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Being empathic requires inner strength. To develop yours, try these techniques recommended by Fairfax, California, yoga teacher and author Nischala Joy Devi.
1. Breathe through alternate nostrils
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.
2. Be compassionate (and affirming) with yourself
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.
3. Relax and evaluate tension spots in your body
Lie down in Savasana (Corpse Pose) and mentally go over the parts of your body one by one for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Restore your energy with backbends and forward bends
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.
5. Do a series of sun salutations
Practice several rounds of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) to bring yourself into balance.