Apr 052013
 

Author: Anna Palmer

“You are the creator of your own happiness and well-being.”  More than a philosophical statement, this motto has become inseparable from the life and passion of a vibrant, openhearted and authentic soul in the Fort Collins community.

Combining psychotherapy with yoga, meditation and spirituality, Gwyn Tash, in essence, has created a new emerging field of counseling that she intuitively and whole-heartedly believes in.

Gwyn Tash

Gwyn Tash

Outlining her methodology at OM Counseling and Yoga, Tash describes it as a mix between yogic and Buddhist psychology.  Seen as natural and in-the-flow, she views counseling as going hand in hand with spirituality.

“There isn’t another way to do psychotherapy.  [Traditional talk therapy] is just ‘psycho-babble’. [It’s] all about the illusion of life,” Tash said assuredly.  By approaching psychotherapy from a more natural, spiritual place, she encourages her clients to find acceptance of one’s nature through ‘karuna’ (Sanskrit for ‘compassion’).

Throughout childhood, Tash struggled with depression, low self-esteem and distorted body image.

“My own life struggles made me adept at what I do,” she said.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Tash moved to Colorado in 1989.  She worked as an addiction specialist at LARICO Center for Youth Addictions for about two years, commenting on the “rough, over-her-head type work.”

After leaving LARICO, Tash worked in senior and elderly counseling before the “depressing” nature of the work encouraged her to take a job as lead counselor at Island Grove Regional Treatment Center in Greeley, Colo.

Meanwhile, she struggled to keep her head above water in her personal life, amidst the grips of an emotionally and physically abusive marriage.

Feeling “burnt out in the field” and struggling to be a mother and wife, Tash reached her breaking point.

“I was extremely overweight, and didn’t take care of myself,” she said. “I got to the point where I knew I couldn’t live that way any longer.  I wanted to commit suicide.”

After 11 years of marriage with one daughter between them, Tash courageously left.  This turning point in her life led to her reacquired yoga practice and immersion into the yogi lifestyle.

“After a period of time, I fell in love with yoga.  It helped me heal and reconnect with my body,” she said.  “Yoga brought me to a space of empowerment.”

Tash continued to heal through yoga and meditation until she worked up the strength to attend a yoga teacher training.

“I was paralyzed with fear and almost didn’t do it.  I ended up getting the last space in the class,” she said.  “It brought me back to my body and healed me in so many ways.”

A little over a year ago, a life-threatening spider bite almost turned the table for the worst.  Deathly ill and incapacitated, Tash was highly poisoned.  After seeing a naturopath, she was finally diagnosed and put onto a strict anti-parasitic diet to detoxify.  She never thought she would teach yoga or counsel again.

However, the diet built up her immune system to the extent where it fought off the deadly infection and she slowly began to heal.  Returning to yoga this past June, she is grateful for her life.

Since recovering, Tash has become lead songwriter and vocalist for a yoga, spiritual rock band, called “Leelah.”  After not singing for 25 years and not feeling like she had a voice, she was initially hesitant.

“I was petrified.  Fear was not a good reason not to do it.  It was really hard, but it was meant to be,” Tash said.

Her main focus though, with this on-the-side “creative and expressive” outlet, is her yoga teaching and her counseling.  As someone who “works for herself,” she is able to combine all the elements she deems fit for psychotherapy: yoga, meditation, self-inquiry, self-reflection and spirituality.

“I work intuitively.  I zone-in on where that person is and what they need.  I take something that they’re wounded from to help them heal and question themselves,” Tash said, identifying herself as a ‘guide’ rather than a ‘fixer.’

As someone who is also “constantly healing,” she uses her authenticity to encourage her clients to find acceptance and move away from the ego.

“We are all spiritual beings.  It’s not religious at all.  It comes so naturally,” she said.

Identifying this process of spiritual growth as a “constant evolution, a constant trust,” Tash urges others to send out the energy they wish to get back.  She empowers others to recognize their role in changing and controlling their thought patterns.

