Who doesn’t want to live yoga off the mat? The answer to that seems kind of obvious, especially if you observed the turnout at this past weekend’s Being Yoga conference at the Omega Institute. We all want to be more compassionate, calmer, and definitely less angry. But most of us don’t have an easy time doing that in our every day life, no matter how advanced our asana practice is.
Seasoned teachers like Darren Rhodes and Elena Brower, who visited Omega to give their off-the-mat advice during the weekend’s many on-the-mat asana classes know that first-hand. As Rhodes framed his own anxiety on the opening night of the conference, when he’s not teaching and traveling, he’s worrying about teaching and traveling.
The same kinds of problems affect how we approach anger and compassion too: during her workshop Yoga for a Broken Heart, Seane Corne focused on her personal experience with how you can’t just namaste your way out of a bitter relationship or a heated interaction. If you spend all your time trying to be the most politically correct yogi, the anger or grief or other emotion you don’t acknowledge will cumulatively build and take control.
That’s how we end up leaving explosive voicemails or writing completely over-the-top break-up emails while drunk, Corne wryly noted—because we fail to acknowledge our animal nature, our irrational half.
So what’s a compassionate yogi to do? According to Pandit Rajmani Tigunait in the latest issue of Yoga International, the last thing you want to do is to suppress your anger. Anger is a much stronger form of energy than kindness and compassion and can be a more powerful unifying force, he says. Give his article a read to learn how to channel your anger and see it as a way to experience your own inherent fullness.
And THEN: Share your own story with us. How were you able to express your anger wisely and purposefully? We want Yoga International to become a wider forum for fearless honesty and intelligent discussion.
Also in the fall issue
Try our 10-minute home yoga practice
Discover four simple ways to make the fruits of summer last well into fall.
Learn how to build the determination and confidence you need in an asana sequence to practice the challenging pose Tittibasana.