Updated: Feb 17, 2021
A Yoga Meditation to Release Anger & Frustration
When I got sick in March I was on Corona lock down and my new commute was about 20 meters from my bedroom. I had little time to contemplate this shift in my work and home-life, as I went from a cough and sore throat on March 11th to feeling like something was sitting on my chest making it difficult for me to breathe, in a matter of days. Little did I know this would become my my new normal for the next four months. I amped up my fruits and veggies, put myself on herbal remedies, and started taking days off to rest and focus on healing in between meetings and taking care of a busy house-hold. I called my doctor and was screened on the phone for Covid and was offered a telemedicine appointment. This would be the first of many.
I learned many months later I had been exposed, and that a very dear colleague and friend with whom I worked closely had died from the Covid-19.
Without going into all the detail, I will summarize what I learned about our healthcare system as we entered into a world-wide pandemic. The United States, and Michigan in particular, did not have enough tests. Even with two pre-existing conditions that made me vulnerable to a virus of this nature, I was repeatedly denied testing "due to severe testing shortages." I was told repeatedly about test shortages, and that unless I had evidence I had been exposed to an individual who had tested positive, or had traveled out of the country, I could not get a test. I learned many months later a very dear colleague and friend with whom I worked closely had died from the Covid 19. While I was fighting a virus at home, my friend was fighting for her life in the hospital. However this information was only available after her passing due to privacy laws.
I tried to get tested through my family doctor, through the CDC Michigan Website, through my rheumatologist, all as my struggle to breathe continued to degrade over a period of 4 weeks, between bouts of steroids which would temporarily make my breathing tolerable. I made one trip to an ER screening at Beaumont where I was told: No you cannot be tested due to test shortages, yes you most likely have Covid 19. I was advised the ER was for those who needed a ventilator and I was not at that point. I was given a piece of paper that stated "confirmed and presumptive Covid 19" with instructions to stay home, shelter in place, and call your doctor.
As a meditation coach, yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner, I was well aware that anger was not going to help me or my immune system. I knew I needed to release this anger and reconnect to my higher self.
Over the course of that week I was unable to sleep at night laying down, as I could not get enough air. I learned to sleep sitting up in bed, propped up by pillows. I would wake up multiple times each night, gasping for breath, with sharp stabbing pains in my lower lungs. I would run outside, trying to pull air into my lungs, trying to find space because it felt as though I was being suffocated. I was prescribed antibiotics, steroids 3 times over the course of 3 months, and multiple inhalers. I did not have a doctor who would listen to my lungs to check for pneumonia because doctors did not want sick patients with my symptoms in the office. I also did not have access to an x-ray to diagnose pneumonia. It felt like the United States had transformed from a world leader in healthcare to a third world country in a matter of months. It seemed like those of us who were sick had no place to turn until you were on your last legs. I read local stories about people dying at home after being told to go home and shelter in place. I was bed-ridden due to exhaustion. I was in pain, and I in the end, I was angry.
Anger can be so powerful that it affects us on a physical level, increasing our heart rate, blood pressure and the release of chemicals like adrenaline into our bloodstream. This can put us into fight, flight and freeze, and essentially, disconnect us from the thinking and feeling parts of our brains. Once we lose those key connections, we lose that connection to our inner self, that sense of connectedness helps us to transform negative attitudes and choose how we wish to interact with the world and ourselves with meaning and purpose. As a meditation coach, yoga instructor, and Reiki practitioner, I was well aware that anger was not going to help me or my immune system. I knew I needed to release this anger and reconnect to my higher self. I turned to a meditation practice known as, "Fists of Anger," to support me in this process.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this practice! Three minutes and I am able to shed whatever it is that is bothering me, and find my way back to my higher self. It COMPLETELY changes the way I feel ~ this is one of those yoga meditation practices that feels a little bit like magic to me.
This practice is also great for releasing anger of unknown origin; when something is bothering you but you are not entirely sure where the angst is coming from. Finally think of this as critical maintenance ~ if you do it daily or weekly, you can avoid destructive blow-ups because you are clearing your energy on a regular basis. Give it a try!
Fists of Fury: Yoga Meditation to Release Anger & Frustration
To Begin: I invite you to tune in by closing your eyes, and rubbing your palms together vigorously for about a minute. Then bring your palms together in front of your heart center, with your thumbs gently pressing into your breast bone. Allow your nervous system to settle with 3 to 5 deep belly breaths, slowly inhaling through the nose, and slowly exhaling through your mouth. You might also chant the "Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo," if you are familiar with this practice. The goal is to settle into the moment and connect with yourself, your inner wisdom, and Divine wisdom.
Time: You can do this meditation for as little as 1 minute and work your way up to 3 minutes.
Asana (Body Position): Move into easy pose (sitting on floor with legs crossed), rock pose (knees are together, the feet are together, tops of feet touching the floor, and the hips are seated on the heels) or sit in a chair.
Bandhas (Body Locks): Lengthen the spine and assume a light neck lock (Jalandhar Bandh). To do this, keep a long tall spine, while allowing the chin to drop towards the chest, pulling the chin towards the neck as though you are making a double chin :)) The neck, throat and face muscles should be relaxed.
Mudra (Hand Position) & Movement: Touch each thumb to the mound at the base of your pinky fingers. Curl the rest of your fingers over your thumbs to form tight fists with both hands. Starting with your fists in front of your solar plexus (between your naval and breast bone), begin a backstroke type of movement, raising one arm over the head, alternating each side (right/left) as you swing up, over and back around again, just like you are doing the backstroke in a swimming pool.
Pranayama (Breath): Create an O-shaped mouth and breathe in and out creating a strong, rhythmic inhale and exhale that is coordinated with your arm movements.
Visualization: As you breath and move, intentionally bring to mind anything and everything that is making you angry, negative, resentful, vulnerable, hurt or off-balance. Keep a continuous focus on bringing up anger, rage, and negativity throughout the meditation, increasing the movement and breath as you go.
This is somewhat like chewing gum and walking; it's important to keep your mudra, movement and breathing rhythmic, continuous and strong while you mentally focus on your anger!
To End: Interlock your fingers, stretching your your arms up over head, with your palms facing up, and take a deep inhale through your "O mouth," at the same time now picturing yourself surrounded in white, healing light. Hold the breath for 10 seconds, and then exhale out of your "O mouth."
Repeat this ending breath 3 times.
This meditation is from the Kundalini Yoga tradition.