Pheonix Rising Yoga
“Longer, slower out breath…be present to yourself” In the past few years I’ve come to hear these words over and over, first as an occasional yoga student at ABT Yoga, and now as a weekly practitioner. These words , the studio’s calming atmosphere and Ken’s compassionate, wise and down to earth manner have encouraged me to open more and more deeply to my life and practice. Through a series of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy sessions with Ken, I found the courage to start my own art business and expand my healing arts practice after having been a stay at home mom for 13 years. The sessions emboldened me to move beyond self imposed limits and beliefs. Regular daily practice whether at the studio or at home, creates a wonderful consistency and balance to my life that enriches my mental and physical well being. The benefits of my yoga practice extend well beyond the mat and into my personal and professional relationships and have especially empowered my relationship with myself. Stay at home mom grows roots and wings….
A Healing Testimonial - J.P. Salem
Surviving sexual abuse and recovering from anorexia, which nearly took my life is only a ‘tid-bit” of my healing journey. It wasn’t till I began Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy (PRYT) that the real work of my healing journey began to manifest.
After years of working with psychotherapists, I was still searching for ways of reconnecting with the deepest part of myself that was lost in early childhood.
For a while – I turned to yoga, massage, and bio-energetics to support my healing journey, and though it inspired some positive lifestyle changes and helped to relieve a lot of tension and stress, I still felt stuck moving forward in a lot of areas in my life; living a sedentary lifestyle while feeling lifeless and terrified of my inner world and self expression.
Frustrated to say the least, my need to connect to that deeper part of myself – “my life force” (or lack of) was what led me to Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. When I began working with Ken I felt I was at the crossroads of transformation yet had no inclination how powerful the work would be. I was beginning to feel that my old ways of being were obsolete. I was recognizing parts that were no longer “who I was” while feeling threatened to explore the unconscious. Within … wondering … “Who am I”? I knew, on a deeper level, that the work I had to do would be to reveal and expose a false self that I held secret even from myself and the shame underneath it all.
My sessions with Ken have been about learning to identify myself as my body, my feelings and the life within. For years my life-force and self expression were suffocated, I stopped living in order to preserve my life and hid my neediness while disconnecting from all of life’s functions: my body, feelings, intimacy, food, etc. …giving to others my heart’s yearning – giving life – all of what I disowned within myself. Little did I know my false self and sedentary lifestyle was a defense against the flow of energy in my body.
I practiced yoga the same way I “did” life – going through the motions blindly – doing without feeling, experiencing, being, or focusing inward, while denying my own needs. I used yoga to escape from my internal world and to avoid the pain and rage of my self-betrayal and emotional abandonment. I deprived myself of my own life-force – terrified of feeling any energy and/or bodily sensations within.
While the truth that Phoenix Rising reveals may at times feel raw and overwhelming, it is this same truth that sets us free from the bondage of ourselves.
Ken has supported me in many ways through the process, helping me to stay with the work when it became difficult for me to contain through his presence, while providing me with an experience of being safely held and soothed – something I never had as a child.
Feeling deeply challenged with feelings and energy around my core while practicing yoga, I needed not only to learn – but practice patience and acceptance, while finding a way to be with myself. While this work has been extremely challenging in many ways, it has provided me with an opportunity of experiencing and embracing a whole new way of being. I need to learn to trust that I will not be annihilated by my feelings, energy, and bodily sensations. It is important for me to remind myself that this ‘energy” doesn’t threaten my life:; rather it’s my aliveness – my life force – the “deepest part of myself” that was lost – that I’ve been searching for all those years. “What I thought was outside was inside of me all along!”
Thanks to Phoenix Rising, I am slowly but surely beginning to regain feelings and sensations in my body – a sense of aliveness which even I never thought possible. I am learning how to let go and allow myself to feel and be supported.
In my yoga practice now with Ken, I am learning to feel my ground, lengthen, engage and feel certain muscles in my body connecting me to my core, my centre, my life-force – while learning how to tolerate being with the reality of my life one breathe at a time. Key for me is moving ever so slowly keeping my focus inward while experiencing and feeling the movement from the inside out. Practicing patience, acceptance and trust as I let go of “controlling my experience” allowing my breath to be my guide. Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy is awakening to the true self.
Phoenix Rising has been one of the most valuable experiences in my life. Ken is amazing in his ability to be present, intuitive and empathic and at the same time his guidance allows me to find my own answers and healing which is empowering. I have used what information I learn in the sessions to support me in my life and in my yoga practice. Thank you. EE, L.I.C.S.W.
