Living My Best DAsh

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

Welcome to my new website! A place where I will be sharing inspiration for an alternative path to wellness and living a more mindful life. 

I am a first an individual with goals, dreams, and a variety of thoughts and beliefs. I am also a wife, soon to be mother of three, 200HR CYT (Certified Yoga Teacher), and business owner. Yoga, travel, art, and wellness are four things I am incredibly passionate about.

Here I am navigating through this new adventure!!!! eeeekkkkk! I am very anxious about the future and excited about sharing things with you. 

I have grown a lot in the last few years and I am inspired to share things about my journey with the hope that it will make a new path in someone else’s life. I am here to promote positivity, living a more mindful life, and wellness with some adventure along the way.

Dana Ashley

Habits to Transform YOU

Morning Routine!

The early bird gets the worm, I know you have heard that! Healthy morning routines set the tone, promote productivity, and give you control of the day. Affirmations, exercise, journaling, meditation, visualization, reading are some of things you can do to get started on a positive foot! Many of us wake up and grab our phone to check notifications, sometimes even before we leave the bed. Do any of you have a no phone in bed rule in your house? Some just have it with their kids. Why not with yourself and your partner? Immediately checking our notifications or emails puts our mind in that fight or flight mode. There is no order in chaos. Find something to do right when you wake up that grounds you.What do I do? Well before I even get out of my bed I either think about what my intention for the day is or one thing that I am grateful for. I continue this in my journal. I try to journal daily about my intentions whether they be about productivity, my mood, my energy and I include gratitude. What you put out into the universe comes back to you. The more gratitude you have the more you will have to be grateful for. What are your morning habits and routines? Has our current situation changed that for you? It has for me. It has given Clynt and I an opportunity to sit with our kids every morning and journal together, discuss what we are grateful for, and enjoy breakfast together. It has given us an opportunity to really capitalize on a daily routine and gain traction in productivity with projects we “have not had time for”. What stops you from having a morning routine? What would you like your morning routine to include? Please share with me. If you don’t want to add it to the comments send it to me privately.

Champions are built in DAILY PRACTICE!

Dana Ashley

Essential Oils

Another approach to wellness

Essential oils are something that I have incorporated in my wellness journey with my entire family. I recently decided, after lots of research, to join the Young Living family. The ethics and quality this company sets is something I look for as a consumer and the move felt right for me. I wanted to make a short intro post this week that will lead into a LIVE class I will be sharing on my Facebook page next week. This class is FREE and is an intro to oils and the information provided here and in that class are based on Young Living products. Not only is Young Living a company that operates by ethics I can support as a consumer but they also offer great incentives in the way of monthly rewards, ways to get free product, AND supplement income or even be your sole income source. The reason I point this out is because I have a large network of friends that stay home with their kids (which is a HIGH demand job but the pay is NOT monetary) and are looking for ways to either supplement their household income this year or have an income of their own. Whatever you are looking to do this class will be an introduction to oils and at least get you thinking of new ways to elevate your alternative wellness methods. Maybe you are using them now and buy them just wherever you can find them, maybe you are curious about using them, or maybe you have never even thought of incorporating them into your life. This class is for you! I have said before that I feel a great urge to share the knowledge I have gained from my personal wellness journey and know that it has value and will impact others! My wellness journey has many paths and this is one of them!

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated oils produced from plant material by steam distillation, extraction, cold pressing, or resin distillation. They are extracted from botanicals such as flowers, shrubs, trees, roots, and seeds. Young Living has high standards when it comes to business practices. They focus on sustainably sourcing plants, uplifting communities, and adhere to ethical production practices as well as comply with all environmental laws. Essential oils offer many benefits in the way of health and wellness and especially have a place in that mind body connection I am greatly passionate about!

How do I use them?

There are three ways to use essential oils. Aromatic, topical, and internal. Aromatically essential oils can be put into a diffuser, humidifiers should not be used for oils. We have diffusers in every bedroom, in the living room, kitchen, and my husband and I both have small desktop diffusers on our desks. A total of seven in our house and they are almost always running. I no longer use candles, air fresheners, or wax burners.

