Tips to Practice Conscious Communication

Amrita Kaur of Serpentine Yoga shares how we can implement conscious communication practices in our daily lives, from the teachings of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.

1. Practice Deep Listening

Typically, when we communicate with others, we fail to truly listen to them and stay in the moment. Therefore, practicing sunni-ai (translated as ‘listening’ or ‘hearing’) is central to becoming a conscious communicator. While this technique takes practice, it is worth the effort.

As the other person speaks, become aware of not only the words that they say but also the nonverbal messages and atmosphere they emit. Try to remain in the moment at all times. Should you find that your attention is waning, bring it back to the here and now. Beware of ‘waiting your turn’ to speak. Instead, try to take the time to really listen.

2. Think Before You Speak 

While communication is a natural part of daily life, sometimes it pays to be quiet for a moment. Before we open our mouth to share our thoughts openly and honestly, we can consider why we are speaking and the impact that it may have on those around us.

It can help to try to create a habit out of thinking before we speak. Taking a moment to decide whether our words are true, honest, and real can make all the difference to our communication style. While at first, this may feel difficult, we should soon find that it comes instinctively.

3. Rid Yourself of Negativity 

“You have three minds: positive, negative and neutral. If the Negative Mind gives you what is negative and the Positive Mind gives you what is positive, the Neutral mind will give you what you should do.”

– Siri Singh Sahib,Yogi Bhajan 

Anger, sorrow, anxiety, and stress — these negative emotions may have great power over us and the way in which we communicate. When we’re feeling weak and broken down, we may rush to speak our minds in a bid to rid ourselves of these emotions. However, when we say negative things, they have the power to compound our feelings and make them stronger. In essence, we may ultimately feel worse for our words. Developing the neutral mind through meditation can help to give us the positive of the negative. In this way, we can reach to the subtle spiritual dimensions of our lives and relationships.

4. Learn to Empathize 

Empathy is a great quality, and one which we should cultivate as much as possible. When we’re practicing conscious communication, we attempt to understand and feel the intentions of the other person. Rather than speaking to them from a place of judgement, jealousy, or ridicule, take the time to acknowledge their emotions and thoughts.

It’s important to speak on the other person’s frequency and come to their level, whatever that may be. Take cues to understand others’ experiences and desires. We may not have considered these elements in previous communication. If we start using this method in all of our conversations, we will see the difference it makes to those we are communicating with.

5. Honor Your Word 

Standing by the words that we utter is the mark of a truly great and conscientious person. When we talk about how to practice conscious communication, this central guideline will help us along the way. When we say something aloud, we should strive to live in that truth. Be entirely aware of meaning and intent. It is our purpose to honor that word and be true to it that matters.

6. Continue to Practice Each Day! 

Conscious communication is a technique which we should practice each day. Doubtless, there will be times when it’s hard to adhere to the basic guidelines of this method. From time to time, we all slip up and make mistakes. Remember: we should not berate ourselves. Instead, as we move forward, we should try to become a more conscious communicator. Much like any muscle, the more we use this technique, the stronger it will become.


Resource: Amrita Kaur, “An Introduction to Conscious Communication in Kundalini Yoga” (Serpentine Yoga).