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

From peddling to downward-dog

 Beats, Features, Fit & Fine, The Well  Comments Off on From peddling to downward-dog
Aug 282012
 

Author: Kendall Greenwood

English: downward dog posture I took this pict...

English: downward dog posture I took this picture for use in the Anahata Yoga instruction manual. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have been going for 30 minutes now. Your legs burn, there is sweat dripping down your back and your heart is racing. You aren’t sure if you can take anymore but there is an instructor at the front telling you if you don’t go faster you will have to ride for another song. Then, five minutes later, you are in the downward-dog position listening to tranquil music while the same instructor’s soothing voice lulls your heart to a steady beat.

ZenRide, offered at the CSU Recreation Center, is a class that combines cycling and yoga. The beginning half of the class focuses on the cardio of cycling while the last half consists of a calming yoga routine. Mixing these two gives the feeling of rigorous exercise and a sufficient cool down, according to yoga and cycling instructor Samantha Lieurance, 32.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever done long distance runs in the morning, but you get that really happy endorphin kick,” Lieurance said. “Well, with the cycling and yoga class you get the cycling endorphin kick, but then you get to bring everything back down and get really centered in the body.”

Lieurance created the class three years ago with group fitness directors Tamara Stroh and Nicole Larocque so students could have a safer workout.

“Every time that I do the cycling classes I would feel really bad because there are so many technical things I was seeing students do [that cause] injury,” Lieurance said.

According to Lieurance, cycling classes spend about ten minutes stretching. The body may need more than that, especially if an improper technique was used. The yoga thoroughly stretches the body and protects against possibly injury.

“I get to get psyched, show my personality and be like ‘yeah, let’s ride and push really hard’,” Lieurance said. “Then I get to show people how to be safe.”

ZenRide pushes CSU senior Abby Harder, 22, to do better.

“I’m really bad at working out by myself,” Harder said. “The class motivates me a little more.”

With a busy schedule, Harder can complete a tough workout in a short amount of time.

“My favorite part of the cycling in general is that you get a really good workout in 45 minutes to an hour,” Harder said. “I’m pretty busy, so it’s important for me to get here, workout and leave.”

ZenRide also gives Lieurance the opportunity to get to know attendees.

“Sometimes I’ll have a new student come in, and they’ll give me some of their goals,” Lieurance said. “I like it when (students) open up to me.”

In other cycle classes this is not always the case.

“Some cycling classes you go in and sprint (with) loud music (playing) the whole time (and) you don’t get a chance to talk to people as much as you would like,” Lieurance said.

Harder said she receives more from ZenRide than a good workout too.

“I like the yoga,” Harder said. “It’s nice to relax after you have been riding.”

ZenRide is held Monday mornings from 7 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and Thursday from 8:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Students can buy a semester cycling pass for $35 or a joint cycling and mind and body pass for $89.

“(You) learn your limit, learn proper form,” Lieurance said, “but then (you) also learn how to push yourself. It’s fun.”