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

Student Abroad: Home away from home

 Blogs, Student Abroad, The Well  Comments Off on Student Abroad: Home away from home
Nov 012012
 

Author: Anna Palmer

This past week I went WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) for a wonderful Kiwi family in the beautiful and majestic Waitaki Valley.  Immediately, I knew I had picked the right family.  As I waited at the bus stop, a woman called out asking if I was Anna and greeted me with a warm, welcoming hug, instantly soothing my nerves.  I had been slightly nervous about this experience, going away on my own, living with a family I had never met and really putting myself out there not knowing quite what to expect.  What I found was truly a home away from home.  The Tyrrell family welcomed me into their home with open and loving arms, making me feel apart of the family.  It was amazing to see the hospitality that a stranger can give to another stranger and the unique bond that comes from this simple gesture.  They had welcomed me into their home in exchange for 4 mere hours of work each day, which consisted of painting

The house where I WWOOFed for a week

The house where I WWOOFed for a week

closet doors.  A seemingly simple task, but one that requires careful and precise movements, I came to find myself quite enjoying the meditative, peaceful state it put me in.  Time seemed to fly by so quickly and I found myself meditating on the seemingly simplistic aspects of life.

In a warm and loving environment such as it was, I felt myself enveloped in this cloud so full of love the entire week.  Their house was nestled in a beautiful, peaceful valley, with snow-covered mountains in the backdrop, a picturesque place where I found much peace, rest and tranquility.  Interacting with the family felt effortless and natural, almost as if I were a relative visiting for a couple of days.  I felt myself opening up to these seemingly strangers and effortlessly conversing with them.  I had some of the best conversations with Amber, the mom, and the conversation between us felt completely natural.  She had much wisdom and love to share and it was absolutely amazing to hear about some of her life experiences and the spiritual journey she has been on.  This week was like a breath of fresh air, as it gave me the chance to converse on a higher spiritual level than I’ve been able to in a while.  We were able to talk about things like meditation, near-death experiences, finding the God within and truly living out your life purposefully and meaningfully.  It was amazing to be apart of this opening up process and experiencing this higher-level connection with someone who was previously a stranger.

With any experience though, I find myself wondering what was lacking.  This experience was not about getting my hands dirty and really immersing myself into the farming environment nor was it about waking up at the crack of dawn and working till dusk.  It was of a different, unique type, one that I am overall very thankful for.  Although I did not get the hands-on experience of working with farm animals, I do believe this was a good starting point.  It was a nice way to ease myself into the WWOOFing scene in a way that has urged me to seek out more opportunities and challenge myself to try out new things, things I may initially be unsure of.

This experience gave me something I didn’t quite know I needed.  It gave me a break from the mundane routine of everyday life.  Being surrounded by a family so full of love and kindness made me appreciate the family I do have back home.  There have been a handful of times while I’ve been abroad where I’ve longed to be with my family.  Being with a Kiwi family, in a way, substituted for the family that I haven’t had while I’ve been here.  It was nice just to be surrounded by that love that so often goes unnoticed and unappreciated in a family.  Being with the Tyrrells made me appreciate my family and look back on all the times we’ve shared with fondness and appreciation.

A view of the Waitaki Valley

A view of the Waitaki Valley

I am so thankful to have had this experience, not only this past week but of these past 4 months.  It’s all too often the case when I am unable to appreciate what is directly in front of me whether it be the amazing beauty of New Zealand or the love of a family.  Although I long to be near to my family and long to be back home every now and then, I stop myself because I know that once this moment is gone I will long to have it back as well.  Everywhere I go I’ve been seeking to really appreciate and soak up each and every moment for I know once it is gone I can’t get it back.  I’m slowly working toward being content and satisfied with what I have and what I am experiencing in this moment, not reaching toward the future or delving back into the past.  All I have is right now, this moment and I can choose to check out and miss out on all the beauty and love right in front of me or I can consciously choose to remain present with all the love and bliss that surrounds me at all times.  This love is within me and accessible at all times and all that is needed is to make the choice to access this true state within me and let go of all the worry and fear.  So in this moment, I choose to return to this state of love and align myself with all that is good for in this moment all is well and all is just as it should be.