Tash also combines a form of hand-free “massage-like” energy work, called Reiki, into her counseling approach.  This method of transferring her healing energy for emotional, physical or spiritual pain is concluded with the client’s self-reflection on the experience.

She encourages others who are just beginning their spiritual journey to take up a meditation practice to break away from the ego’s inner dialogue.  By tuning into and listening to the authentic inner voice and breadth, one can find a place of mindfulness.

“We’re not always ready to let go.  The first thing to do is acknowledge the thoughts and feelings.  Allow, don’t push it away or change it.  Honor it (write about it, talk about it) and then let it go,” she advised.

With flowing curly hair, a nose ring and most importantly, an open, authentic heart, Tash appears to be living out the life she was intended for.  “I’m just myself and I’m doing it my own way,” she said with a humble, yet confident smile forming on her lips.

Contact Info:

Gwyn Tash

OM Counseling and Yoga

Gwyn.tash@gmail.com

(970) 690-1045

Adventure vacations with fitness as the key

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Feb 252013
 

Author: Tony Vessels

As the countdown draws closer to the coveted week off , the excitement of every student can be felt as we hear the words, “I can’t wait for spring break,” more times than anyone cares to count.

So what do students do during this brief respite?

Families will be reunited, people will bless themselves with the concept of sleeping in, brains will be melted by a week of TV and/or video games. But many also turn their spirits to the wind, and choose to take this week to travel throughout the country and even the world.

We all go on vacation for many reasons. One of the most popular reasons is to go and experience a new culture, learn the history of another place. It can be incredibly interesting to walk through a museum or to take a tour around the oldest building in the oldest town in the country. One should be so lucky to even be able to see the biggest ball of twine in America (there are four claims to that title, just so you know, but that’s a whole other story).

But history and tours and museums aren’t everything that you can do on a vacation.

“You see one 300-year-old church, you’ve seen them all,” said Brian Green, a Fort Collins native. “And honestly, staring at all those paintings just bores me. When I go somewhere, I want to get outside. I want to move and try things that I’ve never tried before.”

Surf lesson distractions

Surf lesson distractions (Photo credit: Brett L.)

There are many destinations that people seek out purely to try new things.

“I was born and raised in Fort Collins, so last year when my girlfriend and I flew out to California for a week, we spent the entire week on the beach and my uncle taught us how to surf,” Green said. “I’d never done it before and I absolutely fell in love with it. Now that was a vacation worth remembering.”

Many people want to go on vacation just to get a chance to be athletic and explore the sports that they can’t really do at their native lands. Lord knows how many Texans we have skiing in our mountains every winter.

English: Whitewater Rafting at the USNWC

Whitewater Rafting at the USNWC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Our family is actually nearing the end of saving up for a big trip down to Peru,” said Eugene Thomas, a CSU student who grew up in Denver. “We’ve been saving up for about a year now, and this summer my [family] and I are going to be flying down to Peru for three weeks, and we’ll be whitewater rafting for about two. This is the vacation of a lifetime, and I couldn’t imagine anything being more fun than this.”

As amazing as seeing the Louvre in Paris would be, some people just need to take a break from their world by doing something much more athletic. Like whitewater rafting or surfing. For some, a great vacation could be just strapping on a pair of reliable hiking boots and exploring our own backyard that is the good ol’ Rocky Mountains.

Get outside for your next vacation. Have fun. To quote a very successful American multinational corporation, “JUST DO IT.”

How to Keep Your Muscles, Traveling to Brussels

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Feb 242013
 

Author: Kendall Greenwood

Hiking is a great form of exercise that gets you outside and seeing the sites! Photo Courtesy of Sylvia

Hiking is a great form of exercise that gets you outside and seeing the sites! Photo Courtesy of Sylvia Usery.

Hiking, kayaking and biking. CSU senior, Sylvia Usery, 21, did these activities every weekend during her study abroad in New Zealand in spring 2012. Not only could she check out the scenery and be social, but she could stay healthy during her time away.

Traveling can create a challenge for a healthy lifestyle. There can be decreased food options and no gym to do normal exercise routines. To stay fit while traveling abroad requires a balance of two things: nutrition and exercise.

