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


(970) 690-1045

Student Abroad: A state of balance

 Student Abroad, The Well  Comments Off on Student Abroad: A state of balance
Oct 042012

Author: Anna Palmer

Today, I came upon a realization as I browsed through the spirituality section at the local used bookstore.  After approximately thirty minutes staring aimlessly at the plethora of books, eyes scanning from title to title, I realized I had no idea what I was looking for. I was on the search, for something, something to draw my attention.  I self-consciously stood there, worried that the man sitting at the counter would eventually come over to make sure I was finding what I came looking for.  For the answer to this simple question, I did not know.  I had come looking for a book, but upon self-examination, I knew I was looking for much more.  I came to that bookstore looking for meaning, meaning I know deep down I cannot find in some book.

Since coming to New Zealand, despite all the amazing, unbelievable experiences I have had, I have noticed a subtle, yet drastic change, a shift in focus you might say.  I’ve noticed myself consumed by the superficial world, pulling me into its tight grip.  I have become preoccupied with this world…consumed by concerns over my body and appearance, the party scene, the Facebook obsession, worried about what others are doing, thinking, saying, worried about my grades and stressing over my school work…all the minuscule things in life.  I’ve resorted to this superficial layering of life that we all find ourselves trapped in more often than we would like to admit.

Taking a step back, I realize that my sense of balance has been swept under the rug.  I feel like I have lost my connection to my spirituality, the part of me I deem most important.  I have lost my sense of meaning, of purpose. I am uselessly trying to fill this hole, this emptiness with things of the superficial nature.  I’ve noticed a hunger, a longing to regain this connection with my spirituality and I have responded by filling it with things of this nature.  As much as I hate to admit it, I have resorted back to old habits. But it’s time I start being honest with myself.  Until I do, I will be trapped in the same cycle of self-sabotaging behaviors.  I realize I must make a conscious effort to respond to this sense of longing in ways that actually work toward filling this hole.

My meditation practice has been basically non-existent since coming to New Zealand and I recognize now how much of an impact this has had on my day-to-day life.  In the bookstore today I discovered I was searching outside of myself for something, some book to inspire me, to relight the flame of purpose and desire in my heart.  But I now am beginning to realize, I do not need a book to achieve this.  I must look within myself instead, for within myself lies all the love, comfort, meaning, and purpose I need.

Realizing how unbalanced I’ve become took a lot of conscious awareness and I know that each moment presents a new challenge to remain conscious and present.  I must work diligently to regain this sense of balance, whether that is through meditation or journaling, some way to keep my focus clear of all the superficial clutter.  I know this will not be easy and temptation will inevitably present itself, but I am up for the challenge.  With this, I must bear in mind that perfection is not an attainable goal, not now, not ever.  All I can ever do is my best.  Each day is a new day, each moment a new moment, a new opportunity to realign my values toward love and acceptance, toward a state of balance defined by utter peace and harmony.