Podcast Transcription: Overcoming Adversity, Healing Trauma and Parenting Your Own Way with Ashley Albrand

April 14, 2017 Episode - Overcoming Adversity, Healing Trauma and Parenting Your Own Way with Ashley Albrand

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[00:00] Rachel: Hi and welcome to episode three of From The Heart: Conversations With Yoga Girl. So we had two weeks of storytelling on this podcast so far, and I can’t even explain how ecstatic I am over the response we’ve received. Moving forward, From The Heart will be a mix of both storytelling with me alone and dedicated conversation with special guests. Please make it a habit to ask any questions you’d like to see answered on the show through social media, and also let me know what topics you’d like to see us cover. We will consistently be releasing an episode every single week, so there will be a ton of chances for your question to be answered.

This week I am beyond excited to introduce to you all our very first guest on the show, my good friend Ashley Albrand. Ashley is a yoga teacher, she’s the founder of a school of consciousness called Infinite Source Yoga, she’s a former professional hip hop dancer, she’s the mother of two beautiful daughters, she’s an extreme trauma survivor turned medicine woman, and just a bad ass goddess. Welcome to the show, Ashley.

Ashley: Hi everybody!

Rachel: Hi!

Ashley: Thank you so much for having me!

Rachel: Thank you for coming. Are you excited to do this podcast?

Ashley: I am so excited to be sitting here with you right now and be in your empire because it’s … you’re such a boss and you’re so inspiring, and you’re the truth of this universe.

Rachel: Thank you. Truth of the universe.

Ashley: You really are. I’ve worked in the industry really a long time and wanted to work for truth consciousness, and you came around in so many different forms over the years to really show me that this is the way. I always have numerology and symbology for 108 all over the place in my life. I know that this is my tribe and you guys are my people.

Rachel: So meant to be.

Ashley: Yeah, it’s meant to be.

Rachel: So right now we are sitting at Island Yoga. We have this really ghetto setup of this podcast with foam and fabrics all over the place.

Ashley: Her ghetto, my pro. Love it.

[02:00] Rachel: [laugh] I love it. But I wanted to share, so I don’t know how … we haven’t really talked about this a ton, but I knew you way before you knew me.

Ashley: I mean … yeah.

Rachel: No, really, like years and years ago. SO in the last episode of this podcast I was sharing manifesting abundance and I shared this story about how I was working at one of the resorts here on the island and I was the yoga director there, and I had just started teaching yoga. I was this brand new little yogi baby. And I started a Facebook page to kind of promote my classes, and one of the first yoga Facebook pages that I ever found or ever followed was yours.

Ashley: Oh.

Rachel: Yeah! You were this huge inspiration to me, and I just thought … I remember there was a video that I saw of … It was a Christmas video … You next to a Christmas tree pressing up to handstand, putting your feet on your head, doing all of this crazy shit.

Ashley: At my mom’s.

Rachel: That was at your mom’s?

Ashley: Uh-huh.

Rachel: And I was blown away. I remember I went home to Dennis, I’m like, “Look at this woman! Look at what she’s doing with her body! I want to learn this.”

Ashley: And you did!

Rachel: And I did. But that was, I think, six years, seven years ago?

Ashley: That was a while ago. Seven at least.

Rachel: Seven years ago at least, yeah. And now we’re sitting here in Aruba at our yoga studio.

Ashley: And I saw pictures of you that actually, to be honest, kind of triggered me at the time because I was in a phase where I was like, “No makeup, it’s not yogic. No this, no that.” Just being kind of too pious for my own good. It’s a phase in a yogi’s experience, I feel, where you go so far away from the normal because you’re finding out what is maybe your normal. And I was not liking living in L.A. I think I was saturated with commercialism, and then here comes this girl with a million followers with these pictures that I felt were sexual at the time.

Rachel: [laugh]

Ashley: Looking back I’m like, “She’s a beach bum. They’re not sexual.” But I was really pregnant and … yeah. But then you responded to me when I wrote to you, and you were so excited to talk to me, and you were so kind that it literally pierced my heart with love. And I thought, “Okay, okay.” And so we read your chart, me and the astrologer thath I was working with at the time, and it was such a confirmation because you have all of the signatures for a global healer who is here to awaken the masses and help heal consciousness, like the hugging saint Amma. It’s the same signature.

Rachel: I remember the first time you told me that, that’s … hugging is my favorite thing.

Ashley: You were like, “Astrology, yeah, okay cool.”

Rachel: Yeah.

Ashley: I was like, “No, really, I swear. You are the [pup?] Amma.”

Rachel: And I remember you had the same astrologer read mine and Dennis’ charts for our wedding day.

Ashley: Yes!

[04:38] Rachel: It was the most beautiful thing. But let’s rewind a little bit. So I was trying to do a little extra research before this podcast, because not everybody who is going to listen in knows you yet, so I really want to have you share your authentic story and the wisdom that I know you’re really here to share with the world. Because the platform that I’m sitting on is really big, and we need more of you. [laugh] That’s how I feel. We need more of you. I went on your website and I wanted to read your bio, and then have you explain because I thought that was so amazing.

Ashley: Okay.

Rachel: So, on your website your bio says: “Ashley empowers humans and helps facilitate the remembrance of our own divinity through her empathic intuitive channeling of the source energy. Ashley is a revolutionary healer in the field of matrilineal truth. Her teacher training program includes scholarships for domestic violence and sexual exploitation survivors, based on her original mission to help heal the wound of the Earths moon channel, fueled by her own survival.”

Ashley: Yes.

Rachel: Could you share a little bit what this is about?

Ashley: Yeah. So I grew up kind of in what I would say … a pretty materialistic world. I watched television and had magazines and I ate, you know, fast food and was in a regular school. I also was kind of mixed in with another kind of religious community as well that I don’t really want to call them out because I love all religion, and I think people worshipping anything is beautiful, so … But it was a little bit, maybe, patriarchal. Which is kind of a term we say that it’s too masculine. There wasn’t really the goddess, the representation of the divine feminine within this religion. And I would look around at the pictures on the wall in school thinking there was this thing you would go to in school called seminary, and it was like church during school. So I would look around and think, “Where’s the women? Why are the women not there?” That was kind of my first inclinations or thoughts about, “This is unbalanced.”

I started having problems with my body image and self-worth at a pretty young age. My parents were divorced when I was young, and I went back and forth between my parents. I felt kind of lonely. My friendships weren’t that great because I could never make any. It’s like in the summertime I would leave. People want to stay friends with people that are around, no people who leave to go to their dad’s all summer. And I was alone when I was with my dad, so I got into mischief. My dad had porn things, I watched porn at a young age, and I think that really messed with my mind. And I watched music videos. And long story short, I wanted to become a model. I thought that that was going to be the thing that would help me be free to, I think, escape the religious … the non-freedom in the religion. I wanted out of there. And I didn’t really know how I was going to do it, but I wanted to be a model. And this led to a distortion of my lifestyle. I focused on becoming skinny.

Rachel: How old were you at the time?

Ashley: It started at around 8.

Rachel: That early!?

Ashley: Uh-huh. Yeah. I wanted to lose weight. I remember being in gymnastics and looking around and thinking, “I’d like to lose weight. I’d like my feet to be different, I’d like my arms to be different.” Picking apart my body in a kind of dysmorphia type way. I remember I thought my nose was too big and my boobs were too small and my stomach was too big. I could pick apart my whole body. By 12 I was finding things like Dexatrim which was an over the counter pill that gives you energy to lose weight. And, I mean, honestly it’s like a legal form of crack, in my opinion. The first time I took it I de-wallpapered my bathroom. It was so much energy, just insanity. I started working out with a personal trainer. My mother was a model when she was young, so she was sympathetic with my woes to want to lose weight. She had never told me, “You’re crazy, let’s take you to an eating disorder clinic.” She thought, “Okay, yeah, I’ll help you.” And she bought me a personal trainer, and that messed me up even more. I was kind of working out two times a day and on these weird fad diets, like, eat everything you want for three days and then … Or eat this way for three days and then trick your system by eating everything you want one day … if anyone’s ever heard of this kind of stuff. And then I really really wanted out of there, and by 17 I was out of there. I left and went to L.A. It was an interesting journey, but full of some faded, amazing things too. I became a runner for a really famous band. A runner is where you go get drinks and snacks while they’re … And I fell in love with the lead singer and moved to New York and actually ended up being with his best friend, who was the lead singer of another band, for three years. And that world was a little bit dark and I toured around with them. I was still modeling. I did book some cool things, and I did book some amazing dance gigs, but it was really bad when I was about 19 in New York City, wanting to lose weight desperately. This kind of imaginary 15 pounds that I had wanted to lose for a decade.