According to Albert Powell, 33, a strength and conditioning personal trainer at Anytime Fitness, the two most dangerous foods to eat when traveling are starches – like bread, rice and noodles – and sugars.

“The starch is your bricks and your sweets are basically the concrete,” Powell said. “So what you’re doing with your body is you’re blocking everything up [with starches] and [with] the sweets you’re pasting everything.”

This can create future unhealthy habits, but it also has adverse effects on the health you gained.

“So you go on this vacation, you look and you’re like ‘man, I put on five pounds,’” Powell said. “Well, you’ve been eating nothing but carbs and sugar.”

Usery adapted to meals in a similar way while in New Zealand.

“I actually paid for a whole semester of dining hall food, but I stopped going because it was just disgusting,” Usery said. “They have like 5 kinds of potatoes and bread every night.”

Instead, she bought her own food at the grocery store to give herself more balanced meals. She was able to afford some healthier options on a student budget. Avocados were cheap so she was able to eat plenty,Usery said.

Exercise is the other important key to staying in shape. According to Powell, exercising while traveling is very easy.

Workout routines can be easy to keep up when you have been properly trained. Photo by John Sheesley

Workout routines can be easy to keep up when you have been properly trained. Photo by John Sheesley

“If you want to stay in your room and [workout] for a quick hour,” Powell said. “[Get a] resistance band and exercise ball.”

These two objects can work your biceps, shoulders, back, abdominals and legs with the right movements. The exercises will keep your muscles toned and ready for when you can get back into the gym.

“As soon as my clients come back and we pick back up where we left off,” Powell said. “They felt like they never left.”

Plus, they are not a strain on luggage.

“[The exercise ball] comes with a pump so you can just take the air out and hold it in your luggage,” Powell said. “The pump is small, so it’s easy to travel [with].

Target has resistance bands available for anywhere from $12.99 to $19.99. Exercise balls at Target are priced from $19.99 to $29.99.

When Usery was abroad she chose to participate in activities where she could see the scenery and connect with people.

“Every weekend we would go somewhere,” Usery said. “Hiking is always fun and they had such beautiful terrain there that it didn’t feel like you were exercising, because you were just looking at everything around you.”

Powell says you can incorporate this group dynamic into resistance band and exercise ball exercises by doing partner and group workouts.

He has experienced first-hand what these kinds of workouts look like. Before becoming a personal trainer, Powell played international basketball. As his team traveled they had to alter their normal workouts.

“When you’re on [season], you don’t want to come in and lift a bunch of weights because it throws your shots off,” Powell said. “So a lot of what we would do is what I’m telling you [about].”

For Usery, being able to mix exercise and friends added to her experience.

“I would definitely say stay active,” Usery said. “It’s a great way to meet people and just get around the country.”

Seven Sex Positions to Try With Your Valentine

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Feb 052013
 

Author: Allison LeCain

Roses, chocolates and love poems are typical Valentine’s Day presents, but action speaks louder than words and material possessions. Spend some quality time on Valentine’s Day week and spice up your love-life with these seven sex positions. They’ll be sure to fill your week with love, (or lust).

The Ape

Start off with the man lying on his back with his knees pulled up against his chest. The woman then sits down backwards and is propped up against the man’s feet. For balance, the woman should hold onto her partner’s wrists and rock back and forth.

The Curled Angel

The woman will lie on her side while pulling her legs up to her chest. The man will spoon her and come in from behind. This is a very sensual, close position.

The Bridge

The man starts by lying on his back and then pushes himself up making an arch. The woman straddles him and takes most of her weight off her feet. This is a challenging position that requires a strong, flexible man.

The Glowing Juniper

This begins with the woman lying on her back with her legs spread apart. The man will be sitting in between her knees with his legs stretched out. He then guides her hips up and down and may reach down and kiss her stomach if flexible enough.

The Magic Mountain

This requires three pillows stacked on top of each other. The woman will get on her knees and rest her torso face-forward on the mountain of pillows. The man will kneel behind her with his legs on the outside of hers. This works best with firm, thick pillows.

