Today I am super excited to share a Yoga off the Mat practice that really shifted my life and in this specific case, my mornings: 3 Essential Question.
It’s a very simple technique that allows me to be present with myself in a specific moment: reconnect with my body, my needs and write down actions/strategies to meet my needs.
I learned this exercise from Non-Violent Communication, as a way to talk to myself in a gentle, supportive and compassionate way.
When I fall in my super controlling pattern, micro-scheduling my days, spending too much time in my mind – I disconnect with my body and my needs. It took me a long time to give a name to my needs, and from that space, taking actions to meet them.
When we observe ourselves in the morning, we have an incredible opportunity to be kind, compassionate and supportive with ourselves.
“Supportive” is the key adjective here: how many times did your body tell you that you were tired and needed to rest? Did you give your body rest?
Is it complex for you to give yourself what you need?
There were times where I found this extremely difficult, but Yoga gave me tools to build my own inner resources to create a supportive relationship with myself.
Not destructive but supportive.
Yoga off the Mat
Self- Inquiry – Svadhyaya
Yoga off the Mat can be defined as a form of self-inquiry or self-reflection, or Svadhyaya.
Svadhyaya belongs to the second Limb of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga System: Niyama.
Here’s the a link to learn more:
Niyama – the second limb, has to do with self-discipline and spiritual observances: developing our own personal meditation practices, journaling or making a habit of taking contemplative walks alone are all examples of niyamas in practice.
And this is exactly what we are going to do now, so let’s roll our sleeves and begin this exercice.
3 Essential Question
The name of this Off the Mat Practice is: 3 Essential Question.
Tomorrow, after you wake up, take your time to prepare your sacred space, light up a candle, some incense and ask not to be disturbed.
Imagine you are dating yourself, open your heart and be present what comes up.
Take your journal and let’s being:
- How do I feel this morning?
Take a couple of breaths to connect with yourself, to your body, mind and heart. Stay there in the presence of yourself, without changing or modifying anything.
Now take the time to describe how you are feeling mentally, physically and emotionally. Pay attention to all the nuances that are showing up in front of your eyes.
We are complex beings, and our inner landscape is rich, colorful and alive: what is happening inside yourself right now?
In this way, when we listen deeply to our nuances, we can move away from describing our feelings as “good” or “bad”.
The more we do that, the more we can build a mindful relationship with ourselves.
2. Based on what I feel, what do I need?
In the second part of this exercise, I invite you to ask yourself: “based on what I am feeling right now, what do I need?”
As I said before, the first time that I practiced it, I couldn’t give a name to my needs. It took me a lot of patience and guidance to navigate my needs in a meaningful way. The more you practice this, the more you will be able to identify your needs.
To support yourself, as you are your best friend.
Check the Universal Needs List from NVC: https://www.cnvc.org/training/resource/needs-inventory
3. After that your needs are clear to you, ask yourself: what can I do in order to meet my needs? Are there specific actions or requests?
In my experience, I saw myself stuck here lot of times.
If I was able to identify my feelings and needs, but I experienced difficulties to find strategies to meet them or open my mouth and express a request to somebody else.
This is the link between being aware of our inner landscape and put in place concrete actions to support ourselves.
We all need balance between:
- Being: the act of listening and identifying our needs
- Doing: take actions to meet our needs.
It also starts from us and how we approach this work.
Write down specific actions you can put in actions today to meet your needs. Put your needs as a priority for today: at the top of your to-do list.
To finish this practice, take a couple of breaths with your eyes closed to express gratitude to yourself and your willingness to listen and take action.
Open your eyes and now you can begin your day with awareness.
I promise you, if you put this practice in your morning routine, the relationship with yourself and others will become intimate and mindful.
If you are curious and you want to learn more about NVC here’s the link to their website and two book you can start with:
The Heart of Non Violent Communication: https://www.cnvc.org/training/resource/book-chapter-1
I deeply hope that this practice is supporting you in finding balance and wisdom back into your life, so that we can have a meaningful and skillful relationship with ourselves, others and the events of life.
And if you want to practice with me, watch the video at the bottom of this page!
If you have other questions, feedbacks or you want to share your experience please reach out: