. It is, after all, a painful experience.

2. Contemplate the Benefits of Overcoming Anger – This would involve contemplation on the benefits of mastering anger. By practicing patience, love and forgiveness, some of the antidotes to anger, you will begin to feel in control of difficult situations.

One of the most important antidotes is forgiveness. You must be able to let go of the past. It is detoxifying to both the body and the mind. Forgiveness helps to remove the burden of hate or pain. Forgiveness helps to release you from fear and showers blessings upon you. Forgiveness is like cold water to a blazing fire.

In your contemplation of the positive effects of overcoming anger, what can you come up with? How can you forgive more? Who do you need to forgive? Make sure that you remember to forgive yourself for being angry as well. It’s not always about others, sometimes anger is simply being able to forgive oneself from past wrongs.

What other benefits will you develop when you overcome anger? The more examples you come up with, the more inspired you will be to slay this negative emotion. Remember that every situation where irritability or anger arises, is in fact an opportunity to develop any of the positive antidotes – patience or understanding, kindness, love and forgiveness.

3. Learn to Identify It - In order to transform or eliminate anger we need to first be able to see or feel it. While it is self-evident sometimes, other times we don’t seem to recognize that we’re annoyed until the emotion of anger gets out of control and we start speaking or acting aggressively.

Begin your day by making a commitment to watching your mind closely, and it as frequently as you can during the day. When walking, working, or cooking, or doing anything, notice if you are going over some hurt or incident in the mind, or dwelling on the faults of others. Remember that you have a choice. You can switch your mind to thinking about something more positive and creative. You can recall, for a few moments, the problems of anger and the benefits of the practice of patience, kindness and forgiveness.

4. Conquer the Smaller Waves of Irritation to Build Confidence & Will Power - Work first with the smaller waves of irritation – perhaps notice how a remark from somebody, a tone of their voice, the manner in which somebody may be acting affects you. This can be the right place to start.

An opportunity has come for you to rise above the habitual response of getting irritable and you have tips to now put into place. Ask yourself: Is it necessary for me to react in this way? What is a better way to look at this situation? Become aware of irritability before it develops into a stronger and more difficult to control form of anger. Make a firm resolve not to get angry. Train the mind to be a wonderful tool in creating oneness and unity.

5. Deflect the Agitation before It Gets There - When working with anger, it is imperative to begin to implement basic tips to deflect the anger. If you can begin to calm the mind and cool the body, you are already soaring down the road of overcoming anger.

The first tip is to remember we need to control the body first and then the speech. You can cool anger by drinking a cup of cold water or by taking a quick cold shower. This really works as it is known to cool the blood. Also try taking 10 deep breaths. Say some mantras such as Om Om Om or Om Shanti (Om Peace) or any prayer that helps to de-elevate the frequency of anger.

These simple tips, when put to practice, will transform anger into love and disconnect into connection. Your body will begin to heal from the trauma anger induces. Your mind will be more peaceful. You will speak more sweetly and softly. Your relationships with others will improve.

What more can you ask for?

--Prem Sadasivananda

To hear Prem Sadasivananda speak, go to his website or if you would like a special appointment, email him at

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