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Turn the energy of this season to your advantage.

The spring run starts here in the Northwest. It’s fast and furious! One moment, everything is silent, frozen, still. The next moment, water is everywhere, pushing through, over, under, around anything in its way. Roaring down seasonal creeks, coursing down snow-rutted roads, flooding lakes, ponds, hiking trails, parking lots. Water will not be stopped!

As humans, we are mostly made up of water, and a similar thing starts to happen in our own bodies. As the days get longer and the temperatures rise, the water in our own bodies starts to run. We’re invigorated, full of energy, bursting at the seams to get out and get stuff done!

The transition between winter and spring is one of the most interesting times. Winter is the season of water, but for many of us, that water comes in a frozen form. Spring is the time of wood, the new shoots and the old trees. The transition is the time when the water unfreezes and feeds the earth so that the solidity of the wood can grow. In our own lives, this transition is about taking all the potential and all the “seeds” and ideas we’ve been planting and meditating on over winter and giving them form—letting them run and become what we envisioned so long ago.

But there is also caution here. Just as the spring creeks can cause massive flooding, our internal desires can run out of control. Part of this is because of the emotional energy behind the flood.  Winter’s emotion was all about fear and having the courage to meet that fear. Spring is all about anger. This is one of the most powerful and potentially destructive emotions out there.  But it serves us better to pay attention to it and not just pretend it isn’t there.

Anger can destroy us, and everything in our paths. Undigested, it literally destroys the physical body and is the precursor to many of our disease patterns. But tuned into, listened to and transformed into something we can work with, anger can become one of our biggest allies and strongest gifts. When we work with our anger and turn it into assertiveness, we have the energy to make big changes and to make things happen!

There is so much in the world for us to get angry about, whether it’s at home, in the workplace, or our communities. So it is a great opportunity to tune into that emotion, work with it and find ways to use the energy of it in service to the greater good.

Redirect angry energy with movement

Many of us start to go out running and buzzing around in spring. If you’ve been cooped up all winter, that is the first thing you want to do as the weather gets nice. So go out and run and jump and breathe and play. Get your energy moving!

Next, do the exercise in the video here. That is a simple and very visceral way to release the toxic energy of anger.

Then add some long-standing poses to your practice. My favorite for spring is Tree Pose. Many people, especially longtime practitioners, think Tree Pose is simple and often skip it. I suggest taking another look at this most quintessential of spring poses.

  • Go outside and take off your shoes, and stand in the cool, muddy, grassy, dirty earth.
  • Come into the pose, facing a tree if you can. Start with your hands wrapped around your body, one arm hugging your rib cage, the other, hugging the elbow of the first arm. This mudra, called Triple Warmer/Spleen Hug, helps calm the fight/flight/freeze response in the body.
  • Now hold this pose for a long time. You can eventually bring your arms overhead and wide open, but keep your lower body still.

Stand here and feel the energy from the earth surging up into your body.  As you get tired and shaky and want to quit, ask yourself, “What am I willing to stand up for?”  Use the anger you’ve been feeling to fuel the pose. The anger will subside, and the assertion of standing strong will take over, fueling your stance with integrity and substance. Continue to breathe, in and out your nose, smooth and steady. Stay here far longer than you ever thought you could. THIS is the way to transmute anger.

We all have a lot of work ahead of us. There is a lot of injustice happening in the world right now. There may be a lot of challenges in your own life right now. Things might be unfair or you may feel unhappy. There is a lot to be angry about! So take that anger and turn it into the compost for your garden. And see how you can thrive when you take energy and transform it into work!

Photo credit (hero): DanielPrudek, ThinkStock

Video: Kathryn Hayes Photography, kathrynhayesmedia.com 

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Lauren Walker
Lauren Walker has been teaching yoga and meditation since 1997. She splits her time between Montana and New England. A writer since childhood, Lauren publishes widely including features in The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post and Salon.com. She has written a periodic yoga column at MNN.com as well as pieces for Yoga Digest, Yoga Journal and many other yoga publications, and she's been featured in Yoga Journal and Mantra +. You can read about the style of yoga she created, EMYoga, in her book - "Energy Medicine Yoga: Amplify the Healing Power of Your Yoga Practice" (Sounds True, 2014). Her second book, "The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription" (Sounds True), is coming out in the spring of 2017. Lauren is a wandering spirit and has lived and worked all over the world. She continues to travel and teach workshops and classes in the US, Canada and abroad.