Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Witness, Teacher


Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is we are holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us with terrifying clarity, exactly where we are stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are. Pema Chodron


As I read this quote I found myself entertaining the ways in which I collapse and back away and how I lean in. It struck me, this idea of terrifying clarity, and the raw truth of it.

When I sit in my daily meditation practice, the idea of leaning in to the next moment is something to be avoided in favor of staying in the moment. To stay present is often a challenge, as I find my mind off solving bigger problems.

I have viewed my meditation cushion as a refuge where all will be well and right. Is all well and right in each moment? What a call to attention. I felt like an errant child with my hand in the cookie jar, with this realization.

Many a person I have spoken to about yoga or meditation have responded by saying, they can’t sit still, or all they can seem to do in meditation is think about the grocery list or laundry to be done.

What does it take to be present to ourselves? To trust what we hear when we receive that thread of information from the part of us that is rooted in our truest self. Is that part of us our teacher, as well as our highest and best self?

How shocking to find the teacher present at all times, ready to deliver the lesson. Many times had I wished for a teacher, only to have some sage person say to me,” the teacher will arrive when the student is ready”.

The teacher has always been here. The teacher is my fear. The closer I get to what is true for me, the louder it gets.

Could it be possible this is the moment to lean in, to touch the sore spot? The feeling is so counter intuitive, being this close feels dangerous. My ego, the safety consultant, her true motivation is to protect my ego from obliteration, to maintain her position as the conductor of my daily orchestra.

What would happen if I snipped away the chatter of my ego mind and heard and the voice of my highest self?

In training to be a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist, I was told that all of me gets to have a voice, that all of me, my shadows fears and joys get to speak and be heard. As a student, I was not so sure I wanted to sit next to some of those parts, who seemed like pretty shady characters.

As I have grown in my witnessing and compassion for myself and others, it has taken on the quality of meeting old friends, all of whom have something to teach me.

For more information and articles written by Elizabeth Wyatt