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.

Parallax is the change in the arrangement of surfaces that define space as a result of the change in position of the viewer. This meditation will focus on creating balance through mindful awareness and noticing sensations.

Find a comfortable place to sit where your body is completely supported and where your body is comfortable. Close your eyes and just allow your thoughts to gently come in and out of your mind.

Once your mind has settled down, ask yourself: How can I be more balanced? Take note of each time that you ask this question and what thoughts come into your mind first. Begin to observe these thoughts without judgement and then allow them to drift away. Relax your mind and body by bringing awareness to your breath coming in and flowing out. Notice your breath coming in and flowing out.

Once you are satisfied with the information you have received on how your life could attain more balance, begin to quiet your mind once again. Notice and understand that this is a practice. The mind may not completely silence. Simply allow yourself to practice steadying the mind.

Bring your attention to the need for more balance. You are going to bring the energy of balance into this present moment, and to your physical space, and to your mindset. This will help your subconscious mind to awaken when you are acting in an unbalanced way.

Imagine yourself balancing firmly on your feet. Standing tall, lengthened, expanded. See yourself balancing there with your arms outstretched. Feeling the sensations of movement that may take place around you. Hearing the noises and the sounds that may take place around you, simply bring awareness to the anchoring of your breath. Allow your breath to ground you in this space of balance.

Feel your feet firmly grounded like a tree branch, rooted into the space beneath you. Once you feel this grounding sensation, imagine you’re lifting one of your legs into the air behind you, balancing on one leg and allow your arms to still be outstretched — open and expansive. Allow yourself to be grounded, rooted, yet expanded, feeling how centered, grounded, and strong that one leg is. Feel how grounded and balanced you are at this moment.

As your breath continues to remain steady, allow that leg to begin to root and ground back into the space beneath it. Imagining and feeling both feet firmly rooted and grounded like a tree branch. Once you feel this grounding sensation, begin to imagine another leg lifting. Lifting in the air behind you. You are balancing on one leg. Allow the arms to outstretch. You are rooted, grounded, expanding. Feel how centered, grounded, and strong that the leg is.

Feel how balanced you are in this moment. You can still feel sensations arise. You can still hear the sounds that take place around you. You can still feel the gentle movement that continues, and you feel completely connected to the sensation of being grounded, rooted as if you were a part of this tree, and your balance to be completely still. Feel how balanced you are.

Imagine the sensation of being grounded, rooted, and balanced. With each inhale, notice the sensations that arise and as you exhale, any sensation that feels unbalanced or unsteady, allow those sensations to release. Take a moment, inhale and notice, exhale, release. Inhale, balance. Exhale, imbalance. Inhale, balance. Exhale, imbalance. Allowing your physical and mental body to begin to feel the sensation of relaxation, of groundedness, of balance.

Imagine bringing your hands to the heart center and feeling the energy of balance running through your entire body, from your firmly grounded feet to the top of your head. Visualize and embody balance.

Continue to visualize and imagine the sensation of balance. Notice when the mind becomes distracted and gently guide your awareness back to the sensation of balance.

With each inhale, continue to bring your attention to the need and sensation of balance. Bring the energy of balance into your spirit, your mind, and your physical body. Continue to allow the subconscious mind to awaken when you act in the space of balance. With each exhale, settle into your balance.

As the body and mind continue to explore balance, with each breath, continue to invite that balance into this moment. Imagining and visualizing the sensation of being grounded, the sensation of being centered, the sensation of strength. Feel how balanced you are.

As you begin to mentally scan your physical body sensation and your mental awareness, begin to bring awareness to the sensation of being balanced at this moment. Allowing yourself to notice the conscious feeling of being balance. Allow the subconscious mind to notice the sensation. Notice that the moments that you have offered to find this space of balance is from within and made by choice.

Begin to thank yourself for allowing the cultivation of this balance. Notice at any point in time during your day, you have the opportunity to rearrange and change the experience of a situation simply by changing the position of your viewing. Begin to gently come back into your mind and your body. Begin to take note of your breath. Feel your breath coming in and flowing out. Notice how the body feels and use this experience as a space of knowledge and wisdom to continue on with your day and your life experience.