Being a yogi, and yoga instructor, I live in a word where anger is severely frowned upon. Anger is seen as violent. It is harmful. I’ve had more than on person say to me, “The Buddha said that holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” It’s true anger CAN be full of pain. It CAN be the energy that pushes people to hurt others. It is a “secondary emotion,” hiding “real” emotions under a layer of fire and fury. I’ve spent too long denying my anger because it was unladylike, because a yogi is never angry, because everyone tells me to get over it.
So today I’m coming out. I’m pissed. I’m furious. I want to scream expletives at the top of my lungs. I want to hit something (not someone), and run as fast as I can away from everything. This anger has me shaking to my core. I’m furious that without any reason cancer has swooped in and stolen three lives that I held dear, one being a little boy. It is a cruel son of a bitch that slowly turns your own body into a war zone. It is not fair that we could walk through life, trying our best to be “healthy” and something can fester inside of us. It isn’t fair that the three people I love, who all had their flames extinguished too soon, are barely a drop in the world’s most depressing bucket.
I’m angry that people are scared to be themselves. That in this day and age, people can’t just let others do their own thing. I’m so friggin’ livid that every day people are brutalized for being gay, or trans, or any religion, or of any descent that isn’t the majority. I’m angry about sexism, and toxic masculinity, and poor people being sent to jail for years for so little while rich, privileged criminals (cough, rapists, cough) might go to jail for maybe six months. I’m mad about police brutality, and about people demonizing the police. I’m mad about my student loans, and the fact that some people can’t even go to college. I’m mad enough to drive too fast, listen to Dimmu Borgir, punch walls, scream a the top of my lungs, “CAN’T WE ALL JUST LOVE EACH OTHER?!”
The list goes on and on. If it wasn’t for yoga, I’d stay mad. I’d probably get mad enough to burn myself out. But, despite what most people think, yoga never really told me not to be mad. Yoga is full of powerful, warlike postures. Yoga told me to notice when, why, and what I’m feeling. Yoga taught me to never take a reaction at face value, but to dig deeper. So yeah, I’m angry to my very core. But I’m not just going to sit around and seethe. Anger, if used correctly doesn’t have to be violent. It can be the driving force of change. I donate my time and money. I refuse to accept that this is the way things are. I believe that we can do better. I raise my kids to love and let love. I’m going to let my voice be heard. I’ll send my passion into the yoga classes I teach, the blogs I write, and every action I take. I will fight in my own (peaceful) way for change, a cure, justice, equality, and love.
What are you angry about? Don’t just sit there and rant. Your Facebook post, only goes so far. Let the fires of that anger ignite the engine of change within your being, and DO SOMETHING. Yogis do not have to be soft spoken and gentle. We can be warriors. We are warriors. Set your drishti on your target and pour your energy into making something happen. The story of the peaceful the yogi is either bullshit or expired. Next time you practice, notice the poses that piss you off. Notice the fire that you create in the pit of your being. Breathe strong, ujjayi breaths into that fire. Calmly stoke your prana. Practice looking right into what makes you angry, makes you want to run off of your mat and never return, and choose to stay. This is how we get stronger. This is how anger can become a driving force rather than a destructive one. Tap into your inner Shiva. Destroy what holds you back, purify your spirit in the fires of your fury, and create change from within.