The Body Builder

This position starts with the woman leaning up against a wall and lifting herself up to straddle the man. The man should support her by holding her upper thighs while the woman raps her arms around his neck and her legs around his torso.

The Koala

Begin with the man squatting down.  The woman will sit in his lap as they embrace each other. Holding each other tightly, the woman will rock her pelvis while squeezing her muscles.

Seven Sex Positions to Try With Your Valentine

 Features, Fit & Fine, The Well  Comments Off on Seven Sex Positions to Try With Your Valentine
Feb 052013
 

Author: Allison LeCain

Roses, chocolates and love poems are typical Valentine’s Day presents, but action speaks louder than words and material possessions. Spend some quality time on Valentine’s Day week and spice up your love-life with these seven sex positions. They’ll be sure to fill your week with love, (or lust).

The Ape

Start off with the man lying on his back with his knees pulled up against his chest. The woman then sits down backwards and is propped up against the man’s feet. For balance, the woman should hold onto her partner’s wrists and rock back and forth.

The Curled Angel

The woman will lie on her side while pulling her legs up to her chest. The man will spoon her and come in from behind. This is a very sensual, close position.

The Bridge

The man starts by lying on his back and then pushes himself up making an arch. The woman straddles him and takes most of her weight off her feet. This is a challenging position that requires a strong, flexible man.

The Glowing Juniper

This begins with the woman lying on her back with her legs spread apart. The man will be sitting in between her knees with his legs stretched out. He then guides her hips up and down and may reach down and kiss her stomach if flexible enough.

The Magic Mountain

This requires three pillows stacked on top of each other. The woman will get on her knees and rest her torso face-forward on the mountain of pillows. The man will kneel behind her with his legs on the outside of hers. This works best with firm, thick pillows.

The Body Builder

This position starts with the woman leaning up against a wall and lifting herself up to straddle the man. The man should support her by holding her upper thighs while the woman raps her arms around his neck and her legs around his torso.

The Koala

Begin with the man squatting down.  The woman will sit in his lap as they embrace each other. Holding each other tightly, the woman will rock her pelvis while squeezing her muscles.

Feb 022013
 

In Love With Colorado

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Feb 022013
 

Start the New Year off right with fun and accomplishable resolutions

 Fit & Fine, The Well  Comments Off on Start the New Year off right with fun and accomplishable resolutions
Nov 242012
 

Author: Hannah Woolums

Cocktail by candle light 1: "With some of...

Cocktail by candle light 1: “With some of our living room in the background” (Cocktail, champagne, New Year’s Eve 2006) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the holiday season begins to roll around and the year gets closer to its close, New Year’s resolutions start to pop into people’s heads.

This year let’s make it different. Everyone has made the resolutions to lose 20 pounds, get straight A’s, or find your true love. Instead of making those unrealistic resolutions that everyone knows that they will never actually follow through with, make it something to look forward too.

Here are a few fun and interesting new ideas, that don’t all require you to change something about yourself or habits because you feel like you need too. Make it fun, make it something you want to do, and an easy challenge for yourself.

Here are five New Year’s resolution ideas that not only let you be creative, but are easy to achieve and allow you to feel accomplished and start the New Year off right.

 

Become a vegetarian

Are you an avid carnivore that has to have some form of meet with every single meal? Well try becoming a vegetarian for a few months or even a few weeks, just to test it out. Don’t make it something that you will change for the rest of your life (unless you discover you really like it that much); just take on the challenge of trying something new. Get out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons, but please remember to still get your protein into every meal. You may find that you really like it, and it will give you a better understanding a meat-free lifestyle.

Think of different excuses to why you don’t have something done

Let’s face it, ‘the dog ate my homework’ or ‘I left it sitting on my desk at home’ are excuses that are getting old. If you are someone who typically turns things in late, or just doesn’t do some assignments at all, make it interesting. Don’t come up with the same boring excuse; think of something new, plausible, but still enough to make your professor laugh, and hopefully get you that extension that you were aiming for in the first place.

