Ever get so mad that you felt sick? Have you experienced tightness in your muscles, a clenched jaw, or even stomach aches from being extremely angry? Anger does nothing but stress out your body and throw you into an unreasonable, unhealthy state. It leads to issues such as insomnia and headaches, and it increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Since 2002, I’ve practiced and taught breathing techniques that help reduce anxiety, stress and anger. The best technique I’ve worked with to calm myself and my clients down is known as “Sheetali Pranayama”. Pranayama is the Sanskrit word referring to breathing techniques. It translates into “lengthening the prana or breath.” The word prana means “life force” or “vital energy, and “āyāma” means to extend or lengthen. Translations by A. A. Macdonell define pranayama as “suspension of breath” while I. K. Taimni defines it as “regulation of breath”. Here’s some info on how to reduce anger via the specific breathing technique I use. May it be of help to you!
“Sheetal” means “peacefulness.” The sheetali breathing technique helps us to cool down, reduces our inner fire (rage) and balances out our energy. Any yoga studio can help you to practice this safe, effective breathing technique. It’s easy to learn, and there are many videos on YouTube that show you how to practice it. Here’s a link to one that is easy to follow: http://youtu.be/v-3UQk_jVzQ
How do I do it?
First, dim the lights and switch off your phone and tablet so that you’re in a relaxing environment and won’t be interrupted. Next, sit comfortably—there’s no need for any fancy pose—and relax your face. Deliberately unclench your teeth, and curl your tongue so it forms a cylindrical tube.
Now, breathe in very slowly and feel the cool air pull in through the “tunnel” you’ve created with your tongue. Feel the breath fill your abdominal area, chest then throat and neck. Make sure you relax the tongue, back inside your mouth, and hold the inhale for a moment (not too long!). Finally, drop your chin, and exhale slowly via your nose.
Repeat the above 10-20 times, but be sure to take a break if you feel uncomfortable. Practice this technique once in the morning and then again prior to bedtime in order to reduce anger, or indeed any time your temper flares up.
This technique cools your physical body by bringing cool, deep, slow breaths in to extinguish emotional “fires” brought on by anger and frustration. Sheetali calms the mind and body simultaneously. Studies have shown that it lowers blood pressure and reduces the severity of issues such as ulcers and rosacea.
Research has also proven that sheetali pranayama can help people with asthma, PTSD, ADHD, panic attacks and low self-esteem. Those who regularly practice the technique experience less rage, stress and digestive discomfort. Ayurvedic physicians claim that it also slows the signs of aging and helps to even out poor judgement and irrational thinking.
Give sheetali pranayama a try and see for yourself how you can stop anger in its tracks. It’s free, easy and can be done in the privacy of your own home. May you find tranquility on your path; I know it’s not easy, but techniques like this help us to cope along the way.