trainer highlight: meet owen henn
On top of being Boston-based yoga teacher based, Owen also teaches at Hydrow, a rowing-based fitness company that films classes around the world for it's socially-connected rowing machine. And on top of being a fitness instructor, he's also a Registered Dietitian at Boston Children's Hospital, researching for Type 1 Diabetes (which he himself has had for 15 years).
We caught up with Owen to learn more about his philosophy, what he does when he's not training clients (or himself) and what movements he's loving these days. Here's what he had to say.
What is your fitness specialty?
I'm a yoga teacher (500-hour trained).
What inspired you to become a trainer?
I found that yoga improved nearly aspect of my life, and I was especially drawn to the community I found at my yoga studios. I became a yoga teacher in order to share the practice with others and to help build that sense of community.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a trainer?
I never pictured myself as the type of person who would enjoy yoga. Yet once I tried it, I realized that it could be fun, challenging, and make me feel a whole lot better. The most rewarding thing for me is when I get to teach those same students who might be taking their first ever yoga class with dread. There’s no better feeling than seeing someone show up again for their 2nd yoga class because they’re hooked!
How do you put together a training program for clients or yourself?
For myself, whenever I wake up, I try listen to what it is that my body needs that day. If I’m feeling energized, it might be weight lifting and a vinyasa yoga class. If I’m sore or tired, it might simply be a long walk and a restorative yoga class. It’s taken me a while, but I’ve come to place the same value on rest and recovery that I place on work.
What is the toughest part about being a trainer?
When I started teaching yoga, my main concern was whether it would change my relationship to the yoga practice. Would this practice I love deeply become simply an obligation or a job? While teaching has certainly changed the way I view yoga, and I often catch myself over-analyzing or appreciating the ways in which other teachers cue or sequence when I should simply be moving and breathing, I’ve tried to remain a student. Maintaining your humility and studentship is so vital to anyone looking to teach others.
Where can people find your or take your classes?
I teach both in-person and virtually for Boston Yoga Union, a wonderful independent studio located in Boston’s Back Bay. I’m also an Athlete / Yoga Teacher for Hydrow, a socially-connected rowing machine and fitness app.
What is your current favorite way to move/current favorite movement?
I’m currently nerding out over transitions to and from Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose). The pose itself is so beautiful and teaches you a ton about stability and ease within effort. Lately I’ve taught transitions into Half Moon from Triangle or Figure Four Chair, and transitions out of Half Moon into Warrior Two or Standing Split / Handstand.
What movement do you hate, but that you know is an important part of your fitness/movement routine?
I would say I have a love/hate relationship with rowing. Working for the rowing-based fitness company Hydrow, and as a former college rowing team member myself, I know all of the benefits from even a short amount of time on a rower – it’s a low-impact, whole body movement that builds strength as well as endurance – but man, it’s hard! I get a sort of nervous tingle in my spine whenever I sit down on the Hydrow because I know I’ll have to push past some mental barriers at some point in the workout. But I always feel better afterwards because I’ve gotten a great workout and proven something to myself.
When you aren’t working out, what do you like to do?
I work at Boston Children’s Hospital as a Registered Dietitian when I’m not teaching or practicing yoga, which is rewarding work that takes up a lot of my time. On my off days, I love to go for bike rides, walks in nature, listen to music or read fantasy novels.
What’s one movement or fitness myth you hate that people think is real?
“I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible” is one I hear a lot. That’s like saying you can’t lift weights because you’re not strong – yoga helps you gain flexibility in the same way that lifting weights helps you gain strength.
What’s your current favorite song to move to?
Powerglide by Rae Sremmurd. I’m a big rap guy and this song has great energy (but is NOT yoga appropriate!).
Salmon sashimi. I would literally eat sushi every day if my budget allowed!
Favorite item of Rhone gear?
Right now, I love the Spar Joggers. They’re comfortable, look great, and allow me the range to fully express every yoga pose.
Where to Find Owen: