I cried ugly tears. 

While resting onto my mat the weight of all of life's disruptions I'd encountered in the days leading up to my departure date, another yogi who was volunteering came knelt down beside my mat and gently began to press her palm into my back. She was forcing me to take it deeper. With the next exhale tears began to flow freely from my eyes and there was nothing I could do to stop them. I slightly lifted my head and quickly felt her free hand begin to wipe my tears.

She didn't know me, but she knew what my heart needed in that moment. 


I was still trying to maneuver within my comfort zone and it was as if she knew that wasn't going to cut it here.

Most of my time leading up to the retreat had been spent preparing my brain for all of the information we'd received during instructor training. I wanted to be ready. You know, just in case someone asked me the anatomical benefits of question while I was fixing a bowl of oatmeal. I'd listened to some of the training videos again while packing my luggage, re-read all of the information I'd highlighted during our weekly video sessions, and practiced at a local studio at least once a day. Once my yoga-bestie Stephanie dropped me off at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, I gathered my packet and name tag from the welcome table, made my way to a group of women who were also attending the retreat and eventually boarded one of the doubler-decker charter buses as one of the only chocolate drops in attendance. 

It was the first night of the Fall Holy Yoga Retreat, and I was already a complete mess. 

And if I'm really being honest, I was a mess before I got there. 

2016 had ended with heartache and betrayal. The type of hurt that seems to make you pull away from your body and look at your life like it's a movie.  A movie that was in need of a better ending. So to keep myself from wallowing in regret and shoulda-coulda-but-didn'ts, I threw myself into my work. I pushed my health and wellness business to new heights, wrote and published my first book, and even relaunched my web design business. I figured the busier I was I wouldn't have time to feel. 

Yea...there is no "busy" when you're on a ranch in Arizona at almost 7,000 ft. above sea level.

There's only time. 

Time to break so you can finally take the time to heal.

Feeling the warmth of her hand on my back while in Child's Pose let something escape from my soul in the form of raging tears. All of my preparation of who I thought I needed to be when I got there vanished as God whispered to my heart, "This is who I need you to be right now. Be My daughter. Let Me hold you."

That's what I love about practicing Holy Yoga. It goes so much further than taking care of your body; it teaches you how to take care of your spirit.

The instructor continued to guide us through the rest of the flow as worship music created the perfect soundtrack to my rebirth. As I lay there in savasana, the final resting pose at the end of every Vinyasa yoga practice, the tears continued to stream down my face.

And she wiped them again. 

I rediscovered my inner-goddess that day. I used to know her very well, but I'd allowed people to break her down piece by piece. Little by little. Lie by lie. 

But she's here.


And I vow to live my life with such authenticity that those who are for me will continue to be drawn to my energy, and those who are not will remove themselves due to their discomfort with my truth. I want my days to be filled with people who welcome my nurturing, who embrace my comfort, who receive my compassion and who offer it all back to me as well. 

As you read these words, whoever you are and wherever you are, this is my prayer for you: "Father, may their heart be free enough to feel pain without becoming lost in it. May they know their identity is in You alone. May they know tears do not equal weakness, and that vulnerability only enhances rawness of their beauty. Amen."




Ashley Danielle



***If you haven't registered for the Holy Yoga Experience yet, there's still time! Join me this weekend in Mobile, AL by clicking the photo below.