[09:53] Rachel: That weren’t really there.

Ashley: I mean, maybe it was? But probably not. I don’t really know. Looking back, there’s some photos I look back and think, “Damn, my body was good! I wish I would have been happy.”

Rachel: But isn’t that always the case?

Ashley: Exactly, yeah. So I was frustrated, and my best friend at the time, who is actually still my really really close good girlfriend said, you know, “You know, you should just try coke. You’ll lose all the weight you want in like a couple of weeks.”

Rachel: Cocaine.

Ashley: Mmhm. And I had never done anything like this. I had drank a little bit. But I was kind of just so focused on losing weight and wanting to make money as a model that … And I got straight A’s in school by the way. I was not not doing well in school. I was just … that was easy for me. I could just do that. I had this ability to really focus in intensely on their weight thing. Anyways, fast forward to New York, I did the cocaine. I was bottle service waitressing to make money, which is a very bizarre world where you work with celebrities and you give them these fancy bottles of alcohol for money in the clubs, and that’s how I got it the first time. And I didn’t tell anyone, of course. I didn’t even really know what it was. I was very sheltered. I had no idea. I had never seen movies with it or-

Rachel: So you got into drugs not as a way to party or for fun, but-

Ashley: Absolutely not. I told Jessica, “Never tell anyone.” Here I am telling the world. I was so embarrassed. Never tell anyone. This is a bad girl thing. I’m a good girl. I’m a straight A student, I’m a model, right? So I would do it in the bathroom before going to the gym.

Rachel: Before going to the gym?

Ashley: I would workout on cocaine. How crazy.

Rachel: This is the most insane thing I’ve ever heard in my life.

Ashley: Yes, no, it was insane. And it worked. I lost weight. The agencies congratulated me. But then it got bad. I got addicted and I started not being able to even make auditions, you know? And falling down the stairs, or … My personality, I guess, is just really extreme. Once I find something that I’m doing or focusing on, it goes really intensely.

[11:55] Rachel: How long did this last?

Ashley: I got an idea that I should… I was running out of money. The drug wants you to keep taking it, of course, because you build the pathway in your brain that deals with the toxin, and then when you take it away, that’s what screams out for its toxin. So it kind of takes your soul too, I feel. Oh, I’m not done with this story. This is a dark one. Are you ready? [laugh]

Rachel: Yeah, I’m ready.

Ashley: So I got the idea to traffic the drug by going to the Caribbean with this really rich man who offered me just to go to the Caribbean with him. There was no sexual, I found out later of course he was going to date me for 20 years and then marry me, that was his plan. But I thought it was just like I’m a fancy girl on his arm. Like renting a model, basically, is what it was. But I went to St. Martin, an island in the French West Indies.

Rachel: Not too far away from here.

Ashley: No, not to far … That’s why it’s a funny leyline to be on. A leyline is an energetic cord in the earth the corresponds to different times in your life, and different PowerPoints in your astrology. So I trafficked the drug. Went to the ghetto, got the drug, trafficked it, sold it in New York. Crazy. Got super addicted because I had this huge stash. And this took my soul. It literally took my soul out of my body. It was functioning on this planet, but I wasn’t in my body. And I didn’t know how I was going to make money and how I was going to survive, and god forbid how I was going to keep skinny.

[13:19] Rachel: That was the most important thing.

Ashley: Ultimate goal was to keep that weight off. Even though I was literally dying. Lying to my boyfriend, who I loved dearly. I could live these two lives. This lie at this time. It was very bizarre. Had a fancy apartment, how was I going to pay for this? This was where the wound of many lifetimes came in, and this is the part that took me many years to heal from because of the shame involved. But I … Does anyone know there’s a sexy Craigslist? There’s like an underground sexy Craigslist, and I posted an ad and took a lot of cocaine and started really selling my body. Like, I was kind of a high class hooker is what I would call it.

Rachel: And how old were you here?

Ashley: I was 19.

Rachel: 19.

Ashley: Yeah. And I got into some sticky situations. It was pretty dark, it was very intense. Felt very past life. It’s oddly not much different from what I do now. [laugh]

Rachel: I’d say it’s very different. [laugh]

Ashley: It’s different, but it felt very magical in some ways. I was a dancer, I would massage them. I do these things now. I was a dancer, I do body work. It wasn’t too far away, but it was because it was on drugs, and then it involved that other part that I didn’t, you know … Yeah. So that was very wounding for me, and for many years I had that shame that I dealt with.

Rachel: Were you aware of it at the time? Was there a moment that you could kind of step out of it and-

Ashley: Oh no.

Rachel: No.

Ashley: No, I would do cocaine for eight days straight, fall over dead for two, get up, call my dealer. It was dark. I wasn’t a social … I was all alone the entire time. My parents did not know what I was doing or where I was. God forbid they ever listen to this, because it would just hurt my mother. And I can’t really tell people my story, my friends … It makes people uncomfortable, my story.

Rachel: But it’s real.

Ashley: It is. It really happened to me.

Rachel: And this is the reality, not for-

Ashley: I created it more, but I … I feel that it was the obsessions of being thin that pushed me to that level and then, you know, cocaine will mess up anyone. And the amounts that I was doing, my ability to do it so intensely. I mean, you see the way I practice yoga. It’s not … I do both, very subtle yoga, but I can really do some shapes. I can make some shapes and I’m powerful.

Rachel: You’re an all in type of person.

Ashley: I’m all in. So I was all into that. It was very scary, it was very weird. It got to the point where I did not want to do that anymore and I got a dog. The universe led me to my French bulldog puppy, and it felt like a baby. So, I only had one other battle with it over a weekend, maybe when my dog was a few months old. That was my last time ever, because she actually got sick, and I just vowed to never do anything that would make it so I wouldn’t be able to protect her again. And that was the ending for me. But it was about almost a year.

[16:04] Rachel: Was that a conscious awakening you feel? Together with her?

Ashley: It was love. It was true love. She came to save me, and I definitely downloaded that, that she was an alien from another planet who literally came to save me. It was me caring about her. I couldn’t care about myself enough, but she helped me realize, “Oh, I need to love myself so that I’m there for her.” And then I moved to San Francisco and unfortunately got into an abusive relationship. The guy that I was with, in the beginning was great, but then he had neck surgery, and he had a history of drugs. I wasn’t on drugs anymore, but he had been. So I kind of attracted what I had been. And his Vicodin and Norco addiction led to abuse. And I had a really hard situation where we were fighting. It does take two to tango, and I think back and I would like to share with anyone, if you’re in any situations where you’re fighting, either go into child’s pose or run. Do not fight back. Do no defend yourself, unless it’s life threatening. But really try to just get out of there if you are in a dark situation like that. Don’t keep going with the person. Don’t bite them to get away. Just go into child’s pose or run. So, I did defend myself in a fight and the cops were called and I went to jail. And the bruises were showing up for days after this.

Rachel: But you were the one who ended up in jail, not him.

Ashley: Of course. And of course right when I got there I called him and begged him, because I loved him, to come get me. It’s that same … It’s that abused girl syndrome. I called my girlfriend after five days, I couldn’t stand it anymore, I wanted out. And she made him come get me out. I went back to him. I literally was still with him for a while after that. And the weirdest thing about that time is I remember calling my mom in the jail cell saying, “Mom, I really want to get out of here. I’m in an orange jumpsuit. There’s a crack head in my cell. I’m eating bologna. Please.” She said to me, “I’ll bail you out, or I’ll pay for that yoga teacher training that you wanted to do.”

Rachel: One or the other.

Ashley: Uh-huh. And I said, “Okay, I want to do the training. I’ll stay in here until they let me out.”

Rachel: I’ll stay in jail. I want to do the yoga teacher training.

