The summer is floating by and I harness all the love it has to offer. This summer has been a transformative one. I kick started the process with a week of Yoga Psychology back in May (read Yoga and the Brain Day 1-4 to get caught up) . The time I shared in Venice Beach learning, exploring and experiencing is time I will never forget.
Day 4 of training was about connecting to the Vijnamaya Kosha, our wisdom body. This Kosha is associated with the third eye chakra and activation of the the prefrontal cortex. Think of it as our inner teacher, the integration and understanding of information, the ah-ha moment. We started our morning practicing meditation, prayer, chanting and asana. We were preparing our body for what was to come.
You know it's going to be something good when you get back from lunch and the projector for power point is put away. In my mind I was like "yes" experiential activity. Our teacher #ashleyturner1 talked often of one of her teachers Mona Miller who passed away in a car accident in 2011. Mona used a technique called Angerwork and Self-processing. Mona's philosophy in Angerwork was,
"Find the Struggle"
"Learn the Lesson"
"Know the Purpose
Anger is a tricky emotion to express. It's natural to feel but generally deemed inappropriate to express. Anger doesn't exist alone, it's like the icing on the cake of sadness, guilt, shame, hurt, or frustration (I read that recently but I don't remember where). When we do Angerwork we go through an emotional rinsing leaving space for expansion. Because of the intense nature of anger, it's recommended to express anger in and with an emotionally and physically secure container like a therapy session.
Ashley facilitated a group Angerwork session for anyone who wanted to participate using Mona's "bopper". Confused? So was I. Please see the photo below. I didn't spend all this money for the class to just sit around and not participate so I raised my hand in trepidation. Somehow my inner teacher knew I had a lesson to learn. In the grips of all 10 finger I raised the bopper over my head and paused. I realized I had no idea what my struggle was. I thought to myself, I'm not an angry person. When I took that first swing onto a stack of meditation cushions, I could feel my body allow access to an emotion I had forgotten.
What I know about the brain is dopamine will reward whatever connections fire, and I was igniting the anger connections. Swing after swing I grew power, rage, aggression, and a guttural banshee scream that even surprised me. I was engulfed in the emotion, no awareness, a mental submission. It felt so primal, powerful and vulnerable all in one moment. There was no time limit in my rinsing process, when you were done you were done.
It wasn't until I found awareness in my breath, my body and mind that I realized I was done. I could feel the adrenaline zing and my body fold over in exhaustion. I paused over a stack of pillows in the center of the group and just allowed myself to recover.
Had I been eating cake without icing all these years? What was my inner teacher trying to show me and where did that all come from? I guess I found the struggle, but what did it all mean?
I went home exhausted that afternoon but the day had just begun. There was a second part of our work to be done and that where my questions found answers.
.......................................To be continued?