Movement for Rage Management
By guest writer Aisha Delilah
If you’re a human, you’ve probably experienced rage. Maybe over something big like a family argument, maybe over something small like stubbing your toe. Maybe you’ve felt rage before and not even known why. (I know I have.) Rage can bubble up and surprise us sometimes, am I right?
And if you’re anything like me, you might not like it very much. You might even feel rageful about your rage, like “what the hell, I believe in peace, I’m not supposed to get so f*$&%ing angry!!!”
My societal conditioning has taught me that rage is unfeminine and ugly. Some of the spiritual communities I’ve spent time in sent the message that rage is “unspiritual.” In the nonviolent communication trainings I’ve taken, I’ve learned that rage is “unproductive.” One way or another, for much of my life I felt that rage was something to be ashamed of. (Sound familiar to anyone?) So to me, for a time, “anger management” meant suppressing any feelings of rage to convince myself that I didn’t experience them. Hahahahahahahaha. Sure, Aisha, nice try.
Take two: unsatisfied with the total suppression method, I spent a long time focusing on cooling down my communication in moments of rage. I learned language that helped me be clear and considerate while also being honest about my anger. “I” statements, removing blame, etc. Yaaaay! If any of you have experience with nonviolent communication practice or dialectical behavioral therapy, etc., you know what I’m talkin’ bout. Good stuff! Highly recommended!
But, like lots of us, I’ve been through some nasty shit. I carry some family trauma. People have attacked my body on purpose before. Even if these aren’t true for you, many of us carry little land mines within our bodies that come from past events and trigger rage. And in those moments, all the peaceful words in the world may not cool you down. In fact, in those moments, sometimes the very idea of peaceful words increases your feelings of rage. Who’s with me?!
What we need to recognize is that just like joy, peace, and love, rage is a divine part of our being. Like all of our triggers, feelings, and intuitive realizations, rage is part of the map to our highest selves. It’s powerful af. Ignoring your rage, suppressing it or shaming it, keeps you from harnessing a big part of your personal power. But so does letting your rage take the wheel completely...So what we’re looking for is some kind of balance, right? Solid acceptance and processing of rage. “Rage management.”
“Rage management” means accepting your rage every day, even when you’re not experiencing it. It means getting down with the fact that rage boils through you sometimes...even if it’s just when you stub your toe. And I believe rage management is far more effective and sustainable when it’s not just through words, but through an embodied practice.
Because your rage might not make any logical sense. Especially if it’s linked to trauma, it may be a knee-jerk reaction to a certain stimulus that you don’t even recognize or understand. So how are you supposed to talk about it? Sometimes talking can really help, even when it’s hard. Writing, too, and other language-based exercises. But man, sometimes you just gotta move.
Movement can exorcise demons that you can’t easily name. Movement can take you from yelling to laughing simply because of its power to manipulate our hormones. Having a consistent movement practice is a highly effective way to balance your temper, soothe your nerves, and regain empowerment instead of drowning in a controlling sea of emotion.
When I discovered Buti Yoga at The Cure, I discovered the perfect embodied rage management practice. Doing Buti every day does everything I just described: it scoops me out of the emotional sea and offers me the chance to surf.
Buti is a unique yoga practice in its ability to do this because it allows us space to be edgy. In Buti practice, you get in touch with Earth and Fire: masculine-type elements that empower men and women alike. You don’t have to sit cross-legged and think for 20 minutes about how “wrong” it is to feel so angry.
If you find yourself really pissed and head to a Buti class instead of blowing up someone’s phone or breaking a glass bottle in your yard (yes, I’ve been down both those roads), I’m confident that after class you’ll make a clearer, more empowering choice about how to handle your anger in whatever the situation is, or maybe you won’t even feel mad anymore. And Buti specifically doesn’t require that you shame yourself in order to experience this badass healing.
It doesn’t even require that you think.
All Buti asks is that you make a choice to engage with your body, that you give it your all, and that you accept yourself every step of the way. Even the “unfeminine”, “ugly”, “unspiritual,” “unproductive” parts of yourself.
Because if you can’t accept all that, if you can’t accept your rage, how are you to take responsibility for it?
Women, so much power lives in owning your rage. And don’t worry - validating rage isn’t the same thing as giving it control; but suppressing it could be. If you’re looking for a rage management practice to help you get down with this natural, powerful part of yourself, I highly recommend movement; and I think Buti is the perfect place to start.