Saturday, September 12, 2009

Anger and Aggression

In a yoga class I took on Friday, I had anger and aggression pass through my handstand (arm balance) practice. I have heard some say that yoga is not a place for agression, and, well yogis don't get angry. I say: screw that!

I felt angry AND aggressive in a yoga class I was taking.

Handstand is a pose that I do easily on some days, and encounter difficulty on others. Well, Friday was one of the difficult ones. I recognize a psychological aspect in my ability to do it. When I feel powerless, I can't do it. Physically, I am strong, but there are times where I feel timid and lacking the strength to do it. There are times when I submit to this, and accept that I'm just not doing it that day. But this was not one of those times. I did things differently when I realized I felt sheepish in giving up.

I saw my teacher standing by to help and I told myself: I am going to do it. And I didn't. I heard myself say, "fuck!" in an angry whisper as my feet touched the mat again (sorry if I disturbed anyone). Luckily, he turned to help someone else (it's not you Quinn--I swear--I just needed to NAIL this one). And I felt a shot of aggression that put my legs up!

Some might say,"Brooks, life has its ups and downs, and yoga is a practice of yielding, surrendering, and practicing for death so you should have just stayed down."

And for this stage in my life this kind of surrender practice just doesn't seem appropriate. What do I serve? Fear? Authority? Tradition? How about a larger goal? Or steps toward a better world? Surrendering to the work required to make a change--I can agree to that! I have played the meek one long enough. I have a back-story that supports the part of victim pretty well. I also have a resilient spirit, a strong heart, a sharp mind, and capable hands! I believe in change, and I can DO IT.

I need to fight! Let me have my agression! Let me have my anger! Let these natural energies and responses to life's obstacles help me break through my own blocks. Yea!

(And if I turn into an unbalanced hothead--you bedda' believe I'll be searching out some quieter practices to cool my heels...)


Linda-Sama said...

Jack Kornfield told us at my training at Spirit Rock that anyone who thinks yogis or anyone else on a spiritual path are not supposed to get angry, then their idea of spirituality is "kindergarten spirituality."

I love Jack.

I've even seen the Dalai Lama upset -- and that's good enough for me.

Brooks Hall said...

Thanks, Linda-Sama! That puts me in good company! (And maybe I graduated from kindergarden...)

Eco Yogini said...

i agree- pretending to be all zen and happy is creepy. and a sham.

personally, i'd rather be honest with myself and those around me than pretend to be something that i'm not. :)

sometimes we need that drive to get through certain parts.

Jenn said...

Brooks! I LOVE the new photos and the color. You are the yogic muse. :) Fabulous.

speck of dust said...

I really liked this post. Your blog is great. I wrote in a post a while ago something I read: 'we won't have our divinity if we can't accept our humanity'. Feeling angry is very human. It's maybe just what most of us do with it that is a bit wonky to say the least. It's amazing the unexpected emotions that can be released with yoga. Best to you.

Unknown said...

There are no Yogis and no Zen masters.
The only thing we will ever be, or fail in this life, is to be a decent human being.
And I think you are a wonderful human being, therefore a success :)

Bob Weisenberg said...

I agree with what everyone else has written.

Yoga doesn't require us to be un-human. It does require that we be willing and able to observe ourselves, and that's what you've just done.

Bob Weisenberg

Unknown said...

I have definitely quietly, yet angrily mouth-whispered "fucking fuck-fuck" while unsuccessfully trying to get my feet off the ground in Crow pose. I think I may have gently slammed my hands down on the mat, or at least envisioned doing so.

Thanks for this post - a good reminder that we as humans all get a little irritated and ticked from time to time. I'm grateful to be able to observe it, respect it and watch it pass, rather than get all snarled up in it like I definitely used to.