Ashley: And I wrote a letter to myself-

[18:20] Rachel: Hold up, hold up. So how long before this had you gotten into yoga?

Ashley: I was 22 at that time. My first yoga class was 18, I had gone on a trip to Hawaii with a friend and taken a class. I remember there were mirrors because it was like a Bikram style class. And I remember the ego, I thought, “Oh, I’m good at this.” Like a forward fold.

Rachel: [laugh] I’m flexible, I can do it.

Ashley: Yeah. And no, it didn’t stick though. And I actually studied with Dharma Mittra because he’s around the block from my apartment and all the staff during my time in New York. But it didn’t ever really stick. I was trying to relax. My personal trainer would say, “You are too tense. You need to relax.” And so that’s why I would go to yoga.

Rachel: Was this during the same time you were still taking drugs?

Ashley: Yeah, well I only did the drugs for the one year out of a four-and-a-half-year period of being in New York. Or three and a half. But a lot of traveling too because I was trying to be, I think, a rock star in some way. That ego wants to-

Rachel: But yoga was there kind of on the sidelines.

Ashley: It was there a little bit, yeah. And as a child I danced naturally and stretched in my room. I would come home from school and turn on music and stretch. That’s what I did. I sat in the middle splits. And I watched TV too, but sitting in the middle splits or stretching always. I’ve been a natural, very body-oriented. And I danced as a child. Not really a child but as a teenager I got into dance. So anyways, after-

[19:41] Rachel: Teacher training.

Ashley: Yeah, so after that jail experience, I remember writing myself a letter and channeling really from the universe, like, “I put you in here because you had to get away from him and you wouldn’t leave. So this is your obvious sign from the universe that this isn’t healthy for you and you need to get out of this. This is not good.” So I went to L.A. with him, actually, and then from there I did the yoga teacher training.

Rachel: What a trip.

Ashley: I smoked my last cigarette.

Rachel: I’ll bail you out of jail or pay for your yoga teacher training. That’s giving me goose bumps right now.

Ashley: That was hardcore. That was hardcore moment. But I do look back and I think my mom was probably doing the right thing. I don't know.

Rachel: Oh, I mean, if she hadn’t, what if she bailed you out and then no teacher training?

Ashley: Yeah. But I mean maybe she could have bailed me out and I could have gone to the teacher training.

Rachel: I don't know.

Ashley: I wish it would have been her bailing me out and not him.

Rachel: Right.

Ashley: But it’s all good. I wish a lot of things. And we have to let go and move on. So I did the training and I smoked my last cigarette on the way to the training. But then I was really a natural at it. I really loved it, I connected deeply with my teacher, and the nature activated me and I realized that that’s what I had been missing. This whole time I had been living in New York City and L.A. and trying to find all of these external gratifications, you know, wanting to have money, wanting to be thin, wanting to be beautiful. It was really ultimately wanting to be free. I think I want freedom, but because of the programmings of society, I didn’t know how to get that in an empowered way. And I was really programmed to be what I call a sexbot, where you walk around trying to be sexy, thinking about sex. And I’m definitely not like that anymore, so I know it was a frequency that was not something that I created, it was outside of me that was coming through the wavelengths, and I picked up on it and it really deeply affected me. And also maybe watching the porn as a young girl in my 12, 13, 14 … I think that really affected how I viewed sex and sexuality. Also growing up in the … really Mormonism world that’s distorted too, the divine sex and sexuality. Sex isn’t bad, it’s holy. It’s not naughty, it’s beautiful. It’s a sacred, holy moment. So the yoga training was very very activating. Just being in nature, that training you live in a yurt and you shower in a waterfall and you practice every day and you meditate every morning and you hike through nature. It really awakened me. I was terrified to teach. Terrified. And I threw up before my first class in the console of the car, I was so nervous. At a gym. I did not know what I was doing. It was a bunch of old ladies at a gym, and they were so sweet and just grateful to practice, so it worked out well. But after a few months of taking care of my father, my father had eye surgeries and many problems with his health, after a few months of that I decided, “I gotta get out of here, I’m moving to L.A.”

I lived in a garage and started studying with Shiva Rey, who was a huge activator for me. For many years I studied with her and work traded to do her training and assist her training. And I was really on the rise. In L.A. I had a lot of luck and I had a lot of beautiful moments and big sold out classes, and my words of empowerment were resonating with the people. I didn’t really know what I was doing yet. I was still just in the flow of it. But I didn’t have a mission or a plan yet, but I just was telling people, “Yoga and meditation can heal you. You can breathe your way back to health. You can relax your way into a beautiful life. You don’t have to be stressed out and you’re not your past. Every day is a new day, really.”

[23:31] Rachel: Could you feel really then how everything you’d been through in your past, all those really dark, challenging moments, how the brought you there?

Ashley: Yes. However, the commercial yoga world that I was starting to get successful in, starting in, tiny bits, it was not a big success … but I had good classes and I felt that the people in the community were responsive to me, and also the yoga teachers in the community were noticing me. But, it was almost this, like, remembrance of wanting to be famous. Wanting to be a model. Wanting to be successful. It pushed those same buttons. And I have a yoga cover. I was on the cover of a magazine.

Rachel: I think this is around the same time that I found you for the first time. I mean, you didn’t know who I was back then.

Ashley: I was pregnant in the photo and had an abortion.

Rachel: Yeah, I know that cover, it’s uh …

Ashley: Let’s not say it. [laugh]

Rachel: Let’s not say it! Okay, okay. It’s, uh … It’s a gorgeous cover.

Ashley: It’s a gorgeous cover, but I’m just saying I was not healed yet. I was really still in this trying to be something … I was trying to survive. I was trying to survive. But it wasn’t rooted in what I’m rooted in now, which is divine love and sacred spirituality.

Rachel: And how was your experience in the community? Did you make friends? Did you have a tone of yoga teacher friends?

Ashley: I had kind of a high ego. I really wanted to be the athletic … known as the very athletic one that could maybe do it all, the superhuman. I could care less now. The poses I do now, it might seem like they’re hard, but they’re not, for me. Back in the day I was really really athletic. And I was a gymnast, so I have some body awareness that most yoga people would not have. It’s … yeah. But I had some cool friends in the community. But mostly I was a loaner I would say. I’m quite different. And there was that shame of, “Oh, what if they find out about me,” you know? About my past, about who I am. And-

[25:27] Rachel: Because there’s this thing I feel in the yoga community how everybody is so pure, right? I’m holier than thou. I’m here to preach, I’m here to show you the way. And I remember feeling like that too, more than once.

Ashley: I call it pious.

Rachel: Pious, that’s a really good word, yeah. But I mean there’s something in it though. I’ve realized this in the more recent years, but the deeper shit you’ve been in, the greater the teacher you are. There’s just … there’s no other way. If you haven’t walked through the fire, you don’t know what you’re teaching. Well what are you talking about? What are you saying, really? How can you really own those teaching if you haven’t felt the pain?

Ashley: Exactly. And they do say that, that the lightest people are actually the darkest. It’s that darkness that brings … you have to step through.

Rachel: You have to step through, yeah. And there’s also something … I mean a big thing I think is exposing it. That’s a really big part of my teaching is stepping into the wound, right? Opening up, exposing the wound. This is my pain, this is my past. This is the shit that really fucking hurts, and I made it through.

Ashley: Yeah, yes. I made it through. So it was kind of triggering me, that commercial yoga world. I feel like it was feeding my ego a little bit. It was hard. I was really wanting to be commercial at that time. I wanted commercial success. How could I do this? But it did push me to do things like my first retreat at age 25, and I had great luck with that. So it was like the universe told me with 25 sign-ups, “Keep going, you can do this.” My classes were doing really well. And then I had that relationship where I had the pregnancy, and that was pretty hard. I had had a relationship one year before that that had broke my heart, and I think that’s why I got involved with someone else, because rebound. You know? And then he was a really nice guy and friend of mine to this day, and also a famous yoga teacher so we won’t tell who he is, but we were handstand buddies and it was great. And that experience was … I would say really healing for me too, just hanging out with him. So it wasn’t all bad. And that year was really good.

But then I felt really called to move to nature. I had been traveling to this town, Topanga, for a while-

Rachel: But you didn’t have the baby.

