Author: Anna Palmer
â€œYou are the creator of your own happiness and well-being.â€Â 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.
Outlining her methodology at OM Counseling and Yoga, Tash describes it as a mix between yogic and Buddhist psychology.Â Seen as natural and in-the-flow, she views counseling as going hand in hand with spirituality.
â€œThere isnâ€™t another way to do psychotherapy.Â [Traditional talk therapy] is just â€˜psycho-babbleâ€™. [Itâ€™s] all about the illusion of life,â€ Tash said assuredly.Â By approaching psychotherapy from a more natural, spiritual place, she encourages her clients to find acceptance of oneâ€™s nature through â€˜karunaâ€™ (Sanskrit for â€˜compassionâ€™).
Throughout childhood, Tash struggled with depression, low self-esteem and distorted body image.
â€œMy own life struggles made me adept at what I do,â€ she said.
A graduate of the University of Maryland, Tash moved to Colorado in 1989.Â She worked as an addiction specialist at LARICO Center for Youth Addictions for about two years, commenting on the â€œrough, over-her-head type work.â€
After leaving LARICO, Tash worked in senior and elderly counseling before the â€œdepressingâ€ 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 â€œburnt out in the fieldâ€ and struggling to be a mother and wife, Tash reached her breaking point.
â€œI was extremely overweight, and didnâ€™t take care of myself,â€ she said. â€œI got to the point where I knew I couldnâ€™t live that way any longer.Â I wanted to commit suicide.â€
After 11 years of marriage with one daughter between them, Tash courageously left.Â This turning point in her life led to her reacquired yoga practice and immersion into the yogi lifestyle.
â€œAfter a period of time, I fell in love with yoga.Â It helped me heal and reconnect with my body,â€ she said.Â â€œYoga brought me to a space of empowerment.â€
Tash continued to heal through yoga and meditation until she worked up the strength to attend a yoga teacher training.
â€œI was paralyzed with fear and almost didnâ€™t do it.Â I ended up getting the last space in the class,â€ she said.Â â€œIt brought me back to my body and healed me in so many ways.â€
A little over a year ago, a life-threatening spider bite almost turned the table for the worst.Â Deathly ill and incapacitated, Tash was highly poisoned.Â After seeing a naturopath, she was finally diagnosed and put onto a strict anti-parasitic diet to detoxify.Â 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.Â 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 â€œLeelah.â€Â After not singing for 25 years and not feeling like she had a voice, she was initially hesitant.
â€œI was petrified.Â Fear was not a good reason not to do it.Â It was really hard, but it was meant to be,â€ Tash said.
Her main focus though, with this on-the-side â€œcreative and expressiveâ€ outlet, is her yoga teaching and her counseling.Â As someone who â€œworks for herself,â€ she is able to combine all the elements she deems fit for psychotherapy: yoga, meditation, self-inquiry, self-reflection and spirituality.
â€œI work intuitively.Â I zone-in on where that person is and what they need.Â I take something that theyâ€™re wounded from to help them heal and question themselves,â€ Tash said, identifying herself as a â€˜guideâ€™ rather than a â€˜fixer.â€™
As someone who is also “constantly healing,” she uses her authenticity to encourage her clients to find acceptance and move away from the ego.
â€œWe are all spiritual beings.Â Itâ€™s not religious at all.Â It comes so naturally,â€ she said.
Identifying this process of spiritual growth as a â€œconstant evolution, a constant trust,â€ Tash urges others to send out the energy they wish to get back.Â She empowers others to recognize their role in changing and controlling their thought patterns.
Tash also combines a form of hand-free â€œmassage-likeâ€ energy work, called Reiki, into her counseling approach.Â 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.Â By tuning into and listening to the authentic inner voice and breadth, one can find a place of mindfulness.
â€œWeâ€™re not always ready to let go.Â The first thing to do is acknowledge the thoughts and feelings.Â Allow, donâ€™t push it away or change it.Â Honor it (write about it, talk about it) and then let it go,â€ 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.Â â€œIâ€™m just myself and Iâ€™m doing it my own way,â€ she said with a humble, yet confident smile forming on her lips.
OM Counseling and Yoga