Volunteer - [Planning]
International Online Conference on:
How Might We Build a
Culture of Empathy and Compassion?
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
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.
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
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
Suzanne Jones is a professional yoga instructor concerned
by the disparity in access to yoga practice as a powerful tool for
empowerment and recovery.
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
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."
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
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."