Expressing Gratitude Through Non-Violent Communication

November’s Kunga Service Theme: Expressing Gratitude through the Non-Violent Communication Model

The intention of this month’s Kunga theme is to learn to express gratitude using the model for appreciation within the methods of “Nonviolent Communication”. Nonviolent Communication was developed by psychologist Dr. Marshall Rosenberg.  The NVC model is a concrete set of tools that help us to manifest mindfulness in our lives. Practicing Nonviolent Communication relates to our Kunga theme of yoga as service because the goal of Nonviolent Communication is to increase understanding, cooperation, and respect in relationships.

Excerpts from Marshall Rosenberg and Jeff Brown

Of Center  for Non-Violent Communication

Before beginning the practice, it is helpful to understand the NVC model’s definition of feelings and needs.

Needs and/or values are considered things that we all universally want, for example:

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–  connection/acceptance

–  peace/ease

–  play/fun

–  physical well – being – food, safety

–  meaning – growth/integrity

–  autonomy – choice

Feelings are categorized as fulfilled feelings or unfulfilled feelings. Examples of fulfilled feelings include feeling:

–  Inspired

–  engaged

–  refreshed

–  joyful

–  exhilarated

–  peaceful

–  hopeful

Examples of unfulfilled feelings include feeling:

  • afraid
  • angry
  • confused
  • embarrassed
  • tired
  • tense
  • disconnected

Now, let’s incorporate these feelings and needs into our Gratitude Practice from NVC:

The purpose of sharing appreciation in Nonviolent Communication is simply to celebrate when the actions of others have enriched our lives. We refrain from expressing appreciation to “reinforce” the actions of another.

Sharing an NVC appreciation has 3 components:

  1. Observations – Sharing what actions another person took that made your life more wonderful.
  2. Feelings – How you feel IN THIS MOMENT (not when it happened).
  3. Need – The needs of yours that were met by the action.

Practice Exercise:

  1. Recall something that another person did about which you feel grateful.  Imagine you are speaking to them right now, and begin by making an OBSERVATION. Ex: “John, When I recall you doing/saying ________”
  2. Then reflect or write down your feelings in this moment Ex: “I feel very ________ (your present feeling about what they did or said)
  3. Last, identify the needs of yours that were met by this person’s action. “Because it met my needs for ____________________”

Ex: John, when I think about how you repaired my broken front door while I was at work, I feel very grateful and happy because you met my need for safety and support.

For teachers:

Three options for guiding your students at the end of your class through this exercise are listed below:

  1. Ask your students to come into silent meditation, as you guide them through reflection of the above questions and actions, allowing 1 – 2 minutes of silence between each question.
  2. Journaling – Guide your students through the above fill in the blank questions and actions, allowing 1 – 2 minutes of silent writing time between each question.
  3. Role Play Co – listening. Ask your students to try sharing what they wrote with one another if they choose, role-playing their gratitude. Guide the following actions  for the first participant to speak about, as the listener sits quietly without responding, and then switch.
  4. Encourage students to try this exercise if they celebrate Thanksgiving with their family.
  5. Pass out handouts from the CNVC website on gratitude as take-aways.

Learn more about Kunga Yoga, and see when Kunga classes or retreats are offered at Village Yoga!

Center for Nonviolent Communication website:


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