1972 – 1980
Michael Lee’s work as a Lecturer at the Administrative College of PNG in Port Moresby and then as a consultant for South Australian Government in Adelaide Australia lead him to explore an approach to humanistic psychology that looks at key issues about how people change and transform. He also attends courses at the Australian National University led by faculty who have trained at Esalen with Fritz Perls and at Tavistock in the UK and are on the leading edge of experiential educational practice.
Michael comes to the US to study at the Kripalu Center and later becomes a member of faculty there teaching Yoga Teacher Training and other professional training programs. He explored different approaches to one-on-one yoga therapy and through an experience he has during this time uncovers some of the elements of what is to become Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy.
Michael begins working at Desisto School in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and further develops this approach to Yoga Therapy giving classes and individual sessions to students in a special “Wellness Lifestyle” Program he creates and supervises with the support of the school’s owner and his friend, the late Michael DeSisito.
Later that year Michael starts his own private practice in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in a small studio on the third floor of the 7 Arts Building. He also begins seeing clients in New York City several days each month.
The first Phoenix Rising training program over six weekends is held in Trenton, NJ with seven attendees. Later that year the program structure is changed to make a Level 1 and a Level 2 program. Lori Bashour becomes the marketing genius for Phoenix Rising and over the next ten years helps spread the word about the work far and wide. Click here to download “The Birth and Development of PRYT” by Michael Lee.
Level 3 is developed.
The first group graduates from Level 3.
Karen Hasskarl comes to Level 1 and goes on to graduate Level 3 in 1991 and assists many programs over the next year.
Phoenix Rising gets written up for the first time in Yoga Journal and a huge increase in students results with over 100 students enrolling for Level 3 in the following year.
Michael spends up to 200 days a year on the road teaching programs and offering workshops to establish Phoenix Rising as the largest yoga therapy training organization worldwide.
The Phoenix Rising Office moves out of Michael’s basement and into an office in Housatonic, Mass. Karen moves to Massachusetts and becomes Assistant Director of Programs.
Karen co-teaches with Michael in Toronto.
Karen flies solo and teaches Levels 1 & 2 in LaJolla, CA.
Karen becomes Director of Programs.
Michael’s first book, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy-Bridge from Body to Soul, is published by Health Communications.
Phoenix Rising moves to West Stockbridge, MA.
Michael is keynote presenter at the World Yoga Symposium at the Hilton Hotel in Singapore at the same time as the world is shaken by the events of 9/11.
Elissa Cobb takes Level 1 (at Kripalu) and Level 2 (at the new West Stockbridge center)
Elissa graduates from Level 3 in June.
The first PRYT Group Facilitator Program is held and graduates begin offering PRYT Yoga Therapy Groups.
The first PRYT Yoga Teacher Training is offered
Michael’s book Turn Stress into Bliss is published by Fair Winds Press
Elissa joins the Level 1 and Level 2 Faculty (First Solo Level 1 in New York City, substituting for Karen)
PRYT Yoga Teacher Training is Yoga Alliance approved for 200 hours. Programs for Mental Health and Fitness Professionals are offered.
Elissa becomes Program Director for the Group Facilitator Training and the Yoga Teacher trainings.
Karen Hasskarl and Elissa Cobb form the new team of co-directors for Phoenix Rising and open the new Phoenix Rising Training Center in Bristol, VT
Stephanie Trump joins the faculty of the Yoga Teacher Training.
Phoenix Rising introduces a Practitioner Recertification Program, the first in the Yoga Therapy community.
Carol Capper becomes Assistant Program Director for Level 3.
Elissa becomes a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists Educational Standards Committee.
The First Phoenix Rising Yoga therapy Educational Conference is held in Chicago.
Jennifer Munyer moves to Vermont to become Associate Director of Phoenix Rising Yoga Teacher Programs and Office Assistant.
Elissa becomes Program Director for Level 3.
The Phoenix Rising Family experiences the loss of Co-Director, Karen Hasskarl due to brain cancer on April 9th. Memorial services are held at the Phoenix Rising Training center in August.
Jennifer becomes the Director of the Phoenix Rising Yoga Teacher Trainings.
Nick Beem joins the Level 1 Faculty.
Beth Triano becomes the Co-Director of the Group Facilitator Training.
Kate Bentley moves to Vermont to become Office and Student Support Coordinator.