Community Success Stories

Success Stories: Manzanita counselor mixes physical with emotional


Sometimes, it may be just a chance to talk.

By Brad Mosher
bmosher@countrymedia.net

Other times, it may mean breaking out the yoga mat to help her clients.
Either way, Holly Evans Smith is building her business Rolling Wave Silver Services in Manzanita with an effort to make people feel better.
The licensed marriage and family therapist also is a registered yoga teacher. She has found a use for both the training and skill sets since she began working in Tillamook County’s northernmost city.
On Thursday, she spends about 90 minutes at the Center for Contemplative Arts in Manzanita where she instructs the Silver Services yoga class.YogaBeach
“It incorporates the community,” she said, stressing her focus on the entire person. “It is not a drop-in where I don’t know how many people are coming. People check-in. In everything I do, I am looking through an integral lens, incorporating all aspects of the person. When we are done, we have some tea and chat.”
In many ways, medical care and counseling have become fragmented, Smith said. “I am trying to be a little more global in my thinking.”
Smith has lived in Manzanita since 2000, and claims just being in the community had a profound impact on her and her husband. “We feel different, calmer by the ocean.” she said.
That prompted a quick decision to move to the community. “We went out and found our house that day. We spent six years driving back and forth (to and from Seattle) before my husband retired. We just love the coast.”
Smith was born in Hood River, but spent much of her youth outside of Oregon. “My father worked for Boeing and my family moved around. We lived to the East Coast and all over. He was out in the field helping build missile sites. We ended up in Seattle for quite a few years.”
Family is still somewhat near, Smith added, noting her stepdaughter lives in Vancouver with her husband and two daughters. “I call her my bonus daughter and she calls me her bonus mom,” she added with a chuckle.
Her daughter is a “global nomad” who is now living in Ecuador and has lived all over the world,” she added. “She works online and is a life coach.”

Yoga2 Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smith brings silver lining to effort
The “silver” in her class name is an acknowledgement of working with older adults who are discovering the limitations and opportunity for growth that age can bring. This includes work in Seaside at an assisted living facility. “I run a group there called Life Changes. I also see people individually. It is very interesting to work in assisted living communities and support positive change.”

SuccessStoryBeachShe sees clients in their homes and also has an office space in Manzanita one day a week. One benefit of home-based services is enjoying the scenery of the North Coast.
As a registered yoga teacher, Smith might incorporate yoga techniques into the counseling session if the client is receptive. For example, working with the breath may ease anxiety.
“As we age, it is easy to become less mobile because of creaky bodies or a lot of pain. Being willing to have compassion and awareness for each part of the body is important. We start in an area that isn’t painful. For example, with sore knees, we might start opening hands and working with the wrists. Then notice, what is happening in the moment.
Smith said, “We tell ourselves stories about our experiences. For example, If my back hurts, I won’t be able to see my grandchild’s soccer game. By becoming aware of the story, we can change it.
“You can start feeling overwhelmed by just how stiff your hands are,” she said. “A huge piece of it is awareness.

 

 

 

 

 

“There is a way to move as an older adult that is more advisable,” she added. “One piece of yoga that I love is that you move it (an arm or a leg) a quarter of the way and bring it down. You just gradually move to where this arm or shoulder works.”
For Smith, the advice is simple. “Just take it a little bit at a time,” she said, noting that advice works for the physical as well as for life itself.
Going all the way physically with an exercise may not be as helpful as taking it in smaller increments, she added.
“It is a challenge in our culture. You are just supposed to take it to the end (or extreme),” she said.
That is something she tells her clients not to do.
Smith has a website (www.rwsilverservices.com) where people can get a good idea of what she does, both in her weekly yoga classes and in her work as an individual and family counselor.
That is something she tells her clients not to do.