Meet Ashley Fathergill, our featured ambassador!
Her yoga journey began about a decade ago in an effort to make new friends after moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico from her lifelong home. in 2015, she completed her Ashtanga Level 1 training and shortly after started YogaZo, a mobile yoga studio that provides classes for every level of yoga practitioner. Ashley’s classes with her on-the-go-studio incorporate challenge, music, mindfulness and playfulness. Ashley believes that yoga is different for everyone, and she strives to allow that space and freedom for whatever path brought each yogi to their mat. Ashley not only teaches in NM, but has also had opportunities to teach in Maui, Costa Rica, and France. Ashley is accomplishing all of this while still being a student of yoga, on her way to getting her 500 hour certification. She is a true representative of Yoloha Yoga and we love her for it!
We asked: Will you tell us more about Yogazo?
Ashley answered: YogaZo is a Mobile Yoga Studio that focuses on our community. Yes, we’re doing . yoga, but that’s not actually our priority. Our priority is one community and on breath. We meet people on the mat and help them feel comfortable in their own skin, level of practice and comfortable in whatever they might be working through that led them to us. We step off the mat to shed the barriers and connect on and off the mat from there.
We asked: What experience brought you to yoga?
Ashley answered: Ten years ago I moved to a new city after leaving the only home I ever knew and found myself drowning in a sea of the unknown. I went to yoga because yogis are supposed to be nice and from there the practice grew while I was trying to grow myself. It was a match made in heaven. I’m still one of the most inflexible people that I know, but I make it work, for me.
We asked: How did you discover Yoloha and why do you represent us?
Ashley answered: My husband surprised me with a trip to Wanderlust in VT for my birthday and while I was walking around the market, I saw the mat’s hanging in the Yoloha tent. The two guys were so kind and inviting and you could tell they were passionate about their product. That’s how I feel about YogaZo and so anytime I feel that passion and pride, I stop and listen. Luckily, the products made sense for me. Since I’m always moving “studios” the Nomad was the perfect fit. I even picked up a water bottle and some mat spray and as soon as I got home I reached out to see how I could share these products!
We asked: What style(s) of yoga do you teach? Practice?
Ashley answered: I teach, what I call, a Vibrant Vinyasa class. It’s upbeat, allows the space to laugh and moves to music which I really love to focus on in class. Music has always be so important in my life and I love the feeling when you hear a song and nostalgia takes over. That partnered with the asanas and that is my class. I love to move, connect with breath and emulate an experience on the mat where you forget you are there.
We asked: What is your favorite Yoloha product and why?
She Answered: The Nomad Cork mat is my go to. I am always moving from space to space to teach and the nomad is the perfect balance between just enough mat and not a lot of weight. It holds up really well and I’ve been using the same mat since the day I met the Yoloha at Wanderlust 3 years ago! It’s probably time for a change but I just can’t!
We asked: Do you have any special yoga events coming up that we should know about?
Ashley answered: I offer workshops throughout the year and they are all over the place. This year I will be heading to TX, OH, CO and several workshops in NM. YogaZo is also hosting a Taos Yoga Retreat in June. The biggest endeavor yet is I am hosting NOMADIC Yoga Festival on May 19th where 25 yoga teachers will be leading practices all day in a iconic space in ABQ.
We asked: Who is/was your ultimate teacher?
She answered: In third grade I had just changed schools and was having a hard time with even going to school. I had a lot of fear and issues that shouldn’t even happen to a kid that age. However, I had this teacher, Mr. Monroe, who literally made everyone smile. I’m serious, it was impossible not to smile around him. He was so nice, magnetic, kind and interesting that he would capture the 3rd grade audience really well. I have no idea where he is now and what he might be doing, but teaching was totally his thing and every once and a while, I think back to him and how good of a job he did.
We asked: Will you talk about one connection you make between your asana practice and your life off of your mat?
