Wellness: Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, by Ella Isakov
As holistic health and yoga moved into the Western mainstream, Yoga Therapy became a valuable healing modality. Yoga Therapy can help patients tune in to discover what their body is communicating, so they may uncover that which is held over from the past, or aid in clarifying current life situations.
Michael Lee, an Australian, created Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy in 1985 after years of looking at humanistic psychology, focusing on how people change and transform. He continued his exploration by moving to the United States and became faculty at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. By using different one-on-one yoga therapy techniques, he came up with The Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy as a modality to help clients discover their inner wisdom and keys to personal transformation.
Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy combines classical Hatha Yoga postures with mind/body psychology that allows for a deeper awareness of the self. In supported postures, there is attention to breath and dialogue to aid in moving in and staying with what is happening in the body. As attention is brought to “the edges”, sensations or deep stretches are felt and explored. This provides an opportunity for change, growth and enhanced well-being.
The dialogue is based on Carl Rogers’ client-centered therapy technique where the dialogue is open-ended and non-directive, essentially meeting the client wherever they are, on that day. The sessions are kept to the present moment, as the client is encouraged to get out of their head and drop in to the body. Through breathing and moment to moment dialogue, the client is able to connect to emotions, sensations and memories that may have kept them in unhealthy habits or patterns. The benefits range from relief from physical pain to healing childhood trauma and psycho-emotional issues and mental well-being. Through the support in the session, clients are able to tune into their body and have the potential to release old experiences, traumas, personal beliefs, and patterns that have been hindering them, allowing them to move towards a new perspective and a more authentic way of being.
A Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy session starts even before the first session, as the practitioner has the initial communication with the client to ensure they understand the modality and an intake form is completed. A session typically lasts around one and a half hours and begins with a centering meditation where the client begins to tune into their breathing, and increase awareness on different levels (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) to set an intention for what they would like to receive from the session. Then the practitioner supports the client with assisted postures where edges are explored, giving the client an opportunity to uncover what the sensations mean and where they stem from. The session ends with integration, which is what sets Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy apart from other yoga therapy techniques. Integration gives closure and empowers the client to find the wisdom within themselves that is arising from the session, affirm themselves and create an action plan to continue their healing journey after the session ends. The Phoenix Rising Yoga therapist meets the client where they are on that day, creating a safe, loving presence, with no judgement. The therapist simply witnesses and holds the space for the client to release what is held, and gain more clarity and power in their life.
Since discovering Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy and becoming a practitioner, my heart has opened from doing the work and I see my life more clearly, knowing that the power is within me to make changes and ultimately transform to my highest potential. To find a Phoenix Rising practitioner near you, visit www.pryt.com.
Ella Isakov is a yogi, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist, and humanitarian.
Ella feels that yoga found her, and is incredibly grateful for the beautiful gifts she continuously discovers on her journey, on and off the mat. Her passion and purpose in life has always been to teach and inspire others along their path. Ella’s goal is to provide a warm, safe and attentive environment, giving special attention to individual needs and educating students so they can grow in their understanding of the nature of the poses within their own body and discover their own inner wisdom.
Ella left her career as a school teacher, but continues to combine her two loves of yoga and children by teaching kids yoga through FUN, empowering, interactive and mindful yoga play. She is also a Phoenix Rising yoga therapist, working with clients using classic yoga postures and mind-body psychology to allow for a deeper connection to self.