A Q&A with Ashley Hunt, a meditation evangelist who’s shaking things up.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m a modern meditation teacher, passionate about spreading the life-changing power of mindfulness. It’s my mission to show people how important meditation is for our health and how easy it can be to develop your own mindfulness practice. My style is accessible, enjoyable and suitable for all – no crystals, chanting or lotus poses, just practical tools to help you live a happier life. I travel between London, Australia, Bali and New Zealand and I also offering online coaching and courses.
How has your career background helped you as a meditation teacher and wellness coach?
My background is in marketing and PR so this has been a huge help for me since deciding to start my own business. From knowing how to approach press, to being able to do my own copywriting and email marketing, I feel really lucky that I was able to save time by already having these skills. Also, having worked in a stressful work environment for many years I know well the pressure and stress that people are put under in this industry and it allows me to tailor my work accordingly.
Meditation is so topical now. How do you see the meditation world developing?
It is so exciting to see the meditation world evolve! It was the top New Year’s resolution in 2017. When I started meditating over 10 years ago it was a very different landscape, and most people assumed the practice was exclusively reserved for hippies or celebrities. I love seeing more and more people discover the benefits of meditation and start to see a place for it in their daily lives.
From CEO’s, to students and parents, we are beginning to realise the benefit of meditation as well as seeing it as an essential habit to give us a competitive edge. I know that everyday meditation will become more and more mainstream.
The first step will be for the industry to become properly regulated, which will lead the way to ensuring teachers are well qualified and experienced. I think it will be it will be our job as teachers to find a way to make sure that meditation is not just seen as a fad or a trend, but to show people it is a practice that is here to stay.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
Preach what you believe, not what you think people want to hear. I’ve learnt recently that the best thing I can do for my business is to be authentic and honest. Make sure you are not only clear on what you want to do but why you want to do it. How are you going to make an impact on people’s lives for the better? Don’t underestimate your ability to have a positive impact in someone’s life. I spent a long time hiding myself as I never wanted to make it about me, I wanted the focus to always be on my clients. But I realised I needed to open up first if I was to expect my clients to open up to me. Don’t be afraid to tell your story, as that’s how people are going to be able to connect with you, and connection is the most important thing.
What business focused resources would you recommend and why?
One of my favourite books is The Element by Ken Robinson. I think of it as essential reading for anyone who wants to clarify their purpose. My favourite website is the Collective Hub which is always full of great resources for entrepreneurs. I also subscribe to the Intelligent Change newsletter which is packed with absolute gold. It’s written by the guys behind the 5 Minute Journal and the Productivity Planner and they share their best time management and productivity tools.
What do you know now that you wished you had known when you started teaching?
Not everyone is going to like what you do. I used to stress myself out needing everyone to love all of my classes. I’ve since realised that it is impossible for everyone to like the same thing. Some people will hate it, some people will be indifferent, but there will also be some people who love it and keep coming back because what you are doing speaks to them. These are the most important people and they are the reason you do what you do.
What are you most excited about now?
My Bali Escape! In October I’m leaving London to head to a luxurious jungle hideaway in Bali to lead a retreat. This isn’t your typical meditation retreat with mandatory silences and vegan food – we’re going to have champagne, cocktails, on-site chefs, daily meditation, yoga, pool-side pampering and much more. It’s really more like a wholesome holiday than a retreat, but you’re guaranteed to come back feeling refreshed and revived.
Tell us something cool that about you not many people know?
I’m not a yoga instructor! People always assume because I teach meditation that I must teach yoga too. I’ve never been a yoga instructor and never will be. I love yoga and I practice regularly, but I never wanted to make it my career. I purposely try to separate yoga from my meditation practice because I don’t want people to assume they have to be linked. You can have one without the other.
Where can we find you?
I am the lead meditation guide for MEDITATION:UNLOCKED where I run sessions every Monday evening at Maple & Kings, in King’s Cross, London.
Join my online course, Transform Your Life With Meditation & Mindfulness; follow me on Instagram for live guided meditations each Sunday.