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Balance Builders

Being empathic requires inner strength. To develop yours, try these techniques recommended by Fairfax, California, yoga teacher and author Nischala Joy Devi.

By Jennifer Nelson


Breathe: Alternate-nostril breathing can help calm you down. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril for four seconds. Immediately close the left nostril with your right ring finger. At the same time remove your thumb from the right nostril and exhale for eight seconds. Switch to the left nostril, and begin again. This, Devi says, cleanses and rejuvenates vital channels of energy.

Affirm: As you inhale, think: The strength I feel inside me is enough to sustain me during any experience I have today. As you exhale: The compassion from my heart will lead me to help anyone in need. With such thoughts, Devi says,what we're doing is strengthening and bringing prana into our system, which helps us become strong and compassionate with others.

Relax: Lie down in Savasana (Corpse Pose) and mentally go over the parts of your body one by one for 15 to 20 minutes.

Restore: Try a succession of backward and forward bending poses, which will bring energy into and out of your heart, or go upside down in a modified Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand) for a similar effect.

Energize: Practice several rounds of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) to bring yourself into balance.

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Reader Comments

Kim Thomas

I have been feeling quiet defeated today, but just doing a few rounds of sunsalutations brought me back on track, thank you xx


While I learn yoga through group exercise in the gym, I gather deeper philosophy of yoga from YG! Merry Chrustmas to all!

John Levi

Your articles are first rate. I am truly amazed by your capacity to consistently provide grounded and informed information. Yet, I am convinced the the subject of building inner strength requires more detain than is presented herein.

Inner strength is the very core necessary to align all aspect of discipline generally, and, in this case, yoga specifically. Surely, a more comprehensive and detailed approach, and understanding of inner strength is necessary to seriously address, and profit from this subject.

Building inner strength necessitates many aspects of yogic discipline and practice; including the notably missing practices of meditation, and visualization. No doubt, methods to create and increase inner strength must be tailored individually. Still, I would suggest, a more comprehensive and detailed treatment of this subject is called for in order to realistically entertain the elements required to understand and potentially achieve greater inner strength.

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