“Dimensions alone do not create this space; rather the space is a quality bound up in perception.”

– Steven Holl, Parallax



Instructor Bio

Mindfulness Instructor Ashley Williams

Ashley Williams is the founder and owner of BareSOUL Yoga & Wellness and a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) with 11 years experience in the fields of education, behavioral and mental health and community programming. She is dedicated to developing accessible yoga and mindfulness programs that transform institutions to promote social change, improve individual awareness and collective well-being. BareSOUL Yoga & Wellness is a community-based business with a mission to bridge yoga, education and community to cultivate a diverse, accessible experience that provides balance to the mind, body and SOUL for the greater impact. Our vision is to bring yoga and mindfulness practices to community spaces by making it accessible to local businesses, corporations, school systems, households, and community organizations to transform the climate and culture of the community.



Welcome to Mindfulness at the Institute for Contemporary Art. I am Ashley Williams, a yoga therapist, meditation practitioner, and founder of BareSOUL Yoga and Wellness. I will be guiding you through a series of meditations exploring four of the many underlying principles that Steven Holl Architects uses to create built environments like the ICA’s Markel Center. 

As you prepare, I invite you to practice focused attention and mindful awareness. Take a moment to clear your space of any non-essential objects.

Luminosity is the emotional effect of light on the inhabitant of architecture. This meditation will focus on bringing awareness to the light within. Begin to find a comfortable relaxed position and let your entire physical body begin to relax. 

Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, let the tension begin to leave the physical body. Take slow, calm breaths. Mentally scan your body taking note of how your body feels. Focus in on the areas where tension is stored. Focus in on the areas that feel bound and begin to concentrate on relaxing each area.

Feel your body become more and more relaxed. Slowly releasing tension. Slowly letting go of stress. Slowly finding ease. As you continue to allow the breath to flow, you may notice that you’re relaxing more and more, and you will continue to become even more relaxed as you begin to realize the light within and the light around you.

Begin to imagine that there is a protective light shining around your body. Almost as if you were glowing. With each inhale, as the breath expands, the light expands. This light can keep you safe, can keep you present. At this moment, and in moments of stress, and moments of tension, and moments of worry, and in any moment that you may need a bright light. 

Begin to breathe into your light. As you inhale, the light continues to expand, and as you exhale, allow the light to get brighter. Practice this for the next few moments. Inhale, expand into your light, and as you exhale, allow the light to begin to find its way — grounded, settled, and bright. 

Picture in your mind being surrounded by this light. Feel the sensation of relaxation, calm, and security as the protective light surrounds you. The light is like a shield. Deflecting anything that simply does not serve at this moment. It is like a gentle armor that begins to protect, relax, calm, and secure. 

Imagine being surrounded by this protective light, from the tip of your head all the way to the souls of your feet. Inhale, the light expands. Exhale, the light brightens. 

Focus your attention on the heart center. Allow the light to find its way right at the heart center. As you visualize this speck of light, invite a deep breath in and allow that light to expand into the protective light surrounding your body. As you exhale, bring that energy back to the heart space. Inhale, expand your light into this protective shield, and exhale, draw the light back to heart center. Find this practice for the next few moments. Illuminating and brightening your light. 

As you continue to expand and deepen your breath, allow this light to expand and deepen and embody your entire physical space. On your inhale, allow the light to expand into its protective shield, and as you exhale, allow that light to brighten. If there are any spaces in the body that seem dim, or tense, or heavy, begin to use the light as a vehicle to expand into these spaces. As you deepen your breath, expand the light. As you exhale, allow the light to brighten. Allow the body to continue to find its space of being alert, relaxed, and calm as you breathe into the light. 

As you continue to expand and explore your light, begin to allow yourself to turn your awareness and your attention back to the center of the heart. Begin to bring awareness to the space that surrounds the center of the heart. Bring awareness to the space that surrounds the protective shield of the body. Allowing your light to flow from the core of your body outward. Feel the relaxation flowing from the center of your body to your back, to your chest, to your hips, to your legs. Feel the relaxation and the protection that feels your body. Notice your body is enclosed in a shield of light. 

Allow the relaxation to continue to flow through your body, from the tip of the head to the souls of the feet. Feel each space of the body begin to relax — calm, relaxed, alert. Feel the protective light surrounding the entire body. 

You are surrounded from head to toe in protective light. Shielded from any stress, any tension, any worry, relax, basking in protective light. 

As you continue to move through this practice, notice that there might still be some areas of tension in the body. There may be some distractions or worries remaining in the mind. Allow yourself to see these spaces. Notice the distraction. With each breath, allow yourself to draw out the worry, draw out the distraction, by using the protective light. Feel the worries and the stress leaving the body, the mind, and this moment, as they are physically released. Continue to breathe into the protective light. 

As you inhale, continue to expand into the protective shield, and as you exhale, draw that light inward and allow it to brighten. Allow the protective light to be a magnet for peaceful thoughts. A magnet of alertness. A magnet of relaxation. A magnet of focus. Attracting this present moment of stillness, of solitude, of relaxation to you. Feel the protective light shine brighter, drawing away attention and bringing forth relaxation. Allow it to shield and protect, while helping you feel more relaxed. 

Continue to notice your light. Continue to use your breath to brighten your light. Continue to notice the sensations that arise as you move from breath to breath, moment to moment, and into your light. If the mind becomes distracted, notice what arises and bring awareness back to embodiment of your light and the protective shield of your light. You are calm. You are relaxed. You are peaceful. You are relaxed. 

You are aware. You are calm. You are relaxed. You are peaceful. You are relaxed.

Notice the luminosity of the light from within and the light that surrounds you. Become aware of the feeling of being safe and protected by your own shield of protected light. Enjoy this feeling of being safe and protected by your own shield of protected light. It is now time to begin to return to the remainder of your day. Remember that you can imagine this protective light at any time that you need to. Your protective light can be used to repel stress, tension, or worry, and feel calm, relaxed, and peaceful. 

Focus again on your breathing. Taking a deep breath in and out. Now turn your attention to your body reawakening. Gently moving your body a little. Feeling your muscles find movement. Allow your mind to become fully awake and alert, yet considering and capturing that feeling of relaxation. When you are ready, open your eyes — fully awake, fully energized, fully calm, and fully relaxed.