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Calming Yoga Poses That Help Ease Your Anger

Reclining Goddess

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While sitting on the ground, place a medium-height block behind you beneath where shoulder blades will lie. Place another medium-height block behind that one to use as a pillow. Allow body to gently rest on the blocks, adjusting placement until comfortable. Bend knees, take feet together and knees apart, and allow arms to lie long on either side of you. Stay here for at least 10 deep breaths. Start with blocks on medium height and adjust from there. If you have access, do this with a bolster the long way, rather than two blocks, for even deeper release.

Photo: Heidi Kristoffer

Ganesha Mudra

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Begin in easy seat pose. Bend elbows out to either side at chest height. Take left palm in front of sternum, palm facing away from you, so thumb points downward. Take right hand in front of left, palm facing you, so right thumb reaches up. Bend fingers (like a claw) and hook the right fingers to the left fingers. Take a big inhale and use the exhale to reach elbows away from each another while keeping your fingers locked. Relax on the exhale. Keep this breathing pattern for at least 5 deep breaths.

Photo: Heidi Kristoffer

Warrior III Variation

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Start in a standing forward fold. Walk hands underneath shoulders and place them on the floor or on blocks. Keeping knees soft, shift weight into the left foot and lift right leg behind you. Reach through right heel and internally rotate right thigh down so toes point toward the ground (this action alone balances and centers your body). When you feel steady, lift arms, one at a time, and clasp them behind sacrum. Internally rotate thighs toward one another and pull belly button toward your spine, engaging core. Breathe here for 5 to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Photo: Heidi Kristoffer

Devotional Warrior

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Begin in warrior I with right leg forward. Allow hands to fall behind you, and clasp them behind sacrum. Take a deep inhale to open chest. On your exhale, fold yourself inside of right knee. Allow head to fall toward the ground, allowing gravity to do all the work for you. Square hips and let neck go. Breathe here for at least 3 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Photo: Heidi Kristoffer

Twisting Kriya

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Start standing with feet hip-wdith apart, knees soft. Take hands above head in Venus Mudra: hands clasped with pointer fingers reaching straight up. Take a big inhale, and on the exhale, contract navel to spine and twist torso to the left as far as you can. Inhale back through center, and on the next exhale, twist torso to the right as far as you can, then come back to center on the inhale. Start rapid exhales out the nose, allowing the inhales to be passive (bellows breathing), and twist every time you exhale. Picture yourself as a giant sponge. Every time you twist, wring yourself out of your anger, and visualize it getting forcefully expunged from your body with your exhales. (Psst...Here's how to get over a breakup using yoga.)

Photo: Heidi Kristoffer

Fourth Chakra Kriya

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Begin seated on knees. Take elbows up to shoulder height, bending them and allowing forearms to be straight up and down (like goal posts). On the inhale, take elbows as far behind you as possible, keeping the height and arching back. On the exhale, keeping the elbows at shoulder height, take forearms almost to touch, rounding spine and pulling navel in. Repeat this: inhaling and exhaling through your nose with the movement as fast as you can for one minute.

Photo: Heidi Kristoffer

Camel Pose

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Start in a high kneeling position with hips over and lined up with knees, and weight supported by shins and the tops of feet. Tuck toes, as pictured, for a slightly easier variation of this pose. Place palms on sacrum—fingers facing up or down, whichever feels better, tailbone reaching down—and draw elbows in to one another so that they aren't winging out. Keep thighs rotating inward and pull shoulder blades toward each another and down back. Look to the ceiling as you lift chest upward. Release hands to heels and arch spine. Tip head back to keep the whole spine in extension if that is appropriate for your neck. Breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths.

Photo: Heidi Kristoffer

Alternate Nostril Breathing

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Begin in easy seat pose and close eyes. Allow left hand to lie palm down on left thigh. Extend fingers on right hand like you're waving at someone. Bend peace fingers—pointer and middle finger—so they curl into palm. Rest right ring finger and thumb on either side of nostrils, lightly touching them but not constricting. Take a big breath in and a big breath out, then close off the right nostril with thumb and inhale through the left nostril fully for a count of 4. At the top of that breath, close off the left nostril with your ring finger, hold and retain the breath for a count of 4. Release the right nostril and exhale for a count of 4. Inhale deeply for a count of 4 through the right nostril, close it off, hold and retain the breath for a count of 4. Release the left nostril as you exhale completely through it for a count of 4. Proceed to inhale deeply through the left, repeating the cycle. The count of breath can be as long as you like, keeping the inhales, retention, and exhales even. Do this as many rounds as you like, being sure to exhale through the left nostril to complete your last cycle.

Photo: Heidi Kristoffer

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