Ph.D. in Theology (University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN)
Master of Theological Studies in Theology (University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN)
Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL)
Bachelor of Arts in English (Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, GA)
Level 3 Matwork Pilates with Body Control Pilates (2023)
Essential Science of Heels with Xpert Fitness (2021)
Module 1 Flexibility with Alixa Flexibility (2019)
Ashley is an enthusiastic practitioner and teacher of matwork Pilates, flexibility, dance, and aerial arts. Her movement journey began in her early teens, when she first discovered Pilates. Fascinated by the concepts of flowing movement, spinal alignment, creating balance in the body, and strengthening the core muscles, she scoured her local library for all books relating to Pilates and began designing her own practice. She took her first ballet classes over summer breaks while earning a B.A. in English literature. During the semester, she ran on the varsity cross-country team, still keeping up her personal Pilates practice. While earning post-graduate degrees in biblical and theological studies, She stayed active with martial arts, yoga, swimming, weightlifting, cycling and Pilates.
In 2017, she moved to Berlin on a Fulbright scholarship to work on her doctoral thesis. While living in Germany, she discovered a love for contemporary dance, floor dance, and aerial arts. After moving to the UK in 2018, she completed her Ph.D. (Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity, University of Notre Dame) and began taking ballet, Pilates, and aerial Pilates classes with Rachel Harris School of Dance (RHSD). Here she worked as a flexibility coach, and after completing her Pilates teaching certification, began taking on her own Pilates students. She also taught dance classes at RHSD and her aerial studio, Freebird Studio.
She recently returned to the United States (2023) and is eager to continue teaching and training. She plans to add certifications in Reformer Pilates and other studio equipment, as well as aerial hoop and silks. She is passionate about the benefits that her classes can bring to everyone, no matter what their movement background, body type, or fitness goals. She wrote her doctoral thesis on the ancient medical understanding of the mind-body connection. Though we would explain this connection very differently, given advances in our knowledge of the human body, the ancients were onto something profound: what we do with our bodies has a significant impact on our mental and emotional state. Conversely, our mental and emotional state have a powerful impact on our physical health. Given this, she believes that healthy, natural movement using good alignment and sound biomechanics will facilitate physical and mental well-being. She hopes to help her students on their journeys toward healthier, happier bodies through the joy of movement.
This leads me to emphasize the importance of small class size, so that each student can receive individual attention and feedback. Here the concept of proprioception comes into play. Proprioception is a fancy term that simply means awareness of our bodies in space. None of us have perfect awareness of our own bodies; we may think (for example) that we are performing an exercise with good form, when in reality we are using improper alignment. And this is where the teacher’s observation and verbal or hands-on correction come into play.