Self-Acceptance and Accessing Our “Wherever” Truth with Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy

Trust yourself. This seems to be a message that I have been receiving in various ways over the past month. Sometimes it is within the context of things working out as I have desired or hoped, such as finding a parking spot in a packed lot after trusting my hunch to go right. Other times the reminder has been associated with loss or pain in not receiving what I want. I recently put an offer in on a short-sale-I-can’t-believe-I-found-it-house and rather than following my gut, I defaulted to the realtor’s suggestion, telling myself that he was the professional. It was painful when my offer was not accepted, squelching the fantasies of home I was already living into, but especially so knowing that I had not trusted myself by not offering the amount that I had instinctively wanted to. While I experienced both of these events very differently, satisfaction in one and stinging disappointment with the other, both affirmed the same thing – trust yourself.

Self-trust is fundamental in a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy (PRYT) session. It is difficult to give or receive a session without tapping into self-trust or, in my experience, increasing my capacity for self-trust , both on the mat and in the rest of my life.  At the heart of PRYT is the belief that we each already know what we need and that this knowing comes from our inner wisdom. A session is the opportunity to drop into the body and allow the body to guide us into accessing our inner wisdom. Accessing our inner knowing is like conditioning a muscle, the more you do it the stronger it becomes and easier it is to access.


As I have worked with trusting myself, I have realized that there is a prerequisite to self-trust and that is self-acceptance. Not the story of where I think I should be or need to be or want to be, but where I am and what I am feeling right now. It is this self-acceptance and, in turn, clearly seeing myself that enables me to enter into trusting myself. From this place of accepting myself in the moment exactly as I am and am not, my capacity to discern and drop into my own knowing increases.


Lately I’ve found myself working with what sometimes feels like the rough edges of self-acceptance, particularly with the distinction between acknowledgement and acceptance of a particular feeling or experience.  I notice that my ability to acknowledge often feels more obtainable than my acceptance, yet my acknowledgement usually has an accompanying byline or story, “I would not be feeling {insert whatever difficult emotion is present} if such and such was better/gone/or in some way different from what it is.”  In short, often I find that noticing and judgment collapse into an indistinguishable pair. Often, for me, to notice is to judge, which is typically followed with the desire of wanting things to be different. Ironically, when I realize that I’m caught in my story or the judgment of my story, I often find myself judging myself for my judgment and thus adding another layer to wade through towards the elusory acceptance of self and making it that much more difficult for me to trust myself.

During a recent yoga training one of the teachers shared a quote from Swami Durgananda: “Wherever you are is the entry point.” I felt instant resonance and appreciation for how this captures the essence of what is offered in PRYT. I love the freedom and unconditional terms of “wherever” and how it is not hinged on some flowery or blissful qualifier. “Wherever” acknowledges and dignifies the value of the full-spectrum of our lived experience—the cracks where no light shines through, the hollow abyss that echoes with loneliness, the holes left by loss. These places need acceptance just as they are, acceptance that is not conditional on the light finding its way in, the warmth of company, or vacated spaces being filled with new people and experiences. If we can summon the courage to accept ourselves wherever we are, as well as the self-trust to go to the darkest corners and deepest cracks within us, we realize that these places are entry points into ourselves that have much wisdom to teach us and like all things will change.

PRYT supports accepting ourselves in the “wherever” places and tuning into the self-trust and inner wisdom that is found there. The reflective questioning offered during a PRYT session, such as asking, “what’s happening now,” is offered as a touchstone to support present moment inquiry and acknowledges the impermanence of wherever one may find her/himself in that moment. The acknowledgement of this impermanence along with the unconditional acceptance and positive regard a practitioner offers to a client provides opportunities to accept and access the “wherever” entry points, strengthening one’s ability to trust themselves while supporting the discovery of personal truth and inner wisdom in the process. No prerequisites are required. “Wherever” is the perfect place to begin.

More information about or to contact Lori VanBuggenum can be found at