Valentine’s Day words of wisdom from Sharyn Hahn.
As I was teaching my recent Valentine’s Day themed yoga class, which focused on the 4th chakra (anahata- the heart chakra) through heart-opening poses and self-love mantras, I became aware of the wisdom that I have gained on my path during the past 10 years. It felt very natural and comfortable to invite my students to acknowledge their respective uniqueness and worth, and to set an intention regarding self-love. I embraced my own, and felt strong and centered, connected to my love for myself.
“When anahata is open and energy is flowing freely, you are not only loving to others, you are also loving to yourself. You know when you need to say no and when you need care and self-nurturing.”
When we shared out at the end of the class after the final journaling moments, it was clear that the older students in the class had an easier time connecting to the self-affirmations that I offered throughout the session. Everyone thanked me for reminding them of the powerful balancing energy of self-love. It made me remember that in my 20’s and 30’s I also struggled with this concept of being worthy of love not only from others, but also for myself.
During a series of unfulfilling and emotionally abusive relationships, along with health issues and family trauma, I slowly unpeeled the many layers of self-doubt, and I became aware of the disconnection between my mind, body and spirit. Although I had always respected all of my different “parts”, I had never honored and nurtured them as a “wholeness.” Each time a barrier presented itself on my path, I found the strength to climb it or go through it, and I slowly chipped away at them as they appeared. Most importantly, I acknowledged them and learned to recognize the choices I made that did not serve me.
This is how age and experience are positive aspects in our lives! When we have to struggle when we are younger, we are stronger when we are older. We are able to embrace our lives and appreciate our circumstances (even if they are not “perfect”); we can surround ourselves with that which makes us happy. When we are happy, we can share that energy and pass it on to others. “I let my happiness be visible to others. My happiness overflows from me. I can use my happiness to bring joy to others.” This is very powerful. When we are able to reach out to those who may need love and support, it returns to us tenfold! And the result is that not only do we have more to give, but those whom we touched will also do so, thus setting a cycle of positive energy in motion.
Even if I am feeling sad or anxious, I always remind myself that I am worthy of love- from myself first and foremost. When the intentions that I set are not fulfilled yet, or the goals in daily life (exercise, diet, more sleep, etc.) are not met, I no longer beat myself up. I definitely engage in self-talk, which is very helpful. I remember to breathe and stay focused on my yoga practice. This has served me well! And I love sharing it with students, colleagues and friends, because it truly is a healing gift.
Heart-opening poses encourage the breath to flow, the shoulders to relax, and the inner energy to shine forward. Embrace yourself and you will continue to become the best person that you can be. I invite you to recite the mantra that is shared in this post and to practice the poses that I offer here in this order:
1. Cow Pose
2. Cobra Pose
3. Upward-Facing Dog Pose
4. Sphinx Pose
5. Bridge Pose
6. Full Wheel Pose (more challenging)
Enjoy your day, take care of yourself, eat chocolate, and share your love and happiness with others.
Sharyn Hahn has been a teacher to students of all ages for 33 years, with a focus on teaching French at a private school in NYC. During the past eight years she has added a new dimension to passion for teaching and is now an ACE certified Personal Trainer (FitWomaNow!), and a YogaFit instructor with a 200-hour RYT certification in Mind-Body Balancing from the Deep Yoga Center in San Diego, California. She is currently pursuing a certification in Yoga for Traumaas she continues to broaden her understanding of the significance of yoga, meditation, and breath in her students’ lives. Sharyn holds a Master’s degree in French literature and language and runs Tutorcise.com.