Judith Hanson Lasater has made vast and essential contributions to yoga in North America. She has been teaching since 1971, is one of the founders of Yoga Journal, and writes extensively on the therapeutic and restorative applications of the practice.
Her asana-related work is highly regarded and esteemed. However, one of her most significant offerings to modern yoga is often overlooked. What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication (Rodmell Press, 2009) is a slim volume she co-authored with Ike K. Lasater. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a process of communication designed to improve compassionate connection to others. Developed by Marshall Rosenburg in the 1960s, NVC is based on self-empathy, empathy and honest self-expression.
What We Say Matters bridges the gap between some of the principles we learn in yoga – particularly satya (truth) and ahimsa (nonviolence) – and the real world application of these principles. I had the opportunity to ask Lasater about the key themes in the book, including how speech can be a spiritual practice, what happens when people’s needs are in conflict, and what to do when “the truth hurts.”