Austin | June 17, 2021
Wellness Series by Miki Ash
At Proper we believe taking care of mind, body, and spirit — especially while traveling — is a vital part of our wellbeing. At Austin Proper, we’re excited to partner with local yoga instructor Miki Ash on a special offering: curated yoga and meditation classes, accessible via your room. Through Miki’s app The How, we’ve curated a series designed specifically for travelers, with offerings addressing everything from post-flight stretches to grounding breathwork, energizing flows to soothing sleep meditations. Read on to learn more about Miki, her practice, and her suggestions for cultivating wellbeing wherever you are.
Q: Tell us about yourself. How many years have you been practicing yoga and meditation?
I began practicing yoga at the ripe age of 18 and dove into my teacher training shortly after. I have been teaching ever since (over 10 years later, oh my goodness!!). I found meditation after a pretty intense break up, in search of myself and my happiness. I found that and so much more and have been guiding meditation as a part of my practice for the last five years.
Q: What parallels (or differences) do you see between health & wellness moving from Los Angeles to Austin?
Having grown up in Los Angeles, I feel so fortunate to have been in the center of a global wellness hub. LA is the Mecca of wellness and I was exposed to incredible teachers and guides from a young age. In Austin I feel a hunger for teaching, a thirst and desire that my students have to learn new techniques and grow their practice. It feels more wholesome here, more genuine, and that is so refreshing!
Q: Do you have a favorite place to meditate? Where and why?
I love meditating anywhere and everywhere. From the subway in NY to the beaches of Tulum, I feel so privileged to be able to sit with myself, even just for a few minutes, to reconnect and refuel. I have learned to use outside noise and distractions to go further within. But there is something so special about being out in nature and feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin when I meditate.
Q: In addition to wellness, we know you also have a great passion for photography and design. Who are some of the artists that inspire you most? Which natural elements influence your style?
I am so inspired by the world around me. I try not to follow any specific people for inspiration, but moreso allow myself to draw inspiration from my own experiences. Travel has been the catalyst for most of my artistic expressions, and I find the most inspiration from places like Morocco, South Africa, and Mexico. Growing up on the beach has imbued the importance of the ocean in me; I am always inspired by its vastness and power.
Q: Your favorite tip for maintaining exercise + mental health while traveling and/or managing a busy schedule…
Borrowing this one from Nike —— just do it. Learn the importance of prioritizing yourself. When you are feeling good, it is so much easier to be productive. When you are clear-headed and healthy, you are more capable of dealing with the stressors of life gracefully. Life is innately stressful, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Making meditation (Even 5 minutes a day) a part of your regular practice will make every aspect of your life feel more manageable, no matter how long your to-do list seems to get. All it takes is just a few minutes of movement and breath to totally transform your mood and energy. It’s one of the reasons I created The How! To make these transformative practices as accessible as possible no matter if you are at home or on the go.2020 undoubtedly had a large impact on the wellness industry.
Q: How do you see trends changing this year, based on this experience? How have things personally changed for you?
Pre-pandemic I was traveling the world nomadically, living out of a carry-on suitcase and guiding workshops and retreats from Asia to Aruba and everywhere in between. I had to make a strong pivot to focusing only on the online world of wellness. Thanks to the internet, I was still able to show up for my students no matter where they were in the world and offer practices to find some peace and solace in all of the confusion and chaos. Having spent the last year sequestered, I have found that most people I know, including myself, are craving community and genuine connection. I see people coming together again more intentionally, valuing the importance of wellness and community. I know I am ready to travel again and host retreats, and I feel like there will be a resurgence of those opportunities once more!
Q: Tell us about your thought process behind the wellness collaboration with Austin Proper, and the classes you created. How are these unique or different from other offerings available on your app?
The Proper Wellness Series was designed specifically with the traveler in mind. This series offers both movement and meditation practices to help ground one after a long flight, as well as soothe the weary traveler into a restful sleep, even if they are in a new place. I know what it feels like after a long flight to need to move my body and not want to leave my hotel room either, which is what I kept in mind when developing this series. It is accessible to all levels of practice from the seasoned yogi to the curious business person.
Q: Speaking of your app, The How, where did this idea stem from and what motivated you to move your classes to an online platform?
After having taught yoga for more than a decade, I was constantly being asked, “how do I develop a home practice? How do I become more flexible? How do I do this pose, or that pose?” There was an idea of what people wanted to accomplish, but no clue on how to get there… thus The How was born. These are the practices that I have tried and tested on myself to transform my body & mind and therefore my life experience. I wanted to create one sacred space that people could go where they would always leave feeling better. Considering how much time we all spend on our phones, I wanted there to be an alternative place to spend time that would be fulfilling rather than the usual draining experience of being online.
Q: Music seems to play a big role in yoga and meditation. Do you curate specialty playlists for your classes? Are there any genres or artists that you feel accompany your Austin Proper classes best?
I love creating playlists for my practices! Vibey music influenced by global cultures are what inspire my practice most. Music that invokes a feeling of being moved, without taking away from the practice itself. I love artists like Slenderbodies, Ali Farka Toure, Nicola Cruz, Random Rab, Tora, and Tor. You can always find my playlists on Spotify!