Do more for yourself

I know you all hear about self-care all the time, from many different sources, but they might be onto something. This year take more time for yourself, even if it’s only a half-hour a day. You will be surprised at how much better you feel. Make these things that you wish you had time to do, or something that you have never thought about doing before. As long as it makes you happy, you will feel like you can take on more of what the New Year brings.

Try a new hair cut/color

A big thing in society is appearance. This year try something different. Start with something that is not permanent. Hair is the perfect thing to experiment with because it can drastically change your style, but hair grows back so you aren’t stuck with anything forever. Dye your hair some weird color that you have always wanted to try, or cut it drastically short because you’ve had long hair your whole life. This is a fun, simple, and obtainable resolution that can be fulfilled without the stress of it being permanent.

Find a better job

This resolution may be harder than the others to accomplish, but if you get up every day go to school and then go to a job that you hate, your year is going to last a lot longer than those who are doing something they love. As college students, crappy jobs are always in the cards, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t experiment with different lines of work, or make your way up to a manager position. This is the time of your life to experiment, so make it a goal to get you through the New Year.

Getting the most out of your snowshoe

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Oct 082012
 

Author: Lia Conger

Hopes are high that this winter season is going to have downpours of fresh powder to make up for last year’s pitiful snowfall, so if you’re looking for a sport that’s a medium between hardcore skiing and plopping marshmallows in your steamy hot cocoa, then snowshoeing is quite possibly the perfect sport for you.

We will help you cover the basics: how to get started, where to get your gear, what trails are close-by, which relatively close excursions are taking place and a few health benefits.

Snowshoes come in three variations: recreational, aerobic and backpacking. The type of snowshoe you use depends on the difficulty level. The recreational snowshoe is a great fit for the first-time snowshoer and good for using on simple terrain. If you’re looking to do a little cross country, you should look into the aerobic shoe because its polished design is perfect for more agile movements. Lastly, a backpacking snowshoe is made for durability, with its aluminum frame and resilient bindings to support boots.

“Something that most people don’t realize about snowshoeing is the level of difficulty,” said Rob Sharp, a sales associate at Sports Authority. “They’re just not aware how difficult it really is until they actually do it.”

The length of your snowshoe depends on your weight; lengths range from 25, 30 and 36 inches long.

Sports Authority rents and sells snowshoes, as does REI. According to Snowshoe Magazine, prices usually range from $100 to $300 when purchasing snowshoes. The most popular type of snowshoe is the aerobic because it makes movement easier, Sharp said.

The top five things to bring with you on your excursion would be a friend or hiking partner, leather boots, a GPS, a plethora of layers and gaiters, which keep snow out of your boots when you’re trekking in deep snow. Whatever you do though, don’t wear anything cotton because it will soak up and store moisture. Make sure to wear wool or polyesters and, if you can, waterproof your whole body to avoid any frostbite.

As for places to go snowshoeing, you can go anywhere snow has fallen. For a laid-back hike, you can visit Cirque Meadows and Emmaline Lake, which is 6.5 mile trek and has a view of Pingree Park. There’s also Little Beaver Creek Trail, which is just two miles. To ramp up the pace to a moderate difficulty, you can visit Crown Point Road, which is 12 miles, or take a trip to Signal Mountain, which is five miles. For the daredevils, you can trek Stormy Peaks trail, which is six miles in length, or visit Lake Agnes for a strenuous five mile hike.

The CSU Rec Center is organizing a snowshoeing day hike to Lory State Park for Dec. 1, starting at 10 a.m. to go till 5 p.m. The last day to register is Nov. 29.  The hike costs is $20, which includes transportation, instructors, gear, food and poles.

The health benefits of snowshoeing includes little risk of injury and little energy exertion while working wonders for a person’s cardio fitness. Snowshoeing can burn more than 600 calories per hour.