Ashley: Oh no, this was way before the baby. Yeah, this was when I was about 25, 26. 25. And I started going to Topanga and loving it, and I decided I really wanted to move there. And I moved there, and the day I moved there, it was kind of my kick my butt out of the city initiation moment … The day I moved there I drove back to Santa Monica to by a new iPod because mine had broken and I had a yoga class to teach at Exhale, the famous, amazing studio where all of my mentors worked. And I get pulled over by a meter man. Or no. I pulled over to write a text. I hear my father’s words, “Don’t text and drive.” So I pulled over, but I pulled over next to a fire hydrant, and this guy comes and knocks on this window, this meter man guy, and he says, “Move your fucking vehicle.” And it triggered me, and I looked at him and said, “What makes you think you can talk to a woman like that?” And he got behind me and started writing a ticket. And here comes my fire. I get out of the car, I walk over to him and I grab this piece of paper.

Rachel: Out of his hand.

Ashley: He pushed me against my vehicle. My head bounces on the car, I get a concussion. Adrenaline surges through me. I wrap my arms around him. Move him. I’m at the peak of my strength at this point. Move him, jump in my car and drive away. Six policemen on bikes and cars pull me over. The guy had yelled, “Assault, assault. I’m being assaulted,” when I moved him. So then they’re charging me with manslaughter with a deadly weapon. My car. The government.

Rachel: Not manslaughter. Something else.

Ashley: Attempted manslaughter, thank you.

Rachel: Oh my god.

Ashley: No, crazy, like I tried to run him over when I just was trying to get away. So it’s these faded things. I was in jail, I had to call my boss later. Obviously I couldn’t call her in jail. My client who thank goddess I had this lawyer client in Beverley Hills for years … Bails me out. Finds me a criminal attorney who has to spend a year in court. Again I’m meditating in my jail cell going, “This reminds me of my past. What the fuck is this? Why am I here now? What is this teaching?” I’ll tell you the teaching. There are crazy people in this world. If someone is crazy to you, smile pretty and runny away.

Rachel: [laugh] Go into child’s pose or run.

Ashley: Do not say anything back! Do not be fiery back. They can pull out a gun and shoot you in the face. Do you know what I’m saying? Do not be fiery to these people in this society that are, you know-

[30:00] Rachel: But this connects back to the trauma and abuse survival. I asked you Instagram before this podcast, people wanted to ask some questions, and I got a lot of questions from trauma and abuse survivors who want to know, you know, do you have any advice, how do I break free and how do I actually rid myself of this pain?

Ashley: It’s all through self-love and your connection to divine love, which is the current of life that’s flowing through everything at all times. Love is everywhere, love is everything. And we can talk about when we ask the question about why should we bring children into the world if there’s so much darkness in the world, it’s because there’s infinitely everything always. There’s infinite darkness. It’s always going to be there. It will always be this violence, this pain. But you don’t have to focus on it.

Rachel: Because there’s also infinite light.

Ashley: Because there’s infinite love and light. And like our teacher Terrence McKenna speaks, anywhere you want to put your dipstick. This is an infinite universe. What you focus on is where the energy flows. Now, I find it good to not only focus on love and light, because then you’re leaving people in the dust who need help. It’s about equality for all. So it’s a balance. How can I help? And how can I also relax and live my life? Because we’re infinite beings that reincarnate. We’re always going to choose to come back. We actually want to be here in these bodies. I didn’t realize this until many many years later. I didn’t believe that I wanted to be here. How could anyone want to be on this planet? This is the most fucked up place ever, and bad things happen to good people. It’s really hard.

Rachel: Do you feel like things are worse right now?

Ashley: In the world?

Rachel: In the world with the political situation, everything that’s happening.

Ashley: Not me. I got really upset years ago about how messed up it is, and I realized the women’s consciousness is taken from this societal frequency that’s being pumped through the airwaves, through the television waves. It’s really designed to make us feel unworthy so that we’ll by product to fix ourselves. That’s why I grow my armpit hair, because spirit told me people thing their hair is gross. This is the distortion. I’m not saying don’t shave your armpit hair, but maybe be cool with it if you have it. Maybe let it grow and be like, “Oh yeah, it’s pretty. It’s just like the hair on my head.” And then shave it if you want to, you know?

[32:26] Rachel: But I feel like there’s … specifically now, I mean, in the U.S. also and what’s going on politically and in the whole world, with so much pain, I get this question a lot, like, how can you choose to not focus on this? How can you continue on? And I had the same feeling. I don’t think … I don’t feel like it’s worse right now. There’s always horrible, fucked up shit happening in the world. There’s always war. There’s always something. It’s just it’s a little more in our face, I think through social media-

Ashley: And they use it to control us. They focus on the hardcore things that are happening, and I think they even create a lot of the hardcore things that are happening to keep us living in fear, because fear is controllable, love is not. Love spreads around everything. Fear contracts and keeps people controlled.

Rachel: And separated.

Ashley: And separated. Keeps the really wealthy people really wealthy and the poor people really poor and, you know, there’s injustices going on all over the world. How can we help? We help. But we can’t help if we’re bummed.

Rachel: Exactly. We can’t help if we’re hopeless, if we’re …

Ashley: Not at all. And look at things that happen every day that are a miracle. Look at your baby. Look at my babies. Look at these beautiful children being birthed that want to have a happy life. We have to give them good vibes. They want to live too and live their souls’ destinies.

Rachel: That, if anything … That was another question we received, yeah, how can we justify having more babies and bringing these beautiful beings of light into the world if the world is this dark? I think that’s a reason to continue doing that. I mean, we’re birthing this new generation now that is, I feel at least, full of more life. That has it a little bit easier, to challenge this and to develop their consciousness. I was talking to my mom about this yesterday, how she comes from a really troubled past, my grandma came from a troubled past, I had a really shit time when I was little, and all of the sudden here, together, we’ve manifested this reality where my baby is not, you know, going to be messed up. As it is right now I have all the support I need, I have the wisdom I need. I really feel like this is the most perfect way, the perfect place for her to be born, because everything is good. I’m not going through some trauma, there’s no panic in my life the way there was when I was little, when my mom was little, when my grandma was little. There was this trauma happening, you know, when we were born. And now there’s not. I have the feeling like it had to unfold that way for us to learn the lessons so that Lea Luna could be born into this peaceful place, you know? And I bet she’s going to grow up and be this badass women, you know what I mean?

Ashley: She already is.

Rachel: Yeah, she already is. But hopefully won’t need to go through that trauma to learn the lessons, right? And I think that’s bringing about a whole new type of person.

Ashley: I was talking to Joey today and I just said, “What’s your struggle? What’s your mountain you’re climbing?

Rachel: Joey is our oneOeight producer.

Ashley: He’s like, “I don’t have any.” He said, “My life’s been amazing. My childhood was beautiful and I love my life and I really don’t feel …” And I thought, I think there are some people out there that really do have that journey, and that’s beautiful. Not everything is bad in the world. There are bad things in the world, but let’s watch television programs that don’t perpetuate fear. Get this violence out of your consciousness, and look at nature. Nature is not changing. That tree doesn’t change when with have a hardcore experience come into our life. So breathe the peaceful energy of the tree and be the tree and stand strong in the wind. I feel we can do that with any situation in this world. Let yourself feel, because feeling is healing. But we don’t need to be so upset that there’s hard things happening, we just have to be a little bit more creative with how we are going to heal the world.

[36:03] Rachel: Right. And we have to, you know. If we get too absorbed with the darkness, then we stop acting. We stop taking action. We stop bringing about more of the light that we need. So I think being aware of the darkness is a huge piece. We can’t ignore it and pretend it’s all butterflies and rainbows when it’s not, but we need to stay with the good things.

Ashley: And like you and I, our work is to really bring light into those dark places. For me I’m here to help women, and men, but I work really well with women. Men too. But I feel if you’ve been through a lot of dark things, I want to help you. I want to support you. I want to show you that you can heal. You can change your body on a cellular level. I’ve had two knee surgeries. My name is amazing! I have an amazing knee. Not from the surgeries but from my high vibrational work with the energy of my knee and speaking the thoughts into reality that I want to create, and the miofascial release techniques that I use to keep the quads open, to stretching and nowhere when to sit and not walk too much and not stand too much. You know, just living a more therapeutic life. I feel everything I’ve been through is to help me learn what true self care is, and to take these self care initiatives every day into a ritualistic lifestyle. To turn my mind into a giant yoga prayer, you know? A puja in the morning, noon, and night.