Topically oils can be used neat (without a carrier) or diluted with a carrier. I recommend starting slow and using a carrier when you are just getting started until you know how your body will tolerate the oils. Every BODY is different so there is no guarantee how each will tolerate the different oils. Carrier oils you can use include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, or Young Living’s V-6. There are many dilution suggestions available on the great internet so do some looking and playing around with this. I personally have several go to oils AND blends and we will talk about those in the FREE online class next week. I have replaced perfume with them and use them in many other ways topically as well. Topically you can focus on reflexology points for application. The bottom of our feet is a great place to apply because they are absorption points and contain some of the largest pores on our body. Other places include back of neck, spine, chest, and wrists. Eyes and inside of the ears should ALWAYS be avoided. 

Young Living has a line of ingestible oils that are marked Vitality. These can be used in cooking, dropped under the tongue, or by putting 1-2 drops into vegetable capsules and diluted with a carrier oil. You can also mix in tea, water, juice, yogurt, plant based milk and they are great to use while cooking. I love using them in my morning and evening tea!

Essential oils have many benefits and are very versatile. Many oils can be used for a number of things. This is something we will touch on in another post AND in my Facebook LIVE class next week. I do want to discuss quality in this post as it is VERY important. There are several oil grades and along with that things you should be aware of. Starting out this was something I was oblivious to and was just trying to purchase whatever was the least expensive or discounted. WRONG APPROACH!!! I created a chart for all my visual learners out there and you can see that below. Grade A is the Therapeutic Grade. Grade A is pure and unadulterated. Young Living never compromises quality by adding synthetics, contaminants, or cheap fillers. All of their oils are sourced carefully and are Grade A. They have a Seed to Seal sourcing promise and more can be read at  Grade B oils are considered natural/food grade. Natural meaning organic but may still contain chemicals or fillers. Grade C oils are perfume oils. These are altered and contain chemicals and solvents. Then there are Floral Waters, these are very low quality synthetic or nature-like oils. These typically are found in hair and skin products. You know the saying “you get what you pay for” this is absolutely the case when it comes to essential oils. Cheaper is NOT better and in my opinion NOT safe. 

Hopefully this has you thinking and I can offer more insight next week in my FREE online introduction class. Head over to my Facebook page and I will be posting more information about the class this evening. Hope to see you LIVE next Tuesday!

Dana Ashley

Not the “R” Word

Intention vs Resolution

There is something refreshing about January. It is a time for us to reflect on things that have been working and things that have not, and is an opportunity for setting new goals for ourselves. Many people use this time of year to set that “R” word… resolutions. I personally decided long ago resolutions were not for me. The word resolution itself has a negative connotation as if to resolve some problem… The definition: a firm decision to do or not to do something, doesn’t sound very promising or sustainable.   

Perhaps a different approach to setting ourselves up for success in the year ahead is in order. For starters let’s change the language we use. Intention: an aim or plan, something you aim to achieve. Sounds like something that will stick if you ask me! An intention is something that we can actively work on manifesting in our lives. Setting intentions are more dimensional than a resolution ever could be. By setting intentions we can be more mindful of the commitments we make. Intentions are clear not only to us but to others as well. 

Mindfully making a daily effort to work toward your core intentions for the year sets us up for success. Holding ourselves accountable for these core intentions and making adjustments along the way will offer up a more healthy approach to setting and achieving our goals. Journaling, daily affirmations, lists, accountability buddy, or vision boards are a few ways to be mindful, daily about where you stand with your intentions. I have done this in the way of a bullet journal which I loved and also offered up a creative outlet for myself. I have used daily affirmations on a desktop calendar that reflected exactly what I needed to focus on for that day. A large poster board with core intentions and your plan written out can be a great daily reminder, put it somewhere you will see often throughout your day. And my absolute favorite has to be vision boards. There is something powerful in the way of imagery. I have accomplished many goals through vision boards. They can be done daily in a journal or done on poster boards and hung throughout your house or work space. 

