How do you know if you are ready for change in your life?
I know by the sensation in my body. Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy teaches us to tune into what’s happening in the present moment in our bodies and to live life from this place of awareness. Through this process I learned to recognize the signals from my body when something is not quite right about my life. For me it sometimes shows up as a tightening or tension, generally in my belly, chest and/or throat, and often accompanied by a tightening in my jaw with my tongue pressing against the roof of my mouth.
A few years ago when I was immersed in my 25-year corporate career tension was so ubiquitous in my life that I didn’t even notice it. I guess I felt at the time as if it was a “necessary evil,” that life/relationship/physical stress is an inevitable result of our gotta-keep-up-gotta-stay-afloat-gotta-get-ahead-at-all-costs culture. If I thought at all about the possibility of relieving that stress it was in the context of “someday” when I have completed _______, filling in the blank with my milestone du jour. Everyone around me seemed to operate under the same crushing load of stress so who was I to expect anything different?
For my last ten years in corporate as I was learning, growing and discovering myself through yoga, this all began to change. Something inside me began to soften. I began to notice the enormous amount of emotional and physical rigidity that was required for me to prop myself up against this onslaught of stress. As I developed the deeper yoga therapy skills of Phoenix Rising I learned to observe and notice my response to the stress – the physical tension, emotional numbness, mental fatigue, and inability to concentrate – and to begin to connect the dots between being in that state and the stories I told myself about why I needed to be there. I had myself convinced that I had no choice, that if I couldn’t keep up I would be a failure in life and that I would let others down. I find it especially curious that even though there were clear and obvious external signs to the contrary – including relationship failures, adrenal and thyroid failure, weight gain and other health issues – I somehow believed I could and would keep up the fight. Add to this hit on my mental, emotional and physical health the fact that my life was headed nowhere near where I wanted to be. Now, as a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner working with others I notice how common my experience is and I find myself wondering: what happens to those who do not find yoga (or whatever works for them) to wake them up from this nightmare?
I did wake up. And I continue to awaken the tender, vulnerable, loving, curious, creative, giving person inside that I denied all those years I spent complying with the strictly defined, communicated, rewarded and controlled expectations of success that make the large bureaucratic organization tic. Since learning awareness and tapping into my own personal drivers of life not surprisingly my path has turned rather dramatically toward where I really want to be, doing what nourishes and satisfies me, where I thrive rather than simply survive. Practicing Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy rewards me with the fulfillment of serving others in a way that really makes a difference. These differences are immediate, tangible contributions to individuals and to the world. They are the footprints I leave in the sands of universal time.
Given my experience with Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy I can’t help but recommend it to others who notice that their life is not what they want it to be. There are plenty of opportunities to give it a try: schedule a private session or join a group near you by checking our online directory of practitioners, attend a weekend workshop with Michael Lee, the founder of Phoenix Rising, or take it a level deeper by attending one of the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy training classes offered across the country. Change starts with curiosity and an openness to learn. Let yourself be curious about what Phoenix Rising may bring to your life.
Now my body is speaking to me again about change. This time is very different, though. This time what I sense inside is not the need to save my health and sanity that drove me to leave corporate, it is not my survival instinct pushing me to the surface gasping for air. No, this time I feel a positive sense of adventure moving me to relocate from the East Coast to Colorado. It feels like the large white sail of possibility that I’ve been hoisting aloft since starting my practice three years ago has caught a fair wind and turned my bow to face west toward exciting new discoveries. This feels good inside – soft, open, spacious, curious, excited, inspired… and grateful. I have so much to be grateful for, among them the Phoenix Rising process and community that helped me shake myself awake from my nightmare and set myself on my right path.