[Commercial Break]

[38:37] Rachel: If you follow Ashley on Instagram, she’s OGYogini on Instagram, I think this is what is so intriguing to your followers … because really when it comes to this practice, yoga and meditation, miofascial work that you do, you live and breathe it. It’s not like you get up, you do your 90 minutes of yoga in the morning and then you’re done, and then the next comes, you practice again. But out of at least, I think, most teachers I know, you’re the one who really lives this practice. And you’re always doing yoga.

Ashley: Yeah, and nature’s been healing to me. And I would like to add that, you know, the plant medicines have been an extreme healer for me, and all of the plants and all of the herbs that I’ve been introduced to since the age of 22. I had an experience a plant we all know really well, the ganja. Ganja is a Sanskrit word. It means clever or intelligence. Other people call it cannabis. It’s a plant that’s becoming more available I feel. But it’s also Ma in ancient China. In ancient Chinese medicine, it’s literally called Ma. So I it’s for the mother, for women’s issues. It really helps women. And I think it’s really really good for us to talk about it, because at 22 I had it for the first time, and I looked in the mirror and I kid you not my brain fused and I saw my reflection. My true reflection. My whole life I saw something different than I saw in that moment. I thought, “[gasp] I’m normal.” I didn’t think, “Oh, you’re beautiful, oh you’re thin.” I thought, “I’m normal. I’m a normal person. I’m not like this obese, ugly … I’m just normal.” It really, really opened my eyes. And then later with the knee surgeries, it really helped me slow down. It helps my mind soften. I’ve been activated with the ayahuasca one time. That was healing for me. I doubled over with love for my children. Spirit taught me about magic, the elements being our tools. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water really being our tools of divinity, that every moment is divine, and we are literally angels walking around, all of us. I mean, isn’t it mind-blowing that you just dropped a baby from another dimension?

Rachel: [laugh] That’s kind of mind-blowing, yeah.

Ashley: It’s mind-blowing. And if every woman was aware that they’re … I mean, I think some spiritual and religious women are, but we need to reconnect to our spirituality, which is right here, right now, on the earth, with what we’ve got. The sunshine, the sand, the flowers, the snow, the rain, the elements.

Rachel: You know, someone asked me if you could describe your birthing experience with one word, what would it be? Is it positive, is it negative? What is it? I said, “I can’t label it like that.” The one thing that kind of comes back to my mind is it felt outer-worldly. I mean, it felt absolutely divine, you know? It didn’t feel like a human thing. It didn’t feel like … It literally blew my mind wide open. And I’m the type of person, I like to do research with everything I do. Like, really like mind research. I read a lot, I study a lot. I’ll Google, just really ask people for advice. I’m really into that. Preparing for whatever I’m doing. And I’m kind of a control freak in that way. And I mean, there’s no way you can prepare for anything like that. You can’t prepare to give birth. It’s not possible. In my mind I thought, “I’m so ready. I’m going to do it this and this and this and that way.” I had no clue, because it’s not a thing of the mind, right? It’s not even a human thing. It’s literally a divine experience and you can’t prep for that.

Ashley: And that’s actually a macrocosm of what’s really going on. Every moment is divine. Every moment. Every exchange, it’s magic. The fact that my heart is pumping blood right now while we speak, and I’m breathing without trying, it’s all incredible. It’s mind-blowing that we get to be here and we get to have these bodies. And we choose it, and we created it. And we’ve done it for lifetimes.

[42:37] Rachel: That’s a big … you know, realizing that we choose this, there’s something really conscious about us being here in these bodies, in this moment, whether or not we look at these bodies and we fucking love them or we fucking hate them, or our circumstance, if it’s bad or good or whatever we’re thinking in the moment. But we’re here for a reason, right?

Ashley: Yes. And the confirmation that you’re here for a reason changes everything.

Rachel: Well it’s that you’re here.

Ashley: Yeah. If you’re a person on this planet with a soul and a body, which if you’re a person on this planet, you have a should and your body, you’re here for a reason. You have a spiritual reason for being here. A dharma we call it in yoga.

[43:12] Rachel: Let’s talk about the babies. So-

Ashley: Yeah, that’s actually how this story goes. After that I was in Topanga and I met … a couple of years later I met the father of my children, and it was … not love at first sight, but definitely there was an energy there. There was magic there, and it felt really … He reminded me of someone I had known and loved. And I think it was definitely past life, because the energy was powerful. We actually broke up, and then I was pregnant. And so he broke up with me, and then I was pregnant, so he decided to stay with me, which is not the fairytale that anybody wants. And he said yes to the … my proposal, basically, of let’s be a family. You know, “I love you, let’s be a family.” I definitely didn’t do everything right in that relationship, but it definitely wasn’t right from the beginning

Rachel: And how was that pregnancy?

Ashley: That pregnancy was good. I was really in my yoga. I was in nature. I was … I was powerful in a lot of ways at that time. My first thought when I got pregnant was, “You should do this alone.” And I thought, “No, I can’t do that. What are you talking about? I want a midwife.” And I went to try to find midwives, tried to find midwives for many months. I didn’t even find my midwife until I was seven months pregnant. Then they were trained by the Medical Association of California, which is normal for midwifery at this point. They were very nervous when my water broke and had me drink castor oil and I ended up transferring to the hospital and having her there, because I needed fluids. So I had that one baby in the hospital. Which was kind of hard for me because-

Rachel: It’s not what you planned.

Ashley: I had built a white birth temple above my hot tube. I was really bummed.

Rachel: You planned too.

Ashley: Yeah. And then we had that experience, and I actually tore. And it was very painful. And I remember crying in the shower a couple of weeks later, just, “Why, why, why, why do I have to have this, why?” I can’t even pee. You know? It was probably a week later. And universe told me you need to know the pain of the divine feminine. You need to really embody this and know it. You’re here to help heal this wound on the earth and what this is all about. I remember having dreams as well of … this is kind of scary, but when I was pregnant I had this really powerful dream. I’m not really a dreamer. Not a Pisces or anything. I don’t dream all night and do all these dreams. When I dream it’s very very intense, vivid, and it’s a message from the universe. I had this dream I was in a velvet room with all of these women, and we kept being sucked down to be sexual slaves and then put back up in this velvet room. And that dream came to me in the shower that day. And it just reminded me, you know, sexual slavery, sexual imprisonment. There’s a theme here on this planet with the third eyes of the women and you’re here to help. Keep going. Keep investigating this theme. Nine months later, I’m pregnant again. We literally made love once.

Rachel: Once.

Ashley: One time.

Rachel: That’s all it took.

Ashley: It was so fated. And immediately following that birth there was-

Rachel: So how … this pregnancy I know is really different from your first one. For this pregnancy you didn’t have any ultrasounds.

Ashley: My first thought upon pregnancy again … You get to do it your way. My first time was doing it alone. This time universe told me, “You get to do this your way.” And I had realized I’m more like a tiger. Some women are like an elephant. They want to be surrounded by the other elephants at birth. I’m like a tiger, I want to be alone and go into my cave. So … and I really didn’t love the process of ultrasounds. I did them alone. I didn’t love going to the doctor and getting all of my blood tests and all these things. So I just did all that stuff. I had just done it with my midwife as well, so I just did all that stuff on my own. I tested my urine to make sure I had-

Rachel: You didn’t see any doctors or anything.

Ashley: Not one.

Rachel: Not one.

Ashley: Not one. And I actually kind of hid from friends and family because people thought I was crazy. Even Shiva Rea told me, “Oh no, honey, you need to get a midwife.”

Rachel: You need someone.

