An interview with Sharyn Hahn
Sharyn Hahn is a Yoga Therapist and Holistic Wellness Consultant who works with individual clients, couples, and small groups. In addition to receiving her 800-hour IYT certification through the Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy, she holds two additional yoga certifications and is a Personal Trainer with the American Council on Exercise. Sharyn has been teaching yoga and related healing practices to all ages and levels since 2015.
What is Yoga Therapy?
Together with the client, a yoga therapist creates an individualized program that differs from a traditional Hatha yoga class in that it focuses on balancing a variety of mental and physical conditions, such as emotional trauma, new and chronic illness, and injuries. Complementary to allopathic medicine, yoga therapy is an approach to wellness that incorporates practices that support the mind-body connection, with an emphasis on a person’s entire being. Ancient practices in conjunction with evidence-based protocols are offered to support the physical, energetic, emotional, and spiritual aspects that make up who we are. This modality is gaining support in the medical world as scientific research continues to show its effectiveness in complementing and supporting established methods.
What should a client expect during a Yoga Therapy session with you?
After the client completes an intake form prior to the first session, we’ll have a short phone conversation to discuss wellness objectives and to answer any questions that may have come up. Sessions will include pranayama, asana, meditation, relaxation, and visualizations to promote agreed upon lifestyle changes. We always begin with a centering and grounding practice, followed by an intention-setting exercise. There is often an assessment related to the wellness objectives, such as a body-mapping or breath awareness activity.
A warm-up is next as we go through the six movements of the spine to get ready for the physical practice. Breathing techniques will either be down-regulating or have an energizing focus, depending on the needs of the client during that session. This may change from time to time. I often incorporate mudras, symbolic hand gestures that are beneficial to both the body and the mind, into a session. This practice facilitates energy flow that can promote relaxation, inner peace, balance, and concentration.
The yoga asana practice supports the specific wellness objectives that are being worked on, and concludes with a visualization and deep relaxation exercise in order to integrate the work done during the session. During a final check-in we notice any obvious shifts or outcomes at the end of our time together. I like to recommend a short journaling activity and a home practice as a way to stay connected to the effects of the yoga therapy session.
You also teach Yoga to kids 7-11 at Integral Yoga. What led you to teach this class?
I’ve been a teacher in a NYC private school for many years, and I have taught students of all ages. In addition to teaching French, leading an advisory, and running a few clubs, I also offer Mindfulness activities to my students. I became very interested in yoga for kids during my certification during the Breathe for Change program several years ago. I already held a 200-hour certification from another program, however, this approach interested me as a school teacher, because it is a Yoga and SEL training specifically for educators and teachers. We learned how to teach yoga, mindfulness and social-emotional learning in schools in order to support the many challenges that students deal with every day, while enhancing their mental and physical well-being. The pandemic has made this work even more necessary and powerful. When the opportunity arose to be able to teach at Integral so that the Kids Yoga program could continue this summer, I was excited to be able to share my expertise in this way. As a new addition to the Wellness Sanctuary in my role as a Yoga Therapist, this seemed to be the perfect connection to the Yoga Programs that Integral offers.
Sharyn Hahn, C-IAYT, RYT-500, received her 800-hour IYT certification through the Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy. She has been teaching yoga and related healing practices to all ages and levels since 2015. Her role as a Middle School teacher for several decades has allowed her to cultivate her own style of interacting with her students, whether they are children or adults. She is a big believer in having fun, being transparent, and creating personalized approaches to address each person’s goals. For example, she incorporates a mindfulness focus that supports self-awareness and self-esteem in school and during academic tutoring sessions with middle and high school students. Her own journey to achieve overall wellness and balance deepened her appreciation for following a healthy lifestyle. This awareness led her to pursue an accreditation in fitness as an ACE Personal Trainer, as well as several Yoga certifications. Sharyn shares her passion for guiding others on their own path to healing with an invitation to explore and balance the chakras, practice pranayama, tap into mindfulness, and delve into a physical practice that embraces asana to enhance wellness objectives. This holistic approach reduces stress, strengthens the immune system, and balances the five koshas, with an emphasis on the physical, energetic, and emotional connections.
Visit Sharyn Hahn’s website: Suryyama