We feel so lucky to be connecting with so many amazing individuals who are willing to sit down and give such thoughtful answers to the 5 Questions we are posing in this series. As always in these interviews we are examining the intersection between creative and healing practices and the plants that surround us. Today we are talking with Ashley Neese, a Nutrition Counselor, Yoga Teacher, Writer and all around talented and inspired fellow wellness advocate! Read further to links to all of her projects and offerings!
1. What motivates you to work within the health field?
My healing journey began at the young age of 21. I was at a very critical juncture and had to make a major decision to let go of self-destructive behaviors that were destroying my health. During an intervention with my family I had a moment where my life flashed in front of me. I knew I had hit bottom and that it was time to carve out a new path. I had no idea what it would look like or where it would take me, but I knew deep down my life was meant for a bigger purpose.
Since that wake up call I have continued to move forward and have learned how to take care of myself one step at a time. For the last thirteen years I have invested a great deal energy and time into my own healing. I have educated myself, cultivated a meditation and yoga practice, learned how create meaningful relationships, sought out the best western and alternative health care professionals, and studied a variety of healing modalities with some of the worlds most gifted teachers. Above all, I have learned to live with authenticity, compassion, integrity, and grace. I practice what I preach and love to share my passion for self-care with the world.
In the beginning it was my pain that motivated me to be of service to people and today it is my joy. Empathy is one of my strongest qualities and it enables me to see deeply into the nature of others and love them no matter what. I always knew that I was meant to work with people, it has been my calling since I was a child.
I didn’t always believe in my own power or trust it. Like everything else in life, developing a relationship with myself has been one learning experience after the next. I have taken care of myself for long enough now that I trust my inner wisdom and step into it more and more each day. Today I believe without a shred of doubt I am here to love and to serve.
3. Favorite books within your healing modality?
I have a very extensive library! I draw from so many sources for my practice. Here are a few of my favorites:
A Path With Heart, Jack Kornfield
Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing, Dr. Vasant Lad
Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
Peace Is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh
Spiritual Nutrition, Dr. Gabriel Cousens
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
The Untethered Soul, Michael A. Singer
The Whole Foods Encyclopedia, Rebecca Wood
Vegetable Literacy, Deborah Madison
When Things Fall Apart, Pema Chödrön
Yoga From the Inside Out, Cristina Sell
Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health, B.K.S. Iyengar
4. Are plants part of your practice and if so, which do you find yourself using the most and for what reason?
Plants are a huge part of my practice. Given that we’re still in the spring season here we’re using a lot of seasonal weeds and cleansing greens. Many clients approach me about cleansing in the spring. I like to start them off with plants like arugula, cilantro, dandelion, nettles, parsley, purslane, and watercress. Lately I’ve been recommending extra nettles to many of my clients for seasonal allergies as well.
5. Please include 1 recipe (which could include remedies, exercise, art methods, food, visualizations, etc - please interpret recipe in your own way)
SPRING NETTLE TEA
• 6 c. water
• 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
• 1 Tbsp. licorice root
• 2 star anise
• 1 bunch nettles, rinsed well
1. Pour the water into a large pot. Add the seeds, licorice root and star anise. Bring water to a boil, cover and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
2. Add the nettles and simmer for 10 more minutes.
3. Turn off heat and let stand 5 minutes.
4. Strain. Serve warm or at room temperature.
5. Store tea in a glass, air tight jar for up to 1 week.
Ashley Neese is a bold soul who empowers people to take good care of themselves. Her nutrition programs, yoga classes, and lifestyle blog guide wellness seekers towards bringing their whole being into each moment so they can heal and be at peace. Ashley works with clients all over the world and runs a life changing online Sugar Cleanse twice a year. You can find her sharing healthy recipes and self-care tips on her website, www.ashleyneese.com.