Ashley: But I didn’t, and I ended up delivering her basically alone. I mean, the father was there, but in and out of the room. I had him get in the tub when … I did it in a pool of water. In a treehouse, I lived in a treehouse at the time. And that pregnancy was actually pretty painful. It was very very … My pubic bone, remember I told you about that? I had the pubic symphysis diastasis, which in the Louise Hays book, the woman I study under, that’s protection from a sexual mate. And I had that the entire pregnancy. That wasn’t just like a little tiny moment like in yours. It was really the entire pregnancy. So I look back and think, “Wow, symbolic.” But that birth was spiritual ecstasy. It really was. It was a two hour and 45-minute process. Four in the morning I felt the energy moving through me, what I call electric fish scales moving down my body. And I just followed my intuition. Spirit told me, “If you desire it, it’s right.” So, I got in the tub when I felt like, “Okay, maybe this is it.” And I reached up and felt her head and I thought, “Is that me or the head? Okay, that’s the head, she’s here.” And then, yeah, it was just amazing. Ate my placenta in smoothies, which is kind of weird I think for this community, but it’s really one of the highest-

[48:34] Rachel: You know what they recommended me here, my midwife told me you eat it raw, cut it up in cubes, dip it in honey and just swallow the whole thing hole. I don’t meat [laugh], this is really intense for me. So you helped me, yeah.

Ashley: I just put it in a smoothie.

Rachel: I dehydrated mine and I’m eating these little capsules now that’s very, you know …

Ashley: It’s very good for you. It’s even sold on the black market if you do any research you can find out that eating placenta is one of-

Rachel: Right, all mammals do it.

Ashley: It’s the oldest medicine in the book, and it’s really really beneficial for blood loss, depression.

Rachel: I think anyone who is listening right now who maybe had or is having a more conventional experience where, you know, birth can be so institutionalized. We’re in a hospital, everything is really controlled. I, at least, had the feeling that, or the experience that I felt almost like my power could be taken away, which was a huge reason why I didn’t want to be at the hospital, I wanted to be home, because I wanted to be empowered and like I am the one in charge here. Not people in these white coats.

Ashley: Exactly.

Rachel: But anyone listening now might think that you’re absolutely batshit crazy.

Ashley: Mmhm, yeah.

[49:40] Rachel: [laugh] I mean, how do you react to that?

Ashley: Um … I think we really need to widen our perspectives and open our eyes to the infinite possibilities of this universe and recognize that birth has been happening for thousands of lifetimes, way before … I mean even if you want to say hundreds of years. Whatever you want to say. However, you want to connect to that. But definitely hospital birth wasn’t even a thing until the 1920s. Really. It started in the ‘20s, and it’s an industrialized business. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. I feel women should have a hospital birth if that’s what their soul is calling to do. They are connected to the baby, the baby knows. It’s all fated. So if you are going to have a complication, it’s better to be at the hospital, I feel, than home, obviously.

Rachel: Obviously, yeah.

Ashley: But to have the freedom to choose and to have the instinctual power to know what you want, to even consider what you want. What do I want?

Rachel: Right, there are options out there.

Ashley: That’s a new concept for me.

Rachel: I really really … wherever you feel the safest, right? Wherever you feel most at peace. And for a lot of people that is the hospital, would feel totally unsafe to do that at home.

Ashley: And there are some practices at the hospital that I definitely don’t agree with, and I think that we need to infiltrate the system, and as yoga teachers, I just have one of these students recently who is a nurse at San Francisco General. So, it’s happening. My students are infiltrating the system. And if we incarnate in these cities and in these areas, and then we can learn from nature and learn from these nurturing practices and implement those into the system, it’ll be all good. But it’s about the grandmother medicine. It’s our ancestral wisdom that needs to be reclaimed. There’s nothing wrong with hospital birth, that’s too general. That’s way too general.

Rachel: You can be empowered and have … I had the experience where after 18 hours of laboring at home where I felt so at peace, it was the most sacred thing ever, it was my epiphany, like, “This is not going to happen here. We need to go to the hospital.” It wasn’t the midwife who told me, “You have to go.” It was me. And then 45 minutes later she was like, “Okay, wait, this baby is stuck. You’re right. We gotta go.”

Ashley: Your intuition knew.

Rachel: Right. And then the moment we got there I felt so at peace and so relaxed, because there was something … we were meant to end up there the whole time. It wasn’t the panicky thing, there was no fear. It was still everything I ever wanted. It was just … it wasn’t supposed to be the way I planned it. But I think, you know, in my home country of Sweden for instance, home birth is barely, I mean, barely exists. You tell someone there you gave birth at home, they think you’re, you know, you should be admitted to a mental institution or something. It’s crazy. Last year in Stockholm there were 86 home births out of 82,000, so 0.0 something percent. It’s sooo so so little and so unknown. And this year they implemented a new … not a law, but a new rule that every single hospital in the entire country, they force, mandatory, after you’ve given birth, whether or not you’ve torn, mandatory they give you anesthesia and numb your vagina so that they can do a really invasive exam. Mandatory, so you can’t say no.

Ashley: Okay, this is … not cool.

Rachel: Which for me feels that I’m doing so much research here and really diving into this, you know, the natural midwifery, this type of thing, and then this huge step backwards, for me just feels totally-

Ashley: I mean, even women delivering on their backs, this started in the 1500s/1600s because a king wanted to see the baby come out. So they put the woman on her back and put a screen in front of her face so he couldn’t see her. And he wanted to witness this.

Rachel: Right. And it’s easier for the doctors too, and more convenient.

Ashley: Yeah, more convenient. But it’s not … it’s really not the way for many women. For many women we need to circle our hips, we need to walk around, we need to squat, we need to stand, we need to go into the water.

Rachel: Gravity also.

Ashley: Yeah!

Rachel: Yeah.

Ashley: Yeah. We need to be able to do what we want to do. So it’s about empowering the women. And I think next level nurturing practices for the staffs of … I guess I don’t really believe in birth in a hospital, because I think birth is more sexual and more natural and more organic, and hospitals are more for people that are sick or having an emergency. So I think a birthing center is the happy medium.

Rachel: The beautiful in between, happy medium, yeah.

Ashley: For the masses really.

[53:54] Rachel: And I want to make a point to share, because whenever I go into this conversation, I feel like it’s such a sensitive thing, you know, how we give birth, how our children are brought into the world. And no matter how it’s happened, what’s important is that you feel empowered, right? That you feel at peace. It’s not about saying this is right or this is wrong, or you’re less than because XYZ, whatever birth, if it feels good for you and you feel empowered, then that was the right thing. That’s what it’s all about.

Ashley: Yes. We believe every birth is sacred. Every one!

Rachel: Right. C-Section, in the woods, unassisted, at home, whatever. It’s sacred.

Ashley: A baby is coming through the dimensions.

[54:28] Rachel: Okay. So when it comes to raising your kids, I really want to talk about that.

Ashley: Yeah.

Rachel: The idea of natural parenting. So after you had … So your first daughter’s name is Satya. And then you had Bhavani, which was your super unassisted birth in the woods, in your tree house.

Ashley: Yes, the miracle birth of ecstasy, the divine ecstasy birth I call it. Yeah, she was 10 and a half pounds as well, I might add.

Rachel: [laugh] Oh my god.

Ashley: It was no joke doing that alone, but it was very very empowering, and I really felt like, okay, we need to inspire the women of earth to take back birth, take back their power, be in their power and trust themselves. Whether that’s to go to the hospital or to have it at home or to have it with a midwife, but that we have the options and that we’re all unique. And that it’s magic. We are truly magic. And you’re not a deflated person afterwards. Your stomach does not need to go back to normal. You have a very very empowered stomach chakra now. It’s spiritually awake. And … we’re magic. All people are, but really the divine feminine is … It’s almost godly because we’re creating the human race.

Rachel: Not almost.

Ashley: It is. It’s hard to like … “I’m god.” You don’t want to say that.

Rachel: I mean, we all are! It’s really … I realize that on a whole other level. Really, like, birthing babies, it’s a god-like thing. No matter how it happens. It’s just, it is.

Ashley: No matter how it happens, it’s sacred. Yeah. And to really trust that you can have a beautiful birth, and if there’s things that happen in that birth that are not so beautiful, to recognize that it is fated, this has happened in a past life … That’s something that we really teach at Infinite Source Yoga, in my school. It’s not here we meet, it’s here we meet again. And the more you can really understand that and live from that principle, you will blast off into ascension in your own life. To wake up to the reality that this is not your first life, or your last. So, we have forever to get it right.

