We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Adam and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
I have confronted this question probably more than any other question since starting my business eight and a half years ago. Things were not easy for me from the get-go. From a long and difficult loan process to a long and difficult search for a location, to then lose my first location due to an extreme rent increase, to then go through another long and difficult search for another location, renting a room in a gym for two years, and now COVID-19 a year after I signed a brand new lease. I have had many a moment sitting on the floor crying, asking myself this very question. How do I know if I am supposed to keep going, if this is just another obstacle put in my way to test my commitment to my dream, or if it is a sign that I am on the wrong path and it is time to give up? The answer always came from deep within, and the validation of that answer always came soon after. The answer was always in the deep conviction and passion I have for what I do. I love what I do. Deeply. That was always the struggle for me – if I love it this much, isn’t it supposed to come easier than this? I knew I had to keep going because imagining the other option didn’t compute. I couldn’t imagine anything else, nor did I want to. That felt like my soul speaking, and that is what would get me up off the floor. Soon after, I would always get validation through a conversation or message from a student – one that would light the fire in my soul anew – one that reminded me why I love what I do, and that what I do matters, and can change people’s lives, as it has mine. I know now, that the obstacles were me all along. A sign that there was deeper work I needed to do, on me, in order to be able to live my dream more fully. I have always taught and believed in self love first, inner work first… but for others. I never actually put it into practice for myself. I was in the practice of giving, and only giving to others. I needed to not only give to myself, but receive from myself as well. That was the message tapping on my shoulder, obstacle after obstacle. The biggest obstacle of all (COVID-19) finally got me to listen :).
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are a boutique barre fitness studio offering a variety of classes from regular barre to a more cardio-based interval class. We are doing both virtual classes online as well as outdoor classes at Waterfront Park downtown while our physical studio is temporarily closed due to COVID-19. We continue to look for more outdoor options and we have partnered with our sister studios across the country to offer a big virtual schedule with a wide variety of teachers. Our studio, when open, has child care and we welcome all the distractions that real life has in our virtual classes – we encourage you to join even when it feels impossible because something is always better than nothing, even with kids crawling all over you! The thing that sets us apart, and the thing I am most proud of, all ties into my previous responses. Our focus on alignment is incredibly unique. Not just physical alignment during class, but alignment of mind-body-soul in class and in life. It’s not just an exercise class, it’s a practice, and one that can profoundly change your life. We teach the idea of connection with your body and honoring your body in each moment, especially when it is telling you something you don’t want to hear. You learn that alignment is not just about keeping you safe in class, but it is also about getting the most out of class for efficiency, strength, balance, and results. Through intricate cuing, you not only learn alignment and connection, but you get a moving meditation to release your thoughts from your to-do lists. By learning in a way that prioritizes connection over exertion, quality over quantity, you transform the way you care for yourself, which can transform the way you craft your life. All of this with a supportive community – everyBODY is welcome. We welcome you with open arms, just the way you are, and teach you to do the same for yourself, just the way you are. Most importantly, we like to have tons of fun – we take self care seriously, but we do not take life too seriously!!! My journey was so organic with The Dailey Method – it crept into my life slowly and intentionally. It was what healed my severe back injury and kept me from getting surgery, but it is also what started the healing process of my relationship with myself. I’m so proud to have gone through the full transformation that is possible with this practice: in mind, and body, and soul. It deepens my passion to share it with others and gives me confidence that through my studio I can achieve my ultimate dream: create a little pocket of this Earth that fosters strength, balance, kindness, love, and laughter… one person at a time.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Things are a little different nowadays, but we are so insanely lucky to live in a beautiful city with beautiful weather that allows us to do so many things outdoors! I have two young kids, so that is also a major factor in where I choose to go these days! I grew up in Coronado back in the day, and it is still one of my favorite places to spend the day. From downtown, it’s so fun to take the ferry over! I love going to Dog Beach with my family (including our fur baby, an aussiedoodle, Chewy). I do not recommend eating lunch there unless you want to get to know every breed of dog up close and personal, lol! The Del holds many fond childhood memories and I love to take people there for a sunset drink and to wander the historical halls. We live in South Park which is my favorite neighborhood in San Diego! I love to ride bikes into town and grab lunch or a coffee while strolling into the shops. Sans kids (although they do allow furry kids), The Whistle Stop is one of my favs! Other than that, Little Italy is always a great place for dinner, strolling, and an awesome Farmer’s Market. North Park for beer and eating. Balboa Park is awesome for art, history, and exploring. Sunset Cliffs for walks and gorgeous sunsets, La Jolla for the tide pools and exploring caves. Too many places to mention! A couple of my off-the-beaten-path favs are: -Nate’s Garden Grill at City Farmers Nursery for breakfast, music and looking at plants (and animals). -Julian for apple pie and wine (there are some super cute wineries up there!) -Nowadays, one of our favorite places for a family outing is the Drive-In theater in IB. -Modern Times Brewery & Tasting Room in Point Loma
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are way too many people and resources to name on this journey!!! I will simplify and just focus on the inner work piece :). A book that had a profound effect on me early on was The Celestine Prophecy and the idea that if we open our eyes to the world and the present moment, we might notice that nothing is coincidence, and there is opportunity in every encounter throughout our day. As cliche (but also valid) as it is, my first exposure to inner work that resonated with me really started with The Secret. It piqued my curiosity to learn more and changed my way of thinking, which I truly believe changed my trajectory. I am lucky to have had supportive friends and family along the way, but a major shoutout goes to Jill Dailey and The Dailey Method practice that dramatically changed my life on all levels. When I started taking classes, I felt broken in many ways. I had a severe back injury, I was overweight, and I was in the midst of a lot of emotional trauma (both attempting to heal from the past and deal with the present). My practice began with the sole purpose to lose weight, that’s what I put all my personal value in. My back injury forced me to care about my health first, and The Dailey Method taught me that my health is directly related to my connection of mind, body, and soul together. One cannot be truly healthy without the other. It was only after putting my health first, that the weight started to come off, my mind started to clear, and my heart started to open. Jill Dailey believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself, and by training me to become a teacher, she trained me to find my voice for the first time in my life. She helped me grow from thinking I didn’t belong in class to a place where I could actually imagine owning my own studio. It took me months, MONTHS, to work up the courage to ask her about the process of owning a studio because I was terrified of how embarrassed I would feel watching how she would let me down easy. Her response was so assertive, quick, and supportive, that it was a major part of me starting my journey on self love. If she could be confident in me, then I needed to rise up to the occasion. It is the continued practice of connecting mind-body-soul, and taking time for my health and wellness that has allowed me to go further on my journey of self discovery and, finally, self love. It has opened my life to experiences and people (one major shoutout that would take me a novel to acknowledge, being my husband, my rock) that continue to build the foundation from which I grow. There is a lot of work to be done, but I am so grateful to be in a place where I no longer see just a brick wall in front of me, I see a lesson in wall climbing ;).