We had the good fortune of connecting with Sharan Chahal and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sharan, what do you attribute your success to?
– My approach to spiritual holistic wellness involves placing value towards the client and their lived experiences, perceptions of their struggles, their stated desires, wishes and hopes. Hearing the client’s input is the most important factor, I take their information gathered and weave it into their highly individualized treatment program. Treatment with clients is not rigid, one dimensional or resistant to change. In fact, many clients I work with modify their goals as they progress and such the therapeutic approach evolves as their healing progresses. Western medicine tends to overemphasize the cognitive experience, and put a Band-Aid over the symptoms of distress and dysregulation. Holistic wellness honors and focuses in on the root origin of the trauma; I prefer working with my clients from those depths towards healing. The journey of healing and transformation is incredibly subjective and personal with no two client’s approach to their healing the same. What works for one person may not work for the other. In the journey of client’s personal evolution, I believe having a diverse set of therapeutic modalities to offer my clientele is key to authentically honoring their process towards healing. When it comes to addressing old traumas from their past, for some, there are no words just yet. Sometimes, it’s too painful or overwhelming to their system to speak of the hurt. That is where the playful and intuitive nonverbal wisdom of the body comes into play. Sometimes, it’s the bodily sensations and the nonverbal experience that speaks volumes over the spoken word. For others, we start with the verbal, with their story as the entry point, and later playfully integrate the body’s experience. I believe my masters in clinical psychology with a specialization in spirituality and depth psychology has allowed me to value the body’s wisdom as much as the mind’s wisdom. I have training and experience with several forms of yogic movement, including yin, restorative, therapeutic, ying/yang, and vinyasa style yoga. In addition, the most powerful tool I can provide my clients is awareness of their conscious breath. I love to incorporate pranayama practices and guided meditations that help clients re-center and align themselves back into their internal space and back towards an internal sense of safety. I see the breath as the compass that guide clients back into their internal space and healing. For other clients, journaling prompts may help them find clarity, seeing their thoughts on paper may have an impactful influence on their journey. For most clients, offering a unique blend of all of the above may be appropriate for their process of healing. What I love about spiritual holistic wellness is that there is no structured or standard way of doing things, the only right way of doing things is if it authentic to the client’s needs. The client is the expert on their lives, and within all of us is an endless reservoir of ancient wisdom and intuition. It is an honor and privilege to hold space and be the guide to help client’s enhance and strengthen the connection to their internal source of wisdom and healing.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Before graduate school, I became a registered yoga teacher and spent time in the Southbay LA guiding studio classes in vinyasa, yin and restorative yoga practices. Holding space for students to reconnect with their breath and use the power of their breath to release tension was and will always be a privilege and honor and served as the catalyst towards my desire to pursue higher education in regards to healing. In 2017, I pursued higher education with my Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles with a specialization in Spirituality and Depth Psychology. I am most excited about blending my studies of spiritual and depth psychology with the practice of yoga to create a trauma-informed psychosomatic private practice that honors client’s mind-body-spirit connection in their process of healing. During my masters program, I enrolled in an intensive program at the Antioch University Santa Barbara campus to become Certified in Somatic Psychotherapy. From that intensive, it expanded my motivation and excitement towards the idea of merging and blending the mind’s wisdom with the nonverbal and intuitive wisdom of the body and spirit. In reflecting on my own life struggles and suffering, I understand on a deep level that sometimes talking is not the best entry-point or the most therapeutic outlet for processing hurt and trauma. Sometimes, we do not have the words to our story yet. Sometimes, it may be better to instead rely on the playful and nonverbal sensory motor capabilities before the cognitive capabilities in telling our story and making sense of our hurt. Trauma is so deeply personal and affects every individual to some degree here on Earth. Trauma informed care involves empowering the individual and regaining a sense of safety and curiosity over fear and avoidance when it comes to befriending our bodies again. Healing is not one-dimensional and I believe honoring the individual by shining light on the complex layers of what makes an individual, their mind-body-spirit, may offer sustainable and long term growth and evolution for the individual in their life path. I believe my soul purpose and calling on Earth is to be a gentle guide in people’s uniquely personal process of evolving and healing from their trauma and pain.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have been fortunate to have lived in the Southbay of LA the first few years of living in LA. I think Esplanade Avenue near the Riviera Village is such a pristine coastal street, you get the best views of the coast near Palos Verdes and it truly looks like a postcard! We would start there walking along the coast admiring the views, and then head near the Riviera Village to window shop or stop into the many cute restaurants and shops there! I really love the Green Temple vegan/vegetarian restaurant. It has such a peaceful ambience and the menu is delicious! The best way to get around the southbay is with a beach cruiser bike, so I would then invite my best friend and I to rent a bike, and stroll up the bike path towards Redondo, Hermosa and Manhattan beach. I would show my best friend the sleepy and laid back Redondo Pier, and then show them the more lively Hermosa Pier. There, we may stop by Lucky 7 coffee for a Chagacino coffee or hit up LFTD Studios for a yoga class. Heading towards Manhattan Beach on our bikes, we may take time to walk along the Manhattan Beach Pier and watch the surfers ride the waves. If we felt like a double dose of yoga, The Yoga Loft is right on Ocean Avenue and has some of the best ocean views from their yoga studio! If we get hungry again, I may lead her to The Kettle, it is open 24 hours a day and has been a southbay staple for decades. At this point, we may feel up to biking towards Venice beach, or catch a Lyft or Uber to get up there. In Venice, I would definitely show my friends Rose Avenue, and stop by for some Jeni’s Ice Cream- they have very unique and unusual ice cream flavors that are worth a taste! Abbot Kinney Boulevard is not that far away from Rose Ave,and so walking along Abbot you may find a pop up flea market to browse or little clothing boutiques to check out. If its not too packed, maybe stopping into the Butcher’s Daughter restaurant. From Venice, we may get on a Bird scooter and venture onto Main Street, to see the many thrift stores including Buffalo Exchange. We definitely need to make a pit stop into the Mystic Journey Bookstore to find a crystal or two! If the rides are open, we may hit up the Santa Monica Pier for the ferris wheel or rollercoaster, to get some amazing views of the coast.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to the inspiring psychology professors and mentors who ignited my fascination and understanding of the human psyche. To the many impactful friendships with fellow associates of marriage and family therapy during my course of study, I am so grateful to have gained your inspiring friendship and support in my life. I would like to also dedicate my shoutout to the unwavering support of my family, who have always encouraged me to shine my unique light to the world. To my soul tribe, thank you for hearing, seeing, and valuing my worth.