Rachel: We have forever to get it right! That’s comforting.

Ashley: We do! We don’t need to rush the process, because we have forever.

[56:47] Rachel: But then you stayed in Topanga.

Ashley: I stayed in Topanga for many years. I wanted out, but I was there. And then I eventually really wanted out, and I had convinced my partner at the time to move into a bus. I sold my car, got rid of almost everything I owned and moved into a 40-foot refurbished city bus that I found for $5,000.

Rachel: I remember this bus.

Ashley: I still have this bus. It’s in northern California and I love it. I have a dream to tour in the bus, because I like to take my home with me as I-

Rachel: Do you remember I was staying at this hotel-

Ashley: I remember.

Rachel: Where was it, Beverley Hills or somewhere super swanky, I can’t remember. And Ashley pulls up in the hippie bus [laugh] to this fancy hotel and we got stuck, do you remember that?

Ashley: This was our first hangout almost! Yes! And do you remember sitting across from me at the table going up that hill and we were having this major conversation?

Rachel: I know! And nothing in the bus was attached yet, so everything was flying all over the place. It was so amazing.

Ashley: It was so fun. And then also in San Francisco, I had my teacher John Benedict come and work on you, and we drove by in the bus and he got off the bus and went into your hotel. [laugh]

Rachel: [laugh] That’s amazing.

Ashley: It was hysterical! That was really funny. Yeah, the bus was a great journey, but unfortunately my partner and I, we’re not able to co-create together. It just didn’t … I mean, it’s a deep journey of why. But eventually it led to our separation, and I’ve had to pretty much raise them by myself.

Rachel: And how old are they now?

Ashley: Satya is five and Bahvani just turned four last week. So, they’re 18 months apart, and raising them in alignment with Source Energy, with Divine Love, with the earth is my number one focus. I do have a couple of little habits that are more normal, like, I do let them watch movies on … They have a hard drive with like 20 movies on it, and they can choose a movie. I try not to do that every day, but that is one of the ways that I have been able to run my teacher training is letting them watch a movie. But other than that I’m feeling like they’re doing pretty good. I also relaxed about food. I was really really … I was vegan for 15 years and I’m not vegan anymore. I don’t restrict all food from my children, that’s not high vibrational. I do let them buy a bag of chips or a donut at the farmer’s market. I’m not extreme about the food.

[59:21] Rachel: What are some ways you feel like your parenting maybe is a little extreme or unconventional?

Ashley: I always let them be nude outside when they were younger. I had my kids both doing elimination communication where I would intuit when they would need to use the bathroom, well, need to go in their diaper, and I would take off their diaper. I did cloth diapering. I would … oh, and put them on the potty, after I would intuit, I would put them on the putty and hold them there while they went in the potty. You figure out-

Rachel: From what age? Because this is so fascinating to me. Again, I’ve read all these books. It feels really unnatural to me to have your baby in a diaper all the time. It really does not feel … It just, no. She wants to be naked, and I really want to … I decided, okay, I’m going to give it a few weeks to kind of get into her rhythm and figure out what it’s like to have a newborn child, but I really want to get away from the round the clock diapering and do the elimination communication. So, for anyone who’s listening who doesn’t know what that is, elimination communication is intuitively communicating with your child, or you’re having your child communicate with you when they need to pee or poop, and then holding them over the sink or over a potty or a bowl or whatever.

Ashley: Or go outside, take them outside.

Rachel: Go outside. And basically raising them without being dependent on diapers.

Ashley: I think it eliminated the fear. Some kids are afraid to go to the bathroom in public, or they can’t go poop at school. I think it really makes us more comfortable with our natural bowel movements, which you can’t avoid it. It’s natural. There’s nothing wrong with it.

Rachel: There’s something wrong if it doesn’t happen.

Ashley: Right. And it’s not the best smelling experience, but it’s definitely natural and sacred and it’s how you release.

Rachel: Mmhm. And what age did you start?

Ashley: When they were babies, tiny. Probably three or four months I started really …

Rachel: Okay, Lea is almost four weeks now.

Ashley: I mean, even sooner. You can do it whenever you want. She might be a little young, but I think when she starts animating and really lifting up her head, I think then they’re very conscious and they’re-

Rachel: Already I can tell, I can tell the pattern. She takes two huge poops in the mornings, usually around the same time. It’s usually, like, she can communicate that already.

Ashley: And it’s nice, I did the cloth diapering, so I would just hose off the diaper in the garden, down the mountain, and then hang the cloth diaper in the sun. I try really hard to honor the earth mother. That’s pretty much my main practice is in what little ways can I give back to the earth? Because I receive so much blessings and energy from her, and she provides all of our food, and she’s literally the rock that we stand on. We get power from the earth, just being barefoot or in the garden or walking down a dirt path. This is all healing for us. So how can I give back to her? And that was one of the ways that I did … Looking back, and again I wouldn’t do it after they’re one or two. At that point I feel like if they’re still wearing diapers, it’s okay. Just do what you can. But don’t become obsessive. Don’t let it take over your life. Still let your life be good.

[62:21] Rachel: Like, I knew a woman who did this with both of her kids from the birth, basically. And they were at our house visiting. He was a year and two months or something, and he would kind of look at her and pull at the hem of her skirt, and she’s like, “Oh he needs to go potty,” and then they walk to the bathroom and he did his thing in the bathroom. She said they flew across the Atlantic … he only had two accidents in his whole life. I was just blown away. He was a year and two months and he was potty trained, like, 100%.

Ashley: Yeah! Which to me was just-

Rachel: That was my inspiration. Like, “Wow, okay, maybe we don’t need …” And also diapering, there’s so much waste!

Ashley: So much waste.

Rachel: That kills me.

Ashley: The thing is is every child’s different. So to not really project your stuff onto them but to explore what they can do and what they naturally do and to be at peace with that. So not every kid’s going to be able to EC. There’s three year olds in diapers. But my daughter was three and potty trained at two and one.

Rachel: I’m definitely going to explore this.

Ashley: Yeah, just have an open mind with it, and …

[63:13] Rachel: How about sleeping? This is a very … Since I became a mom I’ve learned there are many, many controversial topics in the world of motherhood. Everything is so sensitive, and people are really concerned or nervous. I see this every time I share anything on Instagram, there’s 100,000 opinions and thoughts, and this is wrong and this is right and this is good and this is bad.

Ashley: And the real truth is there is no wrong or right. There is no black or white.

Rachel: Exactly.

Ashley: It’s both and more. And for some families co-sleeping works and it’s amazing. And I know that for me, that was the way. It felt like the family bed. I was kind of missing the partner that loved me and wanted to be in that bed with me. But we did that. And once my kids got older, there was a natural desire for me to want them to have their own beds. And when that happened, universe provided. A year later I spent a year in the bus with them wishing we all had space to spread out and we had a home with beds. So when it finally came true, that felt really natural to me. But I would let them come sleep with me if they wanted to, and every once in a while they’ll creep in in the early morning or something. But yeah, it was a beautiful experience sleeping with my kids for so many years.

Rachel: And also it feels like the most natural thing to me too. We have a little, it’s called a co-sleeper, it’s like a half-moon bed that you attach to the side of the bed. That feels too far away. [laugh]

Ashley: Yeah.

Rachel: And I thought this is the most natural, like, the best solution because she’s within arms reach and I don’t have to get up to get her to feed her, but also there’s no risk of rolling over her or whatever I was fearful for, like blankets or whatever. It feels too far away. She wants to sleep on top of me.

Ashley: I think if you stay pretty clean as far as the alcohol or anything like that, you’re not going to roll over on your baby. This isn’t going to happen.

Rachel: Right? It doesn’t feel like … that’s not going to happen.

Ashley: You’d have to be pretty not alert or a very heavy sleeper, and then that would be an individual case. But for me, if something happens in the night and I hear it, I’ll wake up.

Rachel: Even Dennis, like I was nervous about that, he’s a big … He’s 6’4”, he’s a big guy. And a heavy sleeper. And he’s just so alert at night right now.

Ashley: Right. Something shifts when you have a baby, it’s like … you don’t want them to die.

Rachel: Right! [laugh]

Ashley: There’s this natural feeling inside you-

Rachel: You kind of know where they’re-

Ashley: Yeah.

