Find the Balance Between Empathy and Compassion

The Empathy and Compassion Tango: Navigating Emotional Energy with Yoga 

You know that feeling when you’re so in tune with someone else’s emotions that you could almost feel your living their experience? That’s empathy and it’s a beautiful thing. But let’s be real: empathy, while wonderful, can sometimes leave us feeling like we’ve been through an emotional rollercoaster ourselves. 

Imagine this: you’re chilling with a friend, sipping coffee, and suddenly they start pouring out their heart about some rough patch they’re going through. And you? Well, you’re right there with them, diving headfirst into their emotions, offering hugs, support, and maybe even some advice to help them navigate the storm. After all, what are friends for, right? 

But, as the day goes on, you start to realise that you’ve soaked up so much of their pain and energy that you’re left feeling totally drained. Sound familiar? 

Yeah, it happens to the best of us. 


Understanding Empathy and Compassion: A Journey into Emotional Wellness 

Now, don’t get me wrong empathy is a total superpower. It’s what makes us human, allowing us to connect with and understand each other on a deeper level. But here’s the thing: drowning in other people’s drama? Not exactly a recipe for thriving, my friend. 

So, what’s the secret sauce? How do we rock the empathy game without getting sucked into the emotional whirlwind? 

Well for that we need to talk about the difference between empathy and compassion. 

Now, even before I started down the path of a yogi, I’ve always been what you might call a sensitive soul. I’m talking feeling the vibes in the room, picking up on the energy, all that jazz. But sometimes, that sensitivity led me to offer “solutions” not because they were needed, but because of my own hang-ups—like wanting to be liked, loved or needing things to turn out a certain way. Yeah, I know, not exactly the best look. 

Yoga as the Lifeline: Harnessing Inner Balance amidst External Drama 

Here’s where yoga offers a lifeline. Through dedicated practice, we learn to better tune in to our own energy field, which in turn helps us navigate the choppy waters of other people’s emotions without getting sucked into any resulting undertow. 

It’s worth remembering, any kind of co-dependency that comes from offering medicine rooted in our own agenda means we are not free; we have simply become slaves to our contracted tendencies.  

And yoga tells us these tendencies arise from our past – the places of our unworthiness or shame which we are trying to somehow compensate for by over-efforting. 

Hmm! 🤔 Something to catch yourself in the act of for sure. Which circles us back to a regular Yoga practice. 

As we become more sensitive to our own internal environments and energy through asana, pranayama and meditation, our empathic ability means we may find ourself getting pulled into other people’s dramas and experiences more frequently. 

But here’s the game changer. Yoga also gifts the ability to take stock in the moment, find presence and recognise if any of that incoming empathic energy is not rooted in compassion. Empathy and compassion must come together for us to really help others. 

Compassion Is The Key: Understanding Without Merging

You see empathy is a connection we have (or don’t have), thanks to our buddy, the vagus nerve. This little guy isn’t just responsible for keeping our heart rate and digestion in check—it’s also what’s behind our emotional experiences. Turns out, the more active our vagus nerve, the better we are at tuning into others’ feelings. It’s like our own personal empathy volume dial! But it’s personal, and it can dial up or down. 

Compassion on the other hand is more neutral and universally available. It comes from this deep place of consciousness itself, allowing us to understand what’s going on without getting all tangled up in the drama. Pretty cool, right? 

It can best be described as feeling like meditating or high level listening. It’s present and in its presence, it can discern what is most important to be aware of in the moment. It’s not personal. It’s a form of grace. One we receive effortlessly, not one we own or create or generate. 

Recognising anything that is not compassion is the key to thriving as we increase our sensitivity to energy because its understanding another without merging with another. 

Amazingly compassion can even make us understand why someone did what they did and still have positive regard of what they are doing even if it was an action that was out of integrity or harmful in some way. 

Practical Ways To Find Compassion

Now, I’m not going to devalue the tradition of Yoga by suggesting a quick 5 tip list here that’s going to help you move into the grace that is compassion – but this is the kind of gold that’s on offer if you want to explore Yoga in a committed, dedicated way. 

Things like. 

  • Being able to take stock and discern in the moment. 

  • Discovering your tendencies and what you are most attached to in the moment  

  • Noticing tension arising in your voice, your body and what it’s trying to teach you right now. 

  • Working out the attachments to outcomes that you need to let go of. 

It’s also learning to let go of the need to save people or wanting to look in some way good, or bad.  They are ego issues which make you try to control people and situations. 

Instead, yoga helps us to learn to live in a question or problem. And find good questions that get deeper answers.  

How would your life and those around you change if you could help others get the best answers for themselves in the moment? 🤯 

The Breath: Your Ultimate Guide to Clarity and Presence in the Empathy Game 

And let’s not forget the gold that is our trusty sidekick, the breath! Seriously, it’s like the ultimate truth serum. Take a minute to breathe, and suddenly everything becomes a little clearer. The answers unfold. It’s like magic, I’m telling you. 

So, remember, my friend: grace—the universal force of love and compassion—is always there, just waiting for us to tap into it. With a little practice and a whole lot of presence, we can dive into the ocean of compassion, leaving behind the chaos and finding our true selves in the process. 

Join us in practice, online or in the studio, and start to gain the tools you need for ultimate compassion and grace…