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Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?

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International Online Conference on:
How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?
Permanently Ongoing

Sub Conference: Yoga and Empathy

Exploring how yoga can be used to deepen ones sense of empathy.


 Julian Walker and Edwin Rutsch: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Yoga

Julian has been teaching yoga since 1994 and practicing Mind-Body Healing since 1997. His approach to yoga combines a 20 year fascination with spirituality, science, psychology, music and poetry. He maintains a busy bodywork practice and teaches ongoing classes, chakra-based workshops and transformational retreats. He also writes and blogs on the intersection of spiritually, science and psychology.

In this discussion, we explored how yoga can foster empathy.  Yoga can foster self-empathy by making us more aware of our inner sensations.   

 Sub Conference: Yoga

Panel 22: Empathy and Yoga: Yoga is a tool kit for Empathy
Nixa De Bellis
Michael Hewett
Elena Brower
Edwin Rutsch

Yoga is a tool kit for Empathy. In its methods we cultivate a feeling sense of ourselves and the world. We both take measure of our own person and revel in the multitude of relationships through an awareness practice of deeper than ordinary looking and listening.

The logic of our differences, our similarities and our sameness is not evident without practice, and so we have the yoga technologies for actively engaging ourselves, our families, our communities and our world.
Sub Conference: Yoga

Suzanne Jones: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Yoga

Suzanne Jones is a professional yoga instructor concerned by the disparity in access to yoga practice as a powerful tool for empowerment and recovery. YogaHOPE was created to facilitate access to yoga and meditation education specifically for women experiencing debilitating life transitions – those establishing independence from domestic violence, self-sufficiency from homelessness, recovery from drug addiction, or rehabilitation after mental illness. Sue recently wrote an article about empathy and yoga titled, Exercise Your Empathy.

She writes, "...when I was in the darkest time of my life and planning my one shot at doing something right (ie. removing myself from the world via swallowing a butt load of pain killers) I happened to stumble into a yoga class. And as I learned how to really breathe and concentrated on how to move my body in class and pay attention to how my body was feeling inside, I activated these brain regions. I exercised my empathy...

Because without empathy, we begin to stop being kind to ourselves. And when that happens, we begin to withdraw from others and the cycle of insidious self-destruction begins. Our brains are social organs and in isolation they begin to suffer."
Sub Conference:
Yoga & Empathy




Other Yoga Empathy Links

  • Julian Walker Mirror Neurons and Yoga
    "In this video Julian Walker talks about an overlap between science and spirituality with Mirror Neurons. They were recently discovered in last 10 or 15 years and show that we have brain cells that simulate the experience of other people as we're observing them. They simulate both activity and emotion... could be the basis of empathy and compassion"

  • Julian Walker - Yoga Massage: Empathy and Grounding in Your Own Body
    "Discussion of the difference between feeling empathy vs "taking on" someone's feelings or experience as if it was your own."

  • Julian Walker - Science and The Sacred: Mirrors Of Compassion
    "It turns out that some theorists (amongst them Stephanie Preston and Frans de Waal) believe the mirror neuron system may be involved in how we feel empathy, which is the capacity to intuit someone else’s feelings and imagine them as our own. It is the case that there are mirror neurons for emotions as well as for movement. Studies by Christian Keysers at the Social Brain Lab in the Netherlands show a correlation between experiencing more emotional empathy and having a high degree of activity in the movement mirror neurons. This suggests that the two systems may be linked."