Self Care: Nurturing Yourself with Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy’s Six Phases

Since Michael and I founded Phoenix Rising 38 years ago, you might wonder whether we still rely on Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy’s Six Phases for our own self-care. While it’s not a daily practice, we do turn to this practice whenever we want to return to center. Stepping out of our heads and tuning into our bodies is just as beneficial for us.

A few years ago, my therapist recommended a book to me called When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, by Manuel J. Smith. It not only taught me the importance of setting boundaries but also provided techniques for asserting them. Despite improving at boundary-setting, I confess, I still find myself needing to revisit the book every couple of years to reinforce the ideas.

Saying no is particularly challenging for me when responsibilities pile up—whether it’s caring for children, aging parents, assisting a client in crisis, or completing a demanding project. Depending on the circumstances, saying yes may seem necessary, even if it means temporarily putting my own needs on hold.

During these ‘yes’ times, I’ve noticed a tendency to neglect my well-being. At times, I’ve let the pendulum swing too far, leading to negative mental and physical symptoms. It’s during these moments that I remind myself of the importance of strategizing better ways to care for myself, especially amidst challenging circumstances that I cannot change.

As healthcare providers, we understand the significance of cultivating resilience through healthy habits like diet, exercise, sleep, and enjoyable activities. Personally, I prioritize a daily routine that includes walking, yoga postures for balance, strength-building exercises, and maintaining a nutritious diet. However, there are moments when I falter, and I need to engage in intentional effort to recommit to my healthy habits. The challenge lies in breaking the inertia that I get once I’m out of the habits.

Sheer willpower can be effective, but, I find it more beneficial to ease back into my routine without mentally coercing myself. This is where engaging in the six phases of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy becomes invaluable. The process, indeed, works wonders, as it allows my body to take the lead while my mind follows suit—a bottom-up approach that fosters ease and flow.

In Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, we use these six phases to guide clients in reconnecting with their bodies and accessing inner wisdom.  We can also utilize these phases for our own self-care, enhancing our resilience and effectiveness in navigating life’s challenges. I encourage you to give it a try and share your experience in the comments below.

Michael explains the six phases in this video. See the link at the end of this article to free classes on SoundCloud.

Self-directed Six Phase Flow of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy

Phase 1: Breath and Movement (2-3 minutes)

Begin with gentle movements synchronized with your breath, focusing on its rhythm and the sensations in your body.

Phase 2: Playing the Edge (3-5 minutes)

Engage in yoga postures or stretches that challenge you slightly, exploring your limits with curiosity and compassion.

Phase 3: Dropping-In (2-3 minutes)

Find a comfortable position and bring your attention inward, allowing your thoughts to slow down and embracing a state of presence and openness.

Phase 4: Meditation (4-5 minutes)

Transition into a seated or lying position, focusing on your breath and noticing any insights or sensations that arise.

Phase 5: Listening for Insight

Deeply listen to your inner wisdom without judgment, observing any thoughts or emotions that surface.

Phase 6: Integrating Insight into Action

Reflect on the insights gained and consider how you can apply them to your life, committing to self-care practices that support your overall well-being.

By following these six phases, you can cultivate a deeper connection with yourself and enhance your resilience as a healthcare practitioner. Embrace this self-care journey with compassion, knowing that by caring for yourself, you ultimately enhance your ability to care for others.

Take the time to engage in this practice and share your discoveries in the comments below. What intentions will guide you moving forward?

Find free Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy classes and guided meditations on SoundCloud.