It takes incredible strength to take on the sorrows and poisons of others. How many times have you witnessed someone who is awe-inspiringly dedicated to bringing out change to society, but does so at the expense of his or her own health or intimate relationships? Have you felt yourself getting worn down by trying to make things better?
The archetype of Nilakantha (who drank up the poison churned up by the devis to save humanity) includes what most of the tales of Shiva tell us: that Shiva was able to drink the poison and become stronger from the experience because he was already strong from deep, long term practices.
When we ourselves wish to serve, we must serve ourselves also, and perhaps first. To have the strength and boundaries to ourselves live richly and fully while serving those who are suffering or wreaking destruction without such service destroying ourselves means we must have a practice that enables us to come from a place of light even when going into darkness. (Doesn’t get much more challenging than that).
To some extent, for modern yogis, this includes a physical practice. For all yogis, it means a steady practice of meditation and a way of life that aligns with nature.