Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yoga for Empaths: Creating Effective Boundaries

At the recent Yoga Journal LIVE New York 2014 event, I had the honor to take a session entitled "Yoga For Empaths" with instructor Bo Forbes.   I originally came to Yoga because of stress, sometimes not just my stress... I was also empathic to the stress of those around me... which makes me an "empath".

Empaths--extremely empathic people--make wonderful teachers, healers, and therapists. Being an empath, however, can be hazardous to our health: empaths absorb others' emotions, get sick more easily, and are more vulnerable to emotional contagion than people who are not empaths.

Related Article: Yoga For Grief

I enjoyed the session very much, it was such a reminder to the subtle conscious energy needed to solidify boundaries, regulate our nervous system, and promote physical, mental, and emotional health. Bo shares more insights through her article I Feel Your Pain: An Empath’s Guide to Staying Balanced.

Are you an empath? Here are five signs that you might be—and that your wonderful qualities, when left unchecked, can compromise your health.

1. You struggle with boundaries. It’s tough to know where you leave off and others begin, which experiences are yours and which come from others, when to open your channels for connection or to close them.
2. You’re often not in your body. For empaths, all that “feeling into” the experiences of others means that you dissociate: you leave your body or “shuttle” out of direct experience as a matter of course.
3. You’re vulnerable to emotional contagion. You absorb the emotions of others, from your boss and colleagues at work to your family and friends, and even the check-out guy at Whole Foods.
4. You’re prone to nervous system overdrive. It doesn’t take much—sometimes just a draining conversation or a party that’s loud and over-populated—to propel your nervous system into alarm mode.
5. You have trouble with intimacy. Your relationships are filled with intense bonding and equally intense separations. You can merge with others at the drop of a hat, but get so entangled that an “emotional exorcism” of someone you care about is often the only way to get your space.

 If the answer is yes, it’s highly likely that you’re an empath. (READ MORE)

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