The Center For Non-Violent Communication states that non-violent communication “is based on the principles of nonviolence– the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart.  NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. NVC also assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that each of our actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs.”

As our yoga practice is often about inquiry, we can also use this idea when it comes to communicating.  The next time you are in a difficult situation consider these four questions from Jonathan Foust:

  1. What are we talking about?  What do we both agree actually happened?
  2. What do I feel? (Hint:  It’s usually more than one feeling.)
  3. What was I hoping for or wanting that didn’t happen? (This can be a big shift from blame to     identifying an unmet need)
  4. What is a life-affirming request I can make? (For example, “Would you be willing to find a time when we can talk about this?”  “Would you be willing to tell me what I said so I get that you heard me?”)

These four inquiries, if you attend to them with honesty, sincerity and diligence, can guide you to wisdom and compassion for yourself and the other person.