Sharon Holcomb

Name & Hometown:

I’m Sharon Holcomb, originally from Vancouver, Washington.  Thanks to a year as an exchange student and decades as a military wife, there are several places I’ve been lucky to call home:  Germany, Colorado, Texas, California, Ohio, Japan, Georgia, and since 2011, Michigan. 

Who or what inspired you to be a yoga instructor:

I was teaching elementary school in Texas when our youngest started college. I decided to fill my new-found extra time with something interesting before someone filled it for me.  I tried yoga at a class included with my new gym membership. The instructor greeted me, loaned me a mat, and instructed me to lie down on my back and close my eyes.  I knew I had found my workout !

After only a few months I realized I’d be doing yoga the rest of my life. At that point, I decided to get certified to teach. 

Describe your style of yoga:

My classes pull from a variety of styles. I teach chair yoga to a group which includes three 90-somethings, a back care class, and a more strenuous class where I try out all variety of poses.  Whatever the class, it always includes relaxation and stress reduction.

What’s your favorite yoga pose?

My favorite pose is downward facing dog, but my home studio is decorated with photos of me in headstand in places as varied as Alaska, Florida, the Continental Divide, and Sleeping Bear Dunes.  

What brings you to the mat?

My hobby is taking yoga classes from others including, over the years, many YAGD members. I have an autoimmune disease as well as osteopenia.  The knowledge that I can manage stress better, aches and pains will ease, and that I am continuing to get stronger brings me to the mat several times a week.  

Do you work for a yoga studio or have a private practice?

I love Zoom!  When the pandemic hit I began teaching donation-based classes online to raise money for a variety of good causes.  In addition to the three classes mentioned above, which are on Monday and Tuesday, I teach an occasional Saturday class on a topic that interests me, most recently hand yoga.

Discuss how being a member of YAGD has helped you in your yoga career?

I knew no one when we moved here. Participation in YAGD has helped me find interesting instructors and learn who’s who in the local yoga world. The new YAGD book club has inspired me to read books I otherwise would not have discovered. Last, but not least, I love our annual weekend retreat where I always learn something new, and find the serenity yoga and nature offer.

Do you have a favorite story, from your teaching experience?

The three 90 somethings who attend my chair yoga class are the aunt of a woman from my Michigan  church, and parents of a friend we met in scuba diving class in LA.  During the pandemic the 15 minute chat before class was my entire social life. During our pre-class conversation the three elders, who are of Japanese heritage, discovered they had all been in US internment camps during World War Two.

Anything else you would like to add like family, hobbies, karma yoga or other professions?

My husband, Fred and I like to travel, which is good since we have children and siblings in Alaska, New Mexico, Washington and Oregon. I’ve been to all 50 states.