Monday, 7 October 2013

What happens when you get angry?

One of my homework assignments from Yoga School last week was to practice Himsa.

Himsa means to injure or harm.

Our teacher asked us to observe a moment when we were feeling angry, and embrace it. He did of course ask us not to hurt anyone or be physically violent, but we had to get angry, and then take notes about it.

Photo retrieved from

I don’t think this is really great news, but I usually have several opportunities in a week to get angry - and when I do feel angry, I’m always trying to hold back. So when I was told to go full-force and get angry, I thought it would be no problem.

There were a couple of notable times last week that I was feeling upset. Once was at work and another was at my boyfriend. But the most explosive, notable time was towards my beloved sister. Unintentionally, this is the time I choose to reflect upon.

I was frustrated with her. The family wanted to plan our Thanksgiving weekend, so we needed to know what her plans were. She didn’t know. She had to think about it. She needed to discuss it with her husband. That’s all fine and reasonable, but it had been a couple of weeks now and time was running out. On top of that, we needed to pick a date and plan our cousin’s baby shower that we are hosting together.

Unfortunately for my sister, I did my homework.

I lost my patience and practiced Himsa.

I lost my temper, raised my voice, and hung the phone up abruptly on her.

My body became agitated. I was standing outside at the time, and picked up my pace as I walked back towards the house. I fiddled with a lot of things, and lost sight of what I was actually trying to accomplish. I dwelled on it. I couldn’t let it go. I vented about it to my boyfriend, and then I felt like shit.

I wish I hadn’t done my homework.

For me, this was the worst part about Himsa: How I felt afterwards.

Sure, it felt right at time, and I did it with purpose. But it was after all things were said and done that I realized what had truly happened: I had hurt myself the most.

It was interesting to observe how I physically reacted, but what resonates with me is how I emotionally reacted. I don’t like to be angry. I know sometimes we all need to vent - in fact I’ve read before that it’s good to get angry, let it out, and then get over it. But in this particular case, I don’t think that worked very well for me.

My sister was probably offended. I don’t think raising my voice and hanging up the phone on her made her feel great, but thankfully we love each other unconditionally and are both very understanding people. But these sorts of events don’t happen too often between us, so when they are do, I feel they are significant.

Next time I get angry, I will recognize the physical cues that my body is giving me. Then I want to breathe through them. I want to stop talking, and deal with the situation like the person I want to be: patient and mature.

I pray that those in my life can give me the time and space to learn how to do this.

Overall, I’m happy that we did this assignment. But I’m also happy we don’t have to do it again.

This week, our homework is to purposefully put ourselves in a situation that makes us feel uncomfortable. More to come…

Thanks for reading,