Well Woman Interview: Ashley Neese
Ashley Neese is a beautiful soul living in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. She is a writer and a teacher of many kinds, particularly known for her breathwork practice. It’s Ashley’s courageous, open heart that I first came to know through her journal, where she shares many of her life experiences, with honesty and vulnerability. She’s a super rad and real woman, a what-you-see-is-what-you get kinda deal.
Ashley and I sat down together in the fall. She graciously invited me into her beautiful crystal-filled home. It’s a funny disconnect to know people virtually before in real life but it was natural, honest and open, as you are with an old friend.
She is a woman I admire. Her words are potent. She writes often of love, heartbreak, shame, sobriety, mineral therapy and the power of using one’s voice (among so much more). She shares wisdom and perspective with ease and often with words many of us struggle to find. I’m a big fan of her gratitude lists as a reminder of the small miracles that occur each day. I’m a big fan of her and her work in general. Ashley is embodied in her practice and enriches those around her through breathwork and through her words, which touch us with honesty.
Enjoy getting to know her here. x
Photo by: Lani Trock
Tell us about yourself. What is your favourite quality in yourself + path of service?
I am a breathwork healer, intuitive guide, and writer. My favorite qualities are my ability to feel deeply and my persistent drive to grow.
What are your morning rituals? What is the first thing you do when you rise?
I start the morning by eating a teaspoon of ghee followed by tongue scraping and oil pulling. Next I drink water, do a morning breath and energy practice followed by a twenty minute meditation. From there it’s breakfast, morning supplements, and getting ready for the day.
Photo by: Anaïs & Dax
What is your philosophy on food + nourishment?
I am a big fan of intuitive and seasonal eating. This means paying attention to what my body wants and eating what is local and in season. I’ve tried every style of eating over the years and these days my approach to food and nourishment is very grounded in what makes me feel the most vibrant. At the core it’s a very simple practice but one that has taken me years to fine tune.
Quality of food is very important and so is quality of mind. How do you feed your mind?
I feed my mind through breathwork. It’s my go-to practice for clearing limiting beliefs and negative thoughts. For years I tried affirmations and positive sayings to try to change my thinking but they never produced long lasting results. Learning that I could change my thoughts by changing my breathing pattern has been one of the biggest gifts of my life and one of the reasons I am so passionate about being a breathwork teacher.
Photo by: Lani Trock
What does self-care look like with a business and partner?
Honestly it changes from day to day and week to week! Right now Nic and I are living in separate cities and when we are apart I have a much more what I might call regimented self-care practice. It sounds harsh but really it’s a very gentle and soft routine! When we are together I am more likely to cut my rituals in half so that we can spend more time together. To me that is the most healing and nourishing thing I can do for our relationship.
For much of my 20’s I believed self-care had to happen in this vacuum and I was very rigid with my practices. These days I am across the board, most interested in living in a way that is flexible and allows room to just stay in bed on Sunday morning reading instead of feeling like I have to be at the yoga studio, gym, on a hike, etc.
Self-care with an active business and partner looks like really listening to myself each day and doing my foundational practices to keep myself clear, grounded, and coming from a place of openness and receptivity. The specifics look something like doing all or a portion of my morning routine, staying hydrated and nourished, moving my body, and writing a gratitude list at night.
When do you feel your most radiant? Has your idea of beauty shifted over the course of your life?
I feel most radiant when I am working with clients and teaching. In those moments I am 100% clear I am living my purpose and am totally fired up about life. Beauty equates to grace, joy, and a healthy dose of humility. The most beautiful people I know are comfortable in their own skin, following their hearts, practicing radical kindness and generosity, aware when to laugh at themselves, and are determined to not let society decide their worth.
How do we teach women bravery instead of perfection?
We teach women to be brave by being brave ourselves. Every time we reach through our insecurities and step up in vulnerability we give others permission to do the same.
Another important piece is creating spaces where it is safe to speak up, share our vulnerabilities, and witness each other. Every time I teach a class I am floored by the number of women who don’t feel they can talk about what is really going on in their lives with their friends, family, or partners.
Photo by: Asami Zenri
History illustrates that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac in a man. As we shift into a more conscious era and as gender norms change, what do you feel is the ultimate aphrodisiac in your partner?
There are so many! I would say emotional integration is the biggest one right now and the area where he is helping me grow the most. My partner has a great deal of emotional intelligence but what I love is his level of integration. It’s one thing to know about your shadow aspects, it’s another to have many of those layers integrated.
What advice would you share with other women to empower them to feel strong and confident?
Trust yourself. Confidence is all about trust and the way you build trust is by following your intuition.
How do you envision the future of healthcare?
Honestly, at this moment given everything that is going on in the States I feel lost around this issue. What I am seeing that is really inspiring me is people all over the country learning more and more about plants, foods, and mindfulness techniques that are empowering them to change their lives and communities. Change begins with the individual and ripples out. The more people we have taking care of themselves the healthier our communities will become.
How do you cope with stress?
I practice breathwork daily. L.A. is an incredible and fast paced city. Breathwork is how I stay grounded, focused, and clear.
What do you feel is your most feminine quality?
My emotional sensitivity and my gift of empathy.