Rachel: Yeah, sleeping is not the same, that’s for sure. But I mean she wants to sleep on top of me or right, you know-

Ashley: And it’s to each his own. Maybe some couples are really wanting that sacred sexuality and wanting it back quickly, and so maybe they’re trying to have their baby in another bed. There is no right or wrong. It’s unique to you. And so to project onto someone else is the distortion.

Rachel: That’s the distortion.

Ashley: Yeah. And to be open to other peoples’ ways of doing and being. My favorite singer and best friend Shyla Ray Sunshine, she sings a song, “I allow all things to exist in their own way, I exist in my own way.” And that gives me the chills.

Rachel: I love that!

Ashley: Because to have compassion for each other and understanding, but to still have the strength to do the things the way that you want to do them I feel is the medicine.

[66:03] Rachel: That was also a couple of questions that we got from people wondering, you know, what if you have close family members and they really disagree with your, you know, parenting choices, for instance? How can you work with that and how can you co-exist in that space and not allow yourself to get stepped on?

Ashley: I was estranged from my family for many years because of my consciousness expanding lifestyle that was very different from how I grew up and was in response to the extreme situations that I had been through. I was looking for a why. Why did this happen to me? Why did I become a psycho who was obsessed with being skinny and wanted to kill myself? Not necessarily wanted to but was acting in ways that almost did. How did this happen? It’s their lifestyle. It’s not them. But it’s the lifestyle that they chose that really, or that is normal really, that didn’t do work for me. It doesn’t work for me to allow my eyes to see a bunch of models walking down a runway. It doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t work for me to buy a bunch of chemical products and makeup to cover my face with chemical mask, it doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t work for me to dye my hair, because that’s my brain and that’s my third eye and I’m very sensitive. But I didn’t know that until many years later. Now, for some women it might. I don’t want to project onto anyone. But those things didn’t work for me, and they really hurt me, I would say. So I did change my lifestyle drastically, including what I ate. I went through that big portal with the veganism, and then realized that that’s actually a programming too. It didn’t work for me. I’m needing to be much more connected to the natural cycles of life in nature, and where in nature when we die our bodies become the grass, the animals eat the grass, and once a year or twice a year the animal shows itself. In Native American teachings, the animal shows itself to be killed for the tribe, and the animal ascends into the next life. It’s challenging, but if you ever are out in nature and you realize she can be brutal. She is not just a sweetheart. Have you ever been knocked over by a wave and really pummeled to the ground? There’s intensities in nature similar to that. And veganism kept me very very sensitive. So I don’t do the food thing as much with the children. I definitely try to eat raw as often as I can, but that’s mostly because I don’t like to cook, and I really like the way it makes me feel. Maybe it’s vain but I like the way it makes me feel, I like the way it makes my body look and feel, so that’s kind of why I do it. But, yeah, the food, I think is a huge topic for people right now. What do I eat and how do I be healthy? Intuitive eating is the best for you. And steer clear of packages as much as possible. And raise your kids with as many superfoods as you can. I make superfood popsicles. You can get … Philosophy Mama has a beautiful protein that has mushroom and tons of different things, these high vitamin Cs, harder things to get that you can put into a popsicle and your kids will love it with fresh fruit. Little ways like that that you can add consciousness to your life. It doesn’t have to be this super dramatic thing that you do. I prefer nature, because I’m an empath and when I’m in nature I channel. So, I live in a house that’s very open air, I live in the jungle, the jungle comes into the house, and that’s the way I like it. But I would never project that onto anyone else. I would say follow your bliss, what works for you as far as living.

[69:35] Rachel: And you’re living now, you’re in Costa Rica. You are 15 minutes from where I lived in Costa Rica. I spent three years there.

Ashley: Yeah, so close. See, these leylines, these are energetic lines in the earth that are powerful, and I just feel our souls have been connected for a long time. And I’ve had those confirmations that we’re here to do this work together. Helping the divine feminine reclaim her wild, her power. But it’s not about being … I really don’t think it’s about being a badass motherfucker. I think it’s about being a kind, loving … and I feel like it’s being in control of your mind, because my mind has been my hardest.

Rachel: You can be kind and still be a badass. I mean-

Ashley: Yeah, but I mean, you know, it’s not about this ego badass that I feel is … there is this yoga thing.

Rachel: No, it’s empowered badass. I mean, you have that.

Ashley: Yeah, and when I mean empowered it’s like I’m in control of myself and I take responsibility for myself and I know that I create my reality with my thoughts. So how can I think high vibrationally? What sentences are running through my mind that I can omit, that no longer serve me, and replace with what I want to be having? How can I think about what I want to be having, what I’m manifesting and calling in as opposed to what’s not working, what doesn’t feel good.

Rachel: Shifting from fear to trust.

Ashley: Yeah. And really using … for some people it’s different because their mind is not as active. I definitely have a very active mind, so I have to train the thoughts. Yeah. And understanding that sickness is energy and when you get sick you’re having a healing, and most doctors will laugh when I tell them that. But it’s coming out of you. And it’s energy, and to feel it is to heal it. And so to trust the process. If you have a sickness in your life right now, to trust the process, it’s a communication. You need to tune into what it’s trying to tell you. And you can heal your life by finding out inside of you what is needing to be nurtured, what is needing to be loved next level. What wound needs to be loved and nurtured? And through that portal you can heal anything, I really believe it.

Rachel: Everything is psychosomatic.

Ashley: Everything is psychosomatic. And we store everything in the physical body, hence the miofascial release. I was having so many neck injuries when I was really into yoga and I thought, “Is it this hand standing? Is it all of this hand standing that’s giving me this?”

Rachel: You know, I would have that too in my most active… You’ve treated me once or twice. In my most active days when I was working on my press to handstand and everything was a Chaturanga, I had so much pain.

Ashley: Yeah. And it does add tension if you don’t know how to therapeutically unwind after you build that strength. And we also have the repetitive movements of the body that create calcifications on the fascia. You can look up what fascia is on anatomytrains.com if you don’t know. You can open a body and strip the fascia from a cadaver and hang it on a coat rack. It’s a real thing that’s notices in science. I do a more intuitive style of bodywork with it. So, you have to come on my training to learn how to do it. It’s not something you can just start doing I don’t feel. You need an activator. I had an activator for eight years with this work. But anyone can release the stored energy in their physical body through the miofascial release, and then we retrain the muscles with yoga. So we break it open. Break open the fascia, bust it up. The blood starts to flow. And then you can now stretch the muscle again and get blood to these muscles that have been atrophying because they’re missing the energy. And you build the calcifications because of psychosomatic emotional situations.

[73:13] Rachel: Yeah, and we stay in these patterns. That’s the challenge, to step out. So in this moment, well, what’s next for Ashley Albrand?

Ashley: What’s next for me. Well, I feel I am still figuring out the puzzle of my relationships and what this all represents. I might be stuck in the Please Love Me dynamic. But it has to do with my father leaving as a child and just this separation from my father. So I’ll have to let you know on that one, because it’s still a puzzle that I’m figuring out. I would love to … What would I love to do? Or what am I doing?

Rachel: What are you doing? What’s coming?

Ashley: What’s coming right now is returning back to the jungle for a month of self-love and nurturing and being with my children and relaxing in nature. I’ve been working since November pretty straight with the teacher trainings and kind of just kick it at the castle and hopefully write for oneOeight, do some blogging. I do need to write a book, so it’s-

Rachel: You have enough material for a couple, I feel.

Ashley: Right? For sure. So writing would be epic. I’m going to be teaching some classes down there and just continuing to channel what’s best for my kids and for me. Each day is a new day. I try to live one day at a time. I am able to plan more than I’ve ever been able to plan though, so I’m on the right track. I used to not be able to plan because lord knows where I’ll be and what will happen. Now I have events coming up on my schedule and good things are happening, so it’s wonderful.

Rachel: Yes! You can find more about Ashley on InfiniteSourceYoga.com. You can find her on Instagram under OGYogini, and of course you can practice with her from your own home online with oneOeight.com. Thank you so much for joining me on this podcast, Ash.

Ashley: I love you so much, forever.

Rachel: I love you. Thank you.

[End of Episode]

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