Under the guidance of yoga therapists and Ananda’s integrated healing approach, read the fascinating story of a 46-year old man’s successful attempt on reversing anger by learning to be more ‘present’, with Ananda’s Dhyana Meditation program.
“For a mental health issue, when someone picks the path of awareness and silence as a solution, it tells us something very important; that the person is now ready for a deep-dive within”, smiles Sandeep Agarwalla, the head of Yoga at Ananda. “In this case his family life was in tatters, he experienced an unsupportive environment at work and had no friends to confide in, this lack, of a sense-of-belonging led to a complete breakdown. He was oscillating between disappointment and frustration; When anger takes form of a mental health issue, it is often a collective response to a great disappointment, which feels like a dead end, but, this situation is also a great opportunity. At this juncture the ‘I’ finally asks ‘where do I go from here? It’s a state of absolute exhaustion, making it easier for one to turn within and seek answers”.
In the words of Swami Satyananda “The world is a better training ground than the cave in gaining control of anger. Whenever there is a little irritability, one should stop all conversation and observe mouna, silence. Daily practice of mouna for one or two hours greatly assists in the control of anger”.
Inspired by the teachings of Bihar School of Yoga, the Dhyana Meditation program explores visual, psychic and verbal guidance of bringing a distracted ego-mind existence to the state of ‘now’ or conscious-awareness. Supported by a yogic diet, Ayurvedic and oriental therapies, cleansing therapies and discourses, the yogis helped the client maintain a continuous stream of conscious awareness. Thereon the therapist handholds the client into the subconscious to uproot old negative patterns. “The yogic system is a vast ocean of tools and techniques, it takes a few days and several observations by experienced yogis to discover the alignment of one’s personality to the chosen practice”.
The Ananda yogis started working on the client by knowing what he ‘likes to do’ as an investment to his personal health and peace. These were mostly a set of active movements like swimming and weight lifting. The client also revealed that it’s hard for him to keep his eyes closed. Thus, the introduction to go within began with walking meditation. “A mindful stroll through the green paths at Ananda, with complete awareness towards the sense of sound, touch, smell and sight happened to be a turning point”, says Anjul Sharma, the lead consultant and yoga therapist on the case.
Sensing a greater receptivity, we touched upon the idea of ‘witnessing’. He was then put on practices such as yoga naps, ujjayi breathing and Trataka (flame gazing). The intent was to bring sudden short spurts of rest without disturbing or threatening his mental perception of equating ‘active-action’ to worthwhile productivity. As his attitude to-witness deepened with breath-work and gentle movements, he was advised to carry forward the same during meal times and massage therapies.
Role of the Body
Our environments shape our form. Emotions we direct within and to the world around us make a big chunk of contribution to ‘our environment’. Our emotions shape our bodies, especially the ones we are bad at expressing or the ones we use way too often! Depression has a shape, so does anger or frustration. How an emotion shapes into a body is unique to each individual. Over time different people mineralize these emotions on the physical sheath differently. It takes very close and concentrated observation to pick these collective signals and do the math! To address the mishaped form most often reverses a negative thought pattern too. Discovering tight thoracic muscles, a frowning brow, tightness around the lips and jaw, wrinkled skin around the nostrils and similar such signs on the client weren’t surprising, given his long history with anger issues.
The client’s practice of high intensity weight lifting in the gym worsened the situation. Now the muscles along with the mind experienced long spells of tension and contraction. An action enforced with feelings of frustration creates impatience, emotional suffocation or a rapid lack of ‘internal space’, both physically and energetically. This vicious cycle gives birth to feelings of constant tiredness, low-energy, sleeplessness and sore muscles. All these symptoms were present in the client, along with nervous spells of loose bowel movements.
We can’t approach a restless mind until the body is at ease, thus Kaya Sthairyam (practicing steadiness in the body), joint freeing exercises, physiotherapy, supported by Tibetan and Ayurvedic massage treatments made the path easy for the yogic cleansing techniques (jal neti or nasal purification). The therapies and cleansing the body through shatkarmas (cleansing actions in yoga) facilitate a better flow of energy through the body, helping one to slip into states of conscious awareness or effortless-effort.
If it is difficult to control the anger, leave the place at once and take a brisk walk. Drink some cold water immediately. This cools down the body and mind. Chant ‘Om’ loudly like a lion for ten minutes and then chant ‘Om shanti’ mentally or verbally for five minutes. Pray and repeat your mantra for ten minutes. Gradually, the anger will subside”.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Bihar School of Yoga
“We followed up with the client each month post stay at Ananda to check the progress. His inspiration to maintain a rhythm stemmed from the positive changes he noticed. The path to a state of equilibrium was found through antar mauna (inner silence) and yog nidra, (psychic sleep). There were involuntary jerks in the body during the practice of yog Nidra. Such incidents in a state of deep relaxation are often a sign of emotional and energetic release” reveals Anjul, who further tells us that the client left Ananda saying he doesn’t remember the last time he felt this relaxed, slept so well and approached his meals with such joyful interest.
“Ananda as a healing space approaches a person as one single cell, where the mental, emotional, physical, energetic and spiritual sheaths are differentiated during counselling and treatments, but not viewed as separate. What is happening within the framework of the body is only a result, not the reason. We are attentive and very vigilant towards that moment during a client’s stay, when the wisdom of Vedanta, yoga or eternal human values as written in the Bhagavad Gita are planted as seeds within the subconscious” concludes Sandeep Agarwalla.
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Vedanta Materclass on The Bhagavad Gita. Led by senior disciples of Swami A. Parthasarathy founder of the Vedanta Academy, each seven-day series conducted at Ananda in February, April and May begins with the chanting of the verses, followed by explanations and their practical application to life. Register here.
Dhyana Meditation Program. Led by the yoga therapists at Ananda, immerse into the vast quiet space within you through guided meditations, cleansing therapies, yogic diets, Ayurveda and Oriental treatments. Download program details.
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