Yoga is more than a means of movement for Ashley Lorenzo. It is a chance to connect and center one’s self and step back into the world as a more conscious member of society. Her classes are welcoming, inclusive and highly personal.
By Susan Finch
Between field hockey and cross-country running, Ashley Lorenzo was always active growing up. But a class at Five Points Yoga (she still keeps in touch with her first instructor) in Athens, Georgia, nearly a decade ago changed her life in a way no other form of fitness had before. “There was something almost ritualistic about the practice that made me want to live with more integrity and an open heart,” Lorenzo says. Today, the E-RYT 200 and 500 HR-certified yoga instructor has over 1,500 hours of instruction under her belt and can be found leading classes at YogaWorks and New Realm Brewing, teaching private 60-minute lessons (Spanx founder Sara Blakely is a fan), and jet-setting to Europe for enchanting yogi retreats.
How did you discover yoga? While I’ve always been very active and in love with movement, it wasn’t until I finally let a good friend drag me to yoga for the first time that I knew it was meant for me. It provided me with a guided sense of discipline and paved the way for a healthier lifestyle. It was the one place where I was able to focus on my breath, become quiet and gain clarity. It helped me to step back into the world from a more centered and authentic place.
How do you use a mix of alignment-based poses, meditation and breath work to help your students cultivate greater awareness in the physical body and beyond? My approach to teaching yoga is to keep things simple, and that always begins with the breath. While alignment is a huge focal point in my teaching, I don’t care if people can touch their toes or even get their feet behind their head. My job is to help people pay attention and the yoga practice forces you to expand your awareness to multiple points at one time. This is what is so special and sneaky about the way the practice works. It asks that you are truly present in the moment.
What are your private lessons like? My private lessons are much more intimate. This type of setting provides an opportunity for me to really understand a client and their physiology. Together, we work on gaining greater body awareness so that the practice can become as therapeutic as possible and shapes to fit their needs.
What’s your favorite inspirational quote? “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” —Dr. Maya Angelou
Tell us one of the funniest things that’s ever happened to you. I was mistaken for Shakira at the airport recently and gave her autograph to a small group of girls.
What do you like to do for fun? I love to travel and see live music. When I’m in Atlanta, I spend most of my weekends in my painting studio. If I’m not there, you can find me with my friends or spending time outdoors.
Who helps you be your best self? I’m very mindful of my blessings and am lucky to have such strong support from close friends and family. They are always there for me, hold me accountable, encourage me to share what I love, and above all, just want me to be happy. I also love going to bartaco, grabbing a Grounded smoothie with greens from Kale Me Crazy, and shopping at Ponce City Market.
To find out more about Ashley Lorenzo and her yoga classes, visit AshleyLorenzo.com.