Positive reinforcement encompasses the intention approach! Whatever your intentions are going to be for the upcoming year be clear with yourself about them. Make it clear how you intend to get there. Express your vision to those closest to you that can be your support system. Most importantly learn to express daily gratitude. Good luck and here’s to a successful and prosperous 2020!

Dana Ashley

How I Found Yoga

Challenging myself takes me places others are afraid to go!
Photo August 2018 Milwaukee, WI

I plan to share a lot about yoga and so I thought it would be important to first introduce how I found it and why I am so passionate about it. There are so many ways yoga can be beneficial and so many ways to incorporate yoga into your life. It is more than just a physical activity and is way more than just being bendy. It is not a religion but does take on a spiritual path. Yoga is not for the flexible, it is for the willing. 

My second pregnancy was completely different than my first. I carried differently, my body felt different, mentally I felt down more often than not, and my energy level was beyond low. By my second trimester I was carrying very low and he loved the right side. I started loosing feeling in my right hip which often traveled down my leg. My doctor didn’t offer much advice for this and was more interested in prescribing me some drug, I wanted a different solution, so the search was on to find a way to have some comfort.

Someone mentioned yoga to me, said it would be good for me to do hip openers, my body would appreciate it come time for labor anyway. Thanks to youtube I was able to explore yoga from the comfort of my own home!! I found Sarah Beth Yoga. She had a prenatal series, along with a ton of other free videos. Did it help? Tremendously!! The pain in my back was not near as bad and the loss of feeling in my hip minimal. I did yoga as much as I could up until the day I delivered and could not wait to get back into it the moment the doc released me to exercise. At this point I had no clue all the benefits I just knew I enjoyed the movement and the exercise aspect. 

At the time there was a studio right around the corner from my house. I decided to go in for a class. GAME CHANGER!! The energy in the room and of course the guidance from an instructor was exactly what I needed to fall in love even more. I tell people two things about yoga every chance I get. One, yoga changed my life. Two, yoga brought spirituality into my life in a way I had never thought possible. When I say yoga changed my life I mean it brought out a new person in me I never knew. I began to abandon things I only thought were what made me who I was. Life began to feel like it had purpose, a flow, a direction without chaos. I was able to take the balance from my mat to my everyday situations. Breathing techniques helped me calm my nerves in stressful situations throughout my day. Yoga is something that I crave and I have a deep desire to grow my practice. In the beginning I would go as much as I could. Taking vinyasa, hot 26/2 and slow flows. I was learning things about myself and pushing my body to do things I never thought were possible. It was adventurous, strenuous mentally and physically, but I was experiencing life on a new energetic level.

My practice came to an abrupt stop when tragedy struck my family. I will share more about this another time. After the tragedy I was scared to do yoga, scared to meditate, scared to be quiet in my own head, scared I would not be able to find tranquility. This fear is what steered me away from yoga when yoga is what I needed most. True with most things I guess. Things we fear or things that are hard, those are usually what we need or should be doing the most. Live and learn, right? 

I got back into my practice, slowly, but I was at least coming to the mat. I was practicing at home and while I do enjoy that like I said before, practicing in a studio and sharing energy with others is transformational. I also knew that if I wanted to advance my practice I needed some real life guidance with alignment, something YouTube couldn’t offer. Once I found a new studio to practice I dedicated to three days a week. From there it just increased. Yoga is a journey, one that is different for everyone, and my journey has become one of the most rewarding and difficult things in my life. I kept pushing, my mind and body craved more. Before I knew it I was practicing five days a week. In 2017 I felt my practice start to plateau and I was really drawn to sharing yoga with others. In January 2019 I signed up for yoga teacher training at Vibe Yoga in Allen, TX. BEST decision EVER!! Spiritually my practice took on a whole new life, fundamentally my practice transformed, AND I have a sisterhood with an amazing group of woman along with mentors I value. Six months into training I discovered I would be having a baby!!! I have continued practicing throughout pregnancy with great respect to my body and the baby. I feel amazing and cannot wait to meet this bundle of joy. I look forward to another transformation in my physical practice after the baby comes and cannot wait to share that with you. 

Dana Ashley