Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:20

Yoga Crosses Cultures

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ON any given day I interact with people from around the world. I attend meetings with colleagues from France, the Philippines and Bangladesh. I write emails to Japan and make Skype calls to friends in Chile. My neighbors are Greek and my boss is from Egypt. In this diverse but connected world I face the challenges of intercultural communications every day.

A powerful technique in cross-cultural interactions is empathy. Cultivating an empathetic feeling as we interact with friends, colleagues and strangers whose thinking and values differ from our own, helps to widen our perspective on the world. But trying to understand other people’s thoughts and feelings can also have a destabilizing effect on us. Through cross-cultural communication, it’s possible to become vulnerable and get lost in a medley of conflicting values, customs and rules. Empathy needs a force to balance it out.

Through my practice of yoga I have learned two concepts that have helped me make sense of what that balance means for everything in our lives, including intercultural communications. The Sanskrit terms for these concepts are Sthira and Sukha. Sthira translates into steadiness or groundedness, and Sukha translates into permeability or flexibility. Achieving balance between Sthira and Sukha will lead to more happiness, understanding and self-knowledge.

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Read 7333 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 April 2014 05:20
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