Ashley answered: I’m not perfect. Sometimes, I’ll be honest, I get so discouraged that I can’t do the most technical and advanced poses and will find myself getting down on myself because of it. But, in hindsight off the mat, I will realize, it’s my practice, not those who showed me that pose to begin with. With social media being such a driving force in the yoga community and within my own business, it’s easy to forget something so simple. I’m not perfect and neither is my practice. But that is the thought I always come back to and revisit.
We asked: Other than yoga, what are your hobbies or favorite ways to spend your time?
Ashley answered: Outside of yoga, my husband and I love to go hiking and he loves to mountain bike so I TRY my best to get out there with him since he is so good about coming to my yoga classes. Other than that, I made a commitment to myself this year to read more so my library visits and my downtime have increased and I am really enjoying it. I run two businesses so I HAVE to make time for myself in this crazy, busy world.
We asked: Do you have a favorite charity or non profit?
Ashley answered: YogaZo was created for #yogagivingback and even our name came from my sweet pup Zoey who passed just before I started the business. She was a rescue dog from our local Animal Humane NM. Before my first public class with YZ I reached out to them to share what I wanted to do for our community and luckily they have been on board since day one. They bring adoptable dogs to some of our classes and a portion of what we take in each year goes straight to their cause and what they are doing for Albuquerque and surrounding areas. I guess you could say I’m a dog person!
We asked: Other than practicing yoga, what is your favorite way to take care of yourself?
Ashley answered: Baths! I swear my husband and friends think I’m a 90 year old woman when I share my love of a good bath. But it’s such a comfort for me and I love the space that I create that is just for me!
We asked: What is your favorite mantra?
Ashley Answered: I am breathing in. I am breathing out.
We asked: What is your favorite yoga pose and why?
Ashley answered: Pigeon is my favorite pose. It’s different every time I end up in that stretch. I’ve been in pigeon for minutes at a time or quickly breezed past it, but I always incorporate it in the classes that I teach and at home. I’ve cried and laughed in it as well as wiggled my way out of it
We asked: What is your favorite place that you have travelled and why?
Ashley answered: Maui is so special to me. My husband and I went there for a couple of weeks on our honeymoon and we didn’t want to leave. I was able to connect with the local animal shelter there to host some donation based classes. They were so kind and gracious that someone who wasn’t from there was willing to spend time on their honeymoon to give back. I was more-so humbled by the experience and that they were willing to help. But beyond that, I feel like I come alive by the water. Almost like I’m a different person and Maui tapped into this laid back side of me that I hope I will find again some day, in the form of our retirement home-ha!
We asked: Will you talk about an experience as a student of yoga that has changed you?
Ashley answered: I always tell my fellow yoga teacher friend (who I used to take classes from before I was certified) that she was the game changer in my time on the mat as a student. She walked on my feet in child’s pose and I was like “hold the phone, that was amazing”. Now adjustments are a huge deal in my life as a teacher. I always tell her about that moment and then we laugh of course. I wish I had a more profound answer of enlightenment on this one… But it kind of was!
We asked: Will you talk about something that challenges you?
Ashley answered: Running a yoga business while still being a student is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The business world and the yoga world are vastly different and I often have to switch “hats” to get things accomplished. No one ever told me before YTT that when you become a teacher, you have to work that much harder to be a student and it’s something I share with anyone I know who wants to become a teacher. Be ready to make the space for yourself, otherwise (if you’re a good teacher), your students will get that extra energy. And for good reason!
We asked: What makes you laugh?
Ashley answered: Pretty much anything, but definitely puns. I’m a sucker for a good laugh. I was voted “Best Laugh” in my high school superlative but I think that is simply because I am a loud belly laugher and the walls were thin, so I was the obvious choice. But, I love a good laugh and ANYTHING that is a pun is sure to get a response out of me!
We asked: When do you feel like you are being your true self?
Ashley answered: When I am teaching. It’s faux pas to say that and sounds like a textbook answer, but, there is a reason why I feel like my true self when I am teaching. I say the most random shit sometimes and that’s because it’s from the heart. Almost as if I am talking to a friend when I am teaching. I am still professional, don’t get me wrong, but if something comes up that feels like it needs to be addressed in class, I will say it. I love it.