It is tempting to believe that if you're really spinning out with anger or anxiety, then the smartest action would be to immediately throw yourself down into some quiet, restorative postures. Or, perhaps, if you're lethargic or depressed, to dive right into 108 sun salutes.
My experience has been that this can be a recipe for disaster. Such an approach feels almost violent to the body. Sure, balance calls us to rest and overactive nervous system and to energize a sleepy one. But there's a catch. First you have to meet the energy where it is.
When crafting a yoga sequence for yourself or for others, a good starting point is to find postures and movements that embody your energetic state. Big energy requires some big movements, low energy requires some approachable, gentle poses. It's as if your inner yoga teacher looked you in the eye and said, "I see you, I accept you exactly as you are, and I am going to meet you there."
Once the practice has "met" the mood of the body, then you seek ways to move it back toward a more balanced state. Once you've met an over-caffeinated body with some sun salutes and standing poses, then you can begin moving toward gentle twists or seated postures. You can begin to linger in poses, slowly ramping the energy downward toward a more balanced state.
It's like walking a eager beagle. When you head out the door, your first job is simply to keep pace with the dog, to meet it's energy. And then after giving the dog a chance to walk you, slowly you reverse roles and you begin to slow things down. And then finally you are walking the dog.
This approach works well with children, too (and not just in yoga class!). Give their bounciness something to do first, and once that bouncy energy has been channeled in a constructive way, then consider guiding them toward a more open and balanced energetic mood.
This isn't always easy, and getting it just right takes a little practice. But when it works, the practice feels like magic.
I suppose it's a little like all of life. First and foremost, we want empathy, we want to acknowledge and accept what is. And only after that happens are we in a place where we may be ready to seek solutions. Only when we feel seen and accepted do we gain the strength and ability to shift toward a more balanced and beautiful way of being in the world.