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Control Your Emotions With Yoga

Many people assume that their temperament is something that they are born with, something that is as unalterable as the color of their eyes. Everyone knows people who have quick tempers, who fly off the handle at the smallest disturbances. We also know people who aren't bothered by major problems or large upheavals. Sometimes we attribute this to genes, some people claim that these individuals picked up their calm mannerisms during childhood from their parents. Most agree that it is almost impossible to change these tendencies in people. Most people mellow with age and appear to handle stress and tension better. Stability seems to be one of the benefits of the aging process. Many emotionally unstable people also mellow with age. But is age the only solution to dealing with uncontrolled emotions?

Yoga disciplines in its many forms offer many means to bring the emotions under control. Meditation, yoga breathing exercises (pranayama), yoga postures (asanas), the yogic vegetarian diet (which is different from a normal vegetarian diet), and karma yoga (serving humanity) are all very effective in steadying the mind and bringing the emotions under control and thus creating a more harmonious and peaceful life.

Meditation is a powerful tool for changing mind, for making it stronger and calmer. With meditation we use the mind as a tool to change itself just as one might use a thorn to remove another thorn. Through the regular practice of meditation one creates new, positive and uplifting mental habits. As the mind becomes quieter, it also becomes more focused, more powerful, able to accomplish whatever task is placed before it more easily and quickly and more effectively.
Yogis have known for thousands of years about the intimate connection between the breath and one's mental state. The breath and the mind (especially the emotions) go together like the gas pedal in your car and the engine. If the engine is running fast, it means the gas pedal is depressed. If you're not stepping on the gas pedal, the engine is idling. The state of one always reflects the state of the other. The same is true for the relationship between the breath and the mind.

Let's look at some examples. You are having a strong emotional argument with someone. Voices are getting louder, tempers flaring. Both parties are loosing control. Stop! What is happening to the breath?.... In this highly emotional state the breathing has become irregular, shallow and rapid. The breath matches the mental state.
Conversely, on the positive side, let's consider how a good mental state is reflected in the breath. Imagine that you just woke up from a Sunday afternoon nap. You feel fantastic. Rested. Refreshed. Not a care in the world. What is happening to your breath ? It's slow, deep, and rhythmic. Your breathing matches your mental state.


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