Jordan Ashley

Jordan Ashley

Tell us about yourself, where you are from, where you practiced/learned, etc.

I am originally from L.A. and moved to New York when I was 18 for University. I did my 600 plus yoga teacher training hours at various studios in NYC. 

How and why did you start yoga?

My mom was a very avid practitioner and especially post my parents’ divorce, it was an activity that we would do together. It was a time and a place for us to bond and have time to be free, explore and play. Back in the day we would take class and go to kirtan with Max Strom and Ish Moran at Maha Yoga in Brentwood and later I would practice at different studios Santa Monica.

Who was your great mentor/teacher?

My mom. She taught me from an early age how important it is to have a life of service and be compassionate and give back to people and animals who need support. She has an animal rescue foundation and watching her saves dogs from the darkest of places and cultivate trust, love, and companionship, let alone find them amazing homes has been truly inspiring. 

Tell us your practice style and how did you choose your yoga method?

I’m a big fan of Vinyasa as it ignites the most creativity and form of free expression of movement. I love sequencing a class around a theme in conjunction with a “peak pose” or purpose (hips, heart, etc)  and then making a playlist that is reflective of that mood, as it provides for a multisensory experience. I have always done Vinyasa as the flow and linking of breath, to body, to mind has always felt the most authentic form of movement for me. 

What obstacles has yoga helped you overcome?

As a survivor of violence, yoga has helped me reconnect with my sense of self. I had to learn to nourish myself and try very hard to fill the void that I felt on a daily basis. So, I went to my yoga mat and started going to classes every day, if not twice, just to reclaim my body  and move expressively without consequence of where it would take me. The shapes and poses, along with this idea of being able to connect your breath and spirit is something I needed. I could be anonymous on my yoga mat and stay protected and safe within the confines of the 2 x 6 perimeter - to just be without expectations. My body could be mine and mine alone. Along the way, my self-confidence started to rebuild. Teaching seemed like a natural next step, to be able to share and give gravitas to the practice, the life journey of what helped to rebuild my internal architecture.

What is your mind set when you step onto the mat?

That it’s called a “practice” for a reason. It’s taken some time for me to really honor what that means. Every time I come to my mat I make peace with the fact that this is a new experience in that I might be more tired, stronger, sadder, content, grounded, etc. than the day before or the day to come. It’s that kind of unconditional empathy for myself that has helped me to grow my compassion for others. You might go to the same class week after week, and never know the name of the person who is next to you, but that connection of being in the same space moving as one, regardless of class, creed, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic standing is what creates community. 

When did you understand you wanted to be a yoga teacher?

When I was in 8th grade, my middle school let me do yoga as independent study instead of P.E. (the joys of growing up in liberal, SoCal). I remember (as that was a really trying time as it is for most pre-teen girls) how calm, grounded, and connected I felt after class and would come home and try to instruct the class I had just taken to my friends.

What is the most rewarding part of being a yoga teacher?

We have no idea when someone steps onto a yoga mat what experiences led her up to where she is at that very moment. Most people come to the yoga practice because of wanting to fix something, even if it’s physical. But, it’s in the subtly, the way the breath syncs with the shapes that we get to witness these moments of bliss as yoga teachers. We are constantly growing and evolving, progressing and regressing, and it's what make our humanity, well human in that there isn't a right or a perfect. What's gotten you to this very moment of self has been a myriad of good, bad, ugly, beautiful, joyful, angry, sorrowful, etc. moments that makes us who we are. To forgo all of that would be a denial of our wonderful humanness it’s beautiful to guide and bare witness to such an experience as a yoga teacher.

Why is yoga so important for the times we’re living in?

To be practitioner of yoga (in my humble opinion) means that you practice compassion and kindness regardless of your asana level. It is when yoga is taken out of the studio and into the world that the greatest shift in consciousness occurs because we have the opportunity to realize and see through first-hand experience for ourselves that we are, in fact, all one. And, let’s be honest, we feel good when we help others, when we are taken out of our own constant internal dialogue about what’s wrong and what could be better. Winning the lottery of life by not having to second guess where our next meal will come from or where we will be sleeping, makes it our global responsibility to become warriors of social change and global equality. 

Your favorite quote?

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” -- Ferris Bueller

Anything else you want to share?

The yoga for me isn’t about getting into shapes on your mat, it’s about using the mat as a jumping off point to not only discover the world, but yourself as well. Souljourn Yoga explores this idea of “union” or coming together to create a global community. Everyone is on a different path so whether you have done asana for one day or a thousand days makes no difference.

Where we can we find you? Instagram, website, etc

Souljournyoga.com

@souljournyoga

Twitter: souljournyoga

Facebook: Souljourn Yoga