I’m Ashley Marand Iwanicki, a marketer and wellness entrepreneur, certified yoga instructor and reiki practitioner, recovering perfectionist and probably the only person you’ll ever meet who craves kale (obnoxious, I know). I’m also my dog’s tennis ball supplier, a heavily-mediated woo-woo believer and advocate for all things wellness.
My purpose in life is to help guide as many people as I can to living a blissfully intuitive life by pairing practical science with everyday magic. Wellness isn’t about infrared saunas, luxury workouts or high-end organic foods (although I love all of those things), it’s about learning how to incorporate and adopt simple, daily practices that leave you feeling radiant and joyful. It’s about finding sustainable, balanced practices that work for your body, your lifestyle and most importantly, you.
My goal is to inspire and empower others to awaken their own strength and intuition.
Growing up on the east coast, my natural tendencies for perfectionism and control were only exasperated by the societal norms in that area of the country. While I adore so many things about the east coast, I quickly fell victim to the busy badge of honor, losing myself to the perpetual need to do, be and achieve more. In high school, I was on two cheerleading squads, had a schedule full of Advanced Placement classes, was the president of numerous clubs and somehow still managed to maintain a thriving social life. With a resume like that, it’s no surprise that when it came time to apply to college, I was accepted into every school I applied to, including all my top-choices.
Growing up in a small-ish suburb, I had my eyes set on city living so I packed my bags and headed to Boston. Throughout college, my need to perform and accede extended beyond my work and to my body. On top of being a full-time student, I also interned, worked part-time, held a leadership role in a sorority and partied A LOT. The school I went to in Boston was known for having “the prettiest (and wealthiest) girls” of all the schools in the city and as a result I became hyper aware of my possessions, looks and weight. I remember spending hours getting ready and skipping meals to save calories for drinking. A quick stint in Los Angeles during college further engrained how important it was to be pretty and skinny.
Upon graduating, I moved to New York City to work in publicity and the fashion industry. The fast pace and ultra judgmental environments were the perfect breeding ground for my body image issues to really take root. I remember strictly cutting carbs out of my diet, only eating broths for lunch and drinking tea anytime I was hungry to avoid eating. Sometimes, it was like a personal challenge to see how little I could eat in a day. All the while, I still dragged myself to the gym everyday, consistently running at least 4 miles followed by at least 30-minutes of weight training. Yet, I never achieved the body of my dreams, I was miserable and completely void of a purpose in life.
I remember there were mornings I would cry before going to work because I felt so defeated after having weighed myself and taken “progress photos” that reflected not an ounce of change, despite having strictly and consistently stuck to healthy eating and a popular workout plan. My self-worth rested entirely on what my body looked like and my thoughts around food and fitness became so entangled and insecure that I became unrecognizable to myself. The cherry on-top of this self-loathing sundae was that I HATED my job and couldn’t stand the realities of my everyday.
It wasn’t until found my way to San Diego and completed a yoga teacher training program that my entire perspective on myself, my world and my life shifted for the better. After nearly 10 years of struggling with disordered eating, body image issues and a lack of purpose, I finally learned what it meant to eat, move and live intuitively. It’s called a wellness journey because life is always evolving. There will always be barriers to break down, self-limiting beliefs to destroy and stories to rewrite, but I know now that I have the tools and experiences at my disposal to prevent me from ever returning to that dark place.
By being vulnerable and sharing my story, I hope I can inspire you to do the same. The more we authentically share and let down our guards, the more we realize that were are not alone. We are all battling our own demons, but just know that you don’t need to do it alone.
Thank you for being here and for reading my story.
Do you eat a specific diet?
I don’t eat according to a specific diet, rather I try to pay attention to what my body is telling me it needs. Overall, I believe in eating lots of plants and fresh, whole foods while minimizing sugar, simple carbohydrates and processed foods. I also try to eat in accordance with the seasons.
What’s your favorite workout?
Yoga is what I do the most of, but I love all sorts of movement. Some of my favorite types of workouts include spinning or indoor cycling, HIIT training and pilates. I’m also a fan of the long walk!
What’s your sign?
I’m a Sagittarius sun, an Aquarius moon and a Scorpio rising.
What certifications do you have?
Bachelor’s of Science in Communication
Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition
200-Hour Yoga Teacher
What type of dog do you have?
My dog, Brady, is a 95 pound yellow Labrador Retriever my husband and I rescued in 2017. He came from an abusive, bad breeder so it took a lot of training and socialization to get him to where he is today. Helping him gain his confidence and come out of his shell has been one of the greatest joys of my life.
What’s your favorite quote or mantra?
“I let go of my need to control and let the Universe do her thing.”
– Gabrielle Bernstein