Yoga at ABT has truly allowed me to develop my inner and outer strength, to be peaceful yet more effective in the day to day. The Phoenix Rising experience created an opportunity for self- reflection and to give myself permission to stop struggling. Ken has extensive knowledge of the body and how it works which he uses to modify yoga postures and tailor the experience toward individual needs. His desire to bring all that yoga has to offer to each and every person shines through and one leaves every class with lighter footsteps! – Susan, Danvers.
Since I began working with Ken and engaging in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, I’ve discovered a heightened awareness of just how many opportunities I have to get to know my true self on a deeper level–not only on the mat, but in my everyday life. The body holds stories that are longing to be acknowledged. To discover and tend to them in a safe, nurturing environment allowed me to become more honest, which was the beginning of a very beautiful healing process. It is an act of courage, and also a tremendous blessing.” – Jade, a recent college graduate and yoga student of 3 years
“Having great respect for his students and himself, Ken is an exceptional teacher of yoga and facilitator of Phoenix Rising. Yoga has changed my life….feeling stronger mind, body, and spirit. Phoenix Rising has allowed me to reconnect with my intuition, trusting the strength of my knowing; unfolding the beliefs of others, that have accumulated over the years, and finding myself sitting in the middle waiting to express my true self.” – Hip Topsfield Mom with 3 children.
I have been attending classes at ABT Yoga for close to three years.
My experience has been life changing. Ken, the owner and teacher guides you into a safe and fun practice. One that makes you strong and flexible at the same time. I recently have been able to say I am pain free and have been so for the last 6 months. I started out with some physical restrictions. So with time and consistency I am in the best shape of my life. I also took it up a notch and participated in private classes called Phoenix Rising. It proved to be a blessing for me. I realized a lot of my pain was emotional. The emotional pain manifested in physical forms in differing parts of my body, ex. hips, shoulders. As I was guided into positions, the postures and technique allowed my body an outlet for releasing pent up stress. I am a freer, more relaxed form of myself, which is ultimately what I have been truly working towards.
Lastly, Ken is a fabulous teacher as well as a fabulous soul.
I was lucky to have found ABT YOGA!!
Jane Barry, Beverly
My practice has added so much to my life: Physically: I can sleep on my stomach and not wake up with a crooked neck and in pain; I have cut down on the use of NSAIDs for arthritis in my hands and knees; I have gained ½” of my height back, have lost weight; Gained confidence in my footing when I walk; I Stand and sit with my back straight; Postures I thought I would never be able to do, I can do now, and the list keeps growing as I practice. And then . . .
There is a spiritual component that I cannot explain; I am calmer most of the time, and quickly recognize when I’m not; I am more patient and tolerant; That weight of stress that lingered across my upper back and between my shoulder blades for years is mostly gone; I feel more open and accepting of things I cannot change; And I like to think I smile more. – Carol
I came to ABT yoga (and yoga in general) in September 2007, nearly 10 months after making a New Year’s resolution to add yoga to my life, (but who’s counting?) Prior to beginning my yoga practice I had spent 3 years working with a Personal Trainer in an effort to gain strength following a long period of serious back issues. Frankly, I thought I had the strength thing taken care of, so wasn’t really sure what yoga would have to offer, but my trainer had suggested I give it a try, so I walked into the studio for the first time on a weekday in September. I loved Ken’s approach – careful, thoughtful teaching, expertly tailored to each and every class.
Since then, I have made a commitment to practice yoga at least twice a week. My level of strength has increased, and I love feeling aware of and supported by my core. I’m probably one of the least flexible people to ever attempt yoga, so I’m not sure if that has improved at all, but the beauty of it is that I just don’t care. I feel good, so I do it. Perhaps the most important benefit I’ve received from yoga however, was something I became acquainted with during that very first class – the long slow outbreath. A simple concept, and a tool that is available to all – why had I never heard of it before? I currently employ the long slow outbreath during times of stress, when I’m trying to get to sleep, when I just need to relax. I can’t believe the depth of relaxation that it provides – and I am so grateful to have it in my life. Yoga – I’m hooked! – MB
Private Yoga Instruction
We now celebrate unbirthdays instead of birthdays. – The Fearsome Foursome, Susan Donovan, Julie Southard, Barbara Stobbs, and Charlie Stobbs.