“Your greatest test is whether you can still see the humanity of the people who disagree with you and people who hurt you. For when you are hurt, you will want to hate. But when you hate the ones who hurt you, you become the darkness that haunts your dreams. Love shines a light; love returns us to the path; love makes us brave.” – Valarie Kaur
At 3HO’s recent Summer Solstice Sadhana Celebration, Valarie Kaur, an award-winning filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, media commentator, Sikh activist and interfaith leader, spoke with amazing insight, integrity and passion to the people gathered for International Peace Prayer Day. Her speech came on the heels of the heartbreaking shootings in Orlando and highlighted numerous stories, from around the globe, of deep trauma and pain. These stories, of almost unbearable wounds (and subsequent reactions by politicians and lay-people alike), are what has Kaur referring to this time period in our existence as “The Era of Enormous Rage.” The tears streaming down from the thousands in the audience confirmed the shared belief in this speculation. As a Soul on the Earth, having a human experience at this time, it is challenging to not feel this rage, this anger, especially when we are asked to bear witness to so many raw experiences – both our own and those coming at us from the constant News Feed streams.
Few, if any of us, when asked about our individual or collective anger, would identify it as an emotion we enjoy experiencing. Anger is often referred to as a “secondary emotion,” because it is almost always covering up even more uncomfortable emotions – such as grief, shame or fear. These vulnerable places can be extremely distressing to feel, recognize or even tolerate – so, we cover them up with anger, which is often then felt with intensity and destructive power in our physical body. This intensity is also experienced within anger’s urge to take action—we want to express, distribute, or demonstrate our anger, be it through words or actions. However, acting from a place of anger is simply placing more anger into our collective consciousness. Humee Hum Brahm Hum. . .We are We. We are God. My neighbor’s anger is my anger. And the seeds of anger I have planted within myself, will eventually take root outside of myself. In my partner, my children, my community.
So, then, what can we do with the anger we might feel or harbor due to the difficult or unbearable experiences of life? How can we transform and release our individual and collective anger in peaceful and healthy ways and, instead, find ourselves in a place of forgiveness and, as Valarie Kaur calls it, “Revolutionary Love?”
A subtler and gentler option is to start by simply recognizing, naming and not judging the anger that is arising. Then, from that place, finding wisdom, guidance and hope within the incredible tools that have been passed down to us from various traditions. Sure – yelling at the top of our lungs, throwing things, or storming off to fume in a corner might seem like a simpler and less time-consuming option, but will never allow for true and cathartic movement to take place. Just as each individual’s anger is unique to them, finding the best way to transform this anger will be an individual process. There is not one “right” way. However, this week, we will be offering tools from the Yogic and Ayurvedic perspectives. We hope that by offering these perspectives, we can all begin to shift our relationship with anger. Rather than connecting with anger’s urge to hurtful action or anger’s primal bodily feelings, we can start to relate to whatever deeper message our anger has to offer. This shift, in turn, frees us to grow through, release and transform our anger – tapping into our true potential to be the servants of peace, love and compassion that we are all meant to be.
as taught by Yogi Bhajan, September 21, 1988
This particular yoga set works on balancing inner anger and oxygenating the brain to give you an experience of conscious relaxation.
1. Lie down flat on your back in a relaxed posture with your arms at your sides, palms up and your legs slightly apart. Pretend to snore. 1 minute. “You think snoring is a nasty thing. It is not. It will relax you right there.”
2. Still lying on your back, keeping your legs out straight, raise both legs up to 6″ and hold for 2 minutes. This exercise balances anger. It pressurizes the navel to balance the entire system. In this posture, you will become angry within about 45-seconds.
3. Remaining in the posture with your legs up at 6″ stick out your tongue and do Breath of Fire through your mouth. Arms at your side. 1.5 minutes.
4. Still lying on your back, lift your legs up to 90 degrees with your arms on the ground by your sides. Begin to beat the ground with all the anger you can achieve. Beat hard and fast. 2 minutes. Get the anger out!
5. Still on your back, use your arms to press your knees tightly against your chest, and stick your tongue out. Inhale through your open mouth and exhale through your nose. 2 minutes. This is Bhajar (stone) Praanayam. It can make even a stone-head think right.
6. Come sitting in Celibate Pose with your buttocks on the floor between your heels. Cross your arms over your chest and press them hard against your rib cage, making your rib cage like stone. (This is Bhajar Bhand, stone lock). Bend forward and touch your forehead to the floor as if you are bowing. For 2 minutes move at a pace of approximately 30 bows per minute, and for another 30 seconds speed up and move as fast as you can. (2.5 minutes total time).
7. Sitting up with your legs straight out in front of you, begin to beat all parts of your body with your open palms. Move fast. 2 minutes. Hit hard and leave no spot untouched. It is a free massage.
8. Stand up, bend forward, keeping your back parallel to the ground, and let your arms and hands hang loose. Remain in this posture and sing a mantra for 3 minutes. This is called “forced circulation.” If you get dizzy in this posture, sit down immediately. (In the original class, Yogi Bhajan played a recording of the Guru Ram Das Mantra).
9. Continue singing and come into Cobra Pose, keeping the elbows straight and stretching the spine. Sing from the navel. 1 minute. Then begin circling your neck and continue to sing for another 30 seconds. Still in Cobra Pose begin kicking the ground with alternate feet for 30 seconds.
10. Sit in Easy Pose and close your eyes. Stretch your arms over your head, keeping the elbows straight, and interlace your fingers with the index fingers extended and pointing straight up. Begin Sat Kriya for 1.5 minutes.
11. Lie down and nap in Corpse Pose on your back for 11 minutes. Quickly get deeply into your relaxation. Yogi Bhajan played the gong.
To come back from your layout, rotate your hands and feet. Cat stretch left and right. Tense up your body briefly and then shake every part of your body.
“When the inverted anger becomes part of the body, the simple effect is that you have absolutely no relationship with your Self . . .Inferiority complex or superiority complex are a cover-up of inner anger. Manipulation and lying is part of inner anger. Not being self-sustaining or having a foundation to work it out is an inner anger. All skin diseases are inner anger. Misbehavior, wrong calculation, self-destruction, destroying the business, destroying the relationship are all inner anger . . . On the other hand, anger comes from the place of the Agaan Granthi. It is the area of the heart, it is the blood, it is the circulation, it is the diaphragm, it is the heart pumping. The whole life depends on it. So, it is the center of the heart, it is the furnace. Either is can cook for you or it can burn down your house and there is nothing in between. That is the tragedy of it.” – Yogi Bhajan –
We would love to hear about any shifts you experience while practicing this kriya! Please let us know in the comments below.
Spirit Voyage is proud to offer a large selection of Kundalini Yoga Books and Manuals to support your practice!