Traveling the world for photos shoots and events can takes its toll on the body and soul, but Ash has learned over time how to find balance in a hectic world. When she’s not in an exotic locale in front of the camera, she’s based in Los Angeles where she loves to practice yoga, hit the beach, meditate, dance and more. I caught up with Ash, who shared with me her thoughts on transforming your life and following a path to wellness.
Take the time to go within and get to know yourself, so you can discover what is truly meaningful for you. If you understand your habits and the way you think, you’ll be more aware of the useless thoughts and actions that are not necessarily from your deepest truth. At the root of living a powerful, meaningful, fulfilling and happy life is knowing the self. One of the best ways to do this is by setting aside time for daily mediation, or by taking a whole day — or even a few hours a week — just for you. This is really important, especially in big transitions. I am about to turn 30 and am transitioning from mainstream modeling into creating my own company. I am also coming out of a long relationship and marriage. The thing I find most powerful in handling all of these situations is to take the time to self-reflect and be in the space between before you act on the next thing. I have taken this to the extreme by doing 10-day Vipassana retreats, which means 10 days of silence, or things like a three-day meditation course, a cleansing retreat or the Landmark Forum, all of which have a lifelong impact. In my day-to-day life, I say No to friends more often, so I can have a day to myself. This can be seen as selfish, but I feel the benefit and know how important it is for my health, wellbeing and mental clarity. Introspection is such a beautiful tool to get to know yourself and honor your different cycles of life, so you can step into the next phrase clear and powerful with an even deeper understanding of what’s true and meaningful for you personally. And then we can show up more authentically and truly know where we can be of service to our loved ones and in life.
Drink at least three bottles of good quality water a day. I get high pH alkaline water delivered in glass jugs to my home. I have a good recycled water bottle that I fill each day. It fits into a pouch that I put over my shoulder, so I can take it with me wherever I go. It’s become a companion. I do a lot of hot yoga and infrared saunas and am constantly out in sunshine and sweating a lot, so hydration is really important. When I do not drink enough water, I notice that my skin dries up, my brain doesn’t function correctly and I do not eliminate properly. Staying super hydrated changes everything in my body. I am aware of how sacred water it is, so when I stop to drink, I use it as an opportunity to get present and reflect on what I am grateful for. I believe this way of bringing consciousness and mindfulness to the act of drinking water has a positive effect on the body. I also put crystals on the big glass jugs to add a positive vibration into the water.
Growing up, I used to go out clubbing with girlfriends and naturally finding myself having a good dance. As I grew out of this phase, there wasn’t really a space for me to freely dance until I found this practice called Five Rhythms. It’s a sober experience that’s almost like a yoga practice for me. It’s moving to the different elements within ourselves, within the world, and within the music. Putting on music and dancing is one of the most incredible medicines. I had forgotten the power and potency of it. I now do it twice a week, and I feel so in tune with my body. In this class, you learn about human connection without words, how to get out of your own way, and express yourself through movement without being embarrassed. So much can come up while dancing. It’s a profoundly life-changing, beautiful practice. When I can’t make class while traveling, I put on my music and just dance. It takes about five minutes to get past feeling silly, and then you get taken over by the beat. It’s very primal. Something innately inside of us knows how to move. It’s been a really fun discovery, which I encourage everyone to start doing. It’s amazing how we all have our own unique rhythm, but we can connect as one in the beat.
Ditch the Phone Before Bed
I literally put a note on my bedroom door: No phones beyond this point and have you turned off the Wi-Fi before bed? I’ve been challenged by my attachment addiction to this little device in my hand. Leaving the phone in another room on airplane mode and shutting off the Wi-Fi has helped me sleep much deeper. EMFs (electromagnetic fields) are constantly running through the air and in our bodies, so by switching off your phone, you can give your body a rest. Now, when I wake up, I mediate and do my journaling before I reach for my phone. It’s really hard. It’s crazy how much I want to run out and check it. We are so reliant on our device, but really it’s just a habit that I have been able to retrain. Separating myself from technology at night makes me read a book. It also can help you be present and connect with your partner, so you can talk, cuddle or make love. Winding down from the day without technology and waking up naturally without jumping straight onto the phone has been a game changer for me.
Switch Your Perception
Now that I am more aware of my thoughts, I realize how easy it is to grab ahold of something negative and run with it. I can easily dig myself into a hole of negativity. By being conscious, I now try to focus on something positive in each situation or person. We all have the power to switch our perspectives from negative to positive in every moment and find something that brings joy. In the simple act of catching yourself in your thinking, you become present, which connects you to a higher vibration. The more I am in a positive mindset and place, the more incredible people I seem to attract who are happy, healthy and vibrant. It’s a powerful, life-changing practice to be aware of the self and catch that negative thinking. Being present and positive really puts me into the natural flow, and things start to reciprocate in such a beautiful, healthy way.
Journalist Ann Wycoff has written about wellness, fitness, longevity, travel, spas, food and wine for the past 20 years for magazines like Shape, Fitness, Spa, Outside, Travel + Leisure, Coastal Living, Redbook, Modern Luxury, San Diego Magazine, Redbook, Marin Magazine and more. She lives in Encinitas, California.