“I loved it,” said Victoria Suha, a CSU freshman who has snowshoed before. “I did it at Steamboat Springs. It’s quite a different experience because you are able to see things you wouldn’t have otherwise seen while skiing because you are taking things in at a slower pace. It’s very peaceful and makes me feel adventurous.”

The power of meditation, achieving peace of mind

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Oct 072012
 

Author: Allison LeCain

The mind is a powerful thing, constantly racing with thoughts about school, work and social life. It controls everything we do, and yet many people focus all their energy on how their body looks or how well-liked they are among friends.

As a college student, the mind is more frantic than ever, but through meditation, anyone can achieve peace and happiness.

Quinn Hutchinson, senior phycology major, created the Kadampa Meditation Club at CSU about a year ago in order to share the culture of meditation with her fellow students.

“The benefits of meditation are really powerful and I think they’re so necessary at this age where we have so much going on,” Hutchinson said.

Meditation is a Buddhist practice of calming the mind in order to gain clarity and peace. It only takes about ten minutes to feel the effects of meditation, and is best if practiced at least once a week. One  goal of meditation is to become a happier person who is more in touch with their mind.

Gen Kelsang Rinzin, a resident teacher from the Heruka Buddhist Center, teaches weekly meditation classes at CSU.

Gen Kelsang Rinzin, a resident teacher from the Heruka Buddhist Center, teaches weekly meditation classes at CSU. Photo by Allison LeCain.

Hutchinson started practicing meditation four years ago when she saw a flyer for a class. Raised as a Catholic, she said she thought the idea of meditation was a little funny at first, but, over time, she said noticed a great difference in her quality of life.

“I was calmer and more stress-free and it really changed my life,” Hutchinson said. “I went from being a big partier to trying to get in touch with something deeper.”

Now Hutchinson said she considers herself a Buddhist, but meditation can be practiced by people of all religious backgrounds. When starting the meditation club, she collaborated with the Heruka Buddhist Center to have resident teacher Gen Kelsang Rinzin, a western Buddhist monk, come to CSU to teach meditation classes every week.

Kelsang Rinzin said that since starting the classes last October, the number of students coming has increased a lot, showing that meditation is becoming more popular in the Fort Collins community. His class sizes at the Heruka Center have grown as well.

Each class that Kelsang Rinzin guides at CSU has a name, such as ‘Developing Concentration’ and ‘Improving Mindfulness.’  This is what drew graduate student Laila Dillsi to take part in the classes.

Dillsi has been practicing meditation off-and-on for 10 years and meditates about four times a week.

“It’s really applicable to our lives as students,” Dillsi said. “[Meditation] keeps me more calm.”

Hutchinson describes similar effects of meditation, as she says it helps her to manage her schoolwork and social life.

“Things don’t bother me as much as they used to,” Hutchinson said. “It’s a lot easier for me to let things go in my external environment.”

As Kelsang Rinzin explains, this is one of the major benefits of meditation. Through meditation, a person can develop peace of mind and the ability to let go of disturbing thoughts. A negative thought can be changed into a positive one, full of kindness. This can change your outlook on life, according to Kelsang Rinzin.

Kelsang Rinzin said meditation can be a good way for students to let go of stressful thoughts; Hutchinson agreed.

“If I start to get stressed out I have five minute brain-breaks,” Hutchinson said. “Five minutes of meditation is so helpful for me throughout the day, like focusing on my breath and tools that I didn’t have before. Our brains are so powerful when you tap in to that.”

The mind is so powerful that Kelsang Rinzin compared it to a wild elephant, as in anything a person can do, he or she can only do because their mind thinks it first. Our mind is in control and our bodies are just machines fulfilling the minds commands. This why Kelsang Rinzin said it is important to get in touch with your mind through meditation.

He helps students do so through weekly classes held in Lory Student Center room 208 on Wednesdays at 3 p.m.

Hutchinson said that at these classes, meditation helps students let go of anxieties and utilizes all the powers the mind has.

“It’s all the power of our mind,” Kelsang Rinzin said. “If we can learn to let go of negative thoughts and cultivate positive thoughts from meditation, then there is so much opportunity to be peaceful, healthy people.”