How do anger, jealousy, and resentment feel in your body? For most of us, they feel uncomfortable. They demand resolution and action, even if there is no possible solution and no act that makes sense. They can cause us to develop painful tension in the jaw, shoulders, and hips. They are all associated with circulation of stress hormones, such as cortisol, that wreak havoc on the immune system and the body at large. It is okay and important to feel all of these feelings. For example, many of us must experience anger in order to fully process loss. Trying to use your yoga practices to skip over anger, jealousy, and resentment entirely isn’t healthy (it’s called spiritual bypass). However, these particular emotions are addictive, and once we’ve started feeling them we tend to hold onto them for much longer than they serve us. If we indulge them over time and fuel them, they can even start to consume us. We become so attached to feeling angry, jealous, and resentful that there’s no room left for joy, friendship, and love.
Meditation & Release:
- Come into a comfortable sitting position. Close your eyes and notice your breath. Take at least ten breaths here to center.
- Once you feel settled, turn your attention to your emotions. Notice your emotions without judging them as good, bad, right, or wrong—judgement clouds your perception. Notice the effects of each emotional experience on your body. Where is there tension? Where is there ease? How do the emotions affect the breath? How do the emotions affect chatter in the mind? Are there any recurring thoughts around these emotions?
- Now, take a deep inhale through the nose. Hold the breath at the top for a few moments and notice the swirling of emotions or thoughts around emotions. As you sigh through the mouth, allow anything physical, mental, or emotional that has already served its purpose leave your body with your breath. Don’t force, don’t push, just let anything that is ready to leave go. Do this three to five times.
- Take ten or more breaths to notice the physical, emotional, and mental effects of this practice.
- Repeat this practice when you’re experiencing different emotions.