meet ashley rufo
I met this radiant yogi at my local gym. when she took over one of the classes as the instructor. Her first class was mind-blowing—literally. Sure, she kicked our booties with her tough and creative flow, but her seeds of wisdom left a lasting impression on me. She's beautifully authentic, inside and out, and I feel so lucky to have crossed paths with her. Her love of yoga runs deep, and her desire to share it with others, even deeper. I wish I could say that her tremendous glow is from a secret serum or of-the-moment treatment, but hers truly is from living a most intentional life. And doing all that circulation-boosting and mind-calming yoga certainly helps too :)
Name: Ashley Rufo
Occupation: Yoga teacher
Hometown and Current Residence: Philadelphia, PA
When someone asks what you do, what do you tell them?
I teach yoga. I don’t consider myself to be a guru. I practice A LOT of yoga, and I try to live it off of my mat. Yoga has helped me in so many ways, so I try to share my experience with others.
When did you know that you were ready to leave the 9-5?
I thought I wanted to a bad ass lawyer lady who wore sweet skirt suits and high heels and kicked butt. But I realized that I’m a softy. I worked at a law firm for almost 2 years, and before the 1st year was over I knew I would never make it in an office—the tension was bonkers.
When did you discover yoga?
In 8th grade, my mom and I attended a yoga class at a church to which we didn’t belong! I went every week for over a year, but got more serious in college. While I was at Penn State, I started practicing with Kristen (Boccumini) Thwing—she’s the reason I became a yoga teacher. If you’re ever in State College go take her class at The Yoga Lab.
What is the most challenging part about being a yoga instructor?
Making sure people walk off their mat and carry the practice out into the world. I talk A LOT during my classes about big, deep things. I want them to get so much more than just a workout.
What is your favorite part about teaching yoga?
Sharing my world! Teaching yoga is my dharma (work in the world), so I try to live it in everything I do. Every single day, I wake up and try to be my best. Then I get to share my world with others in hopes that it can help them be their best.
What’s next for you?
I often get caught up thinking of what I need to do next to expand my teaching, my brand, myself. Then I have to remind myself to surrender. I believe that if we do the best we can with what we have and where we are, what we need will come. So I remind myself to keep my intentions in the right place. I used to have dreams of being world renowned like Sean Corn or the next big IG yogi. But then I remember that I don’t want to conform to anyone else’s opinions; I don’t want to get boxed in. I keep putting out my energy into the world, and new things keep coming back to me. Right now I have 20 plans, but I know the universe’s plan will always trump mine. We’ll see what she has in store…..
What’s your day-to-day like?
A whole lot of yoga and walking around Philly with my dog! My teaching schedule is never the same. I also keep a lot of time for myself. I think it’s so important to spend time alone. I would say part of one’s well-being is being well with one’s self.
Where do you find your inspiration for your classes?
What I talk about in class is usually something I’m working on myself at the time or something that’s helped me in my own practice. I believe in questioning everything, never settling. Once you settle, you stunt your growth, and growth is an amazing thing.
What does personal beauty mean to you?
I believe in living in a way that allows you to come alive. Eat what makes YOU feel good, move the way that makes YOU feel good, dress the way that makes YOU feel good. You feel good when you are true to YOU. Not someone else’s idea of you or what people want from you.
What’s your skincare routine?
I wash my face once or twice a day—whenever I can remember. I use Vitamin E oil or moisturizer after I wash. But my skincare is more about what I am putting IN my body, rather than ON it. And I love the sun. I try to incorporate as much sunlight into my life as possible. Whether that means sitting outside in the sunshine for a bit or eating fruits and plants that are spawns of sunlight.
Do you have a beauty trick you’d like to share?
Smile when you walk around. It may feel forced or false at first, but in time it will become a part of you. When you spread happiness around the place that you live, it changes your world. It changes the world that everyone lives in.
What are the first 30 minutes or your day like?
5 minutes of stillness or meditate, next 20 are coffee. Then I am off to a class...or I start cleaning.
What does being well mean to you? How do you practice wellness?
Every so often, I stop and think, “Wow, I feel amazing.’” I find myself to be most whole and well when I’m completely content in my body and mind—but that doesn’t mean my body is perfect or my mind is free of clutter. If you can love exactly where you are in life—physically, emotionally, financially, geographically, all of it—you’re way ahead of most.
What foods do you like to eat?
I find that my body digests best when I don’t eat a million different foods in one meal. One of my favorite little dishes is sliced tomatoes and basil topped with pan-fried green onion in a balsamic reduction—salt and pepper to taste. So easy, so good.
Craziest beauty trend you’ve tried: My first spray tan got all over everything I wore for the next 3 days. It was my bachelorette party so I wore a lot of white...
Yoga teaching style in three words: Different every day
Travel must-have: Dramamine—I get sick in cars, planes and boats! I could have no clothes, but as long as I have dramamine...
Super good at: Adapting
Embarrassingly bad at: Sports
Guilty pleasure: CAKE!
Smoothie or juice?: JUICE
Must-read book: The Places That Scare You: A Guide To Living Fearlessly by Pema Chodron
Where you’d like to be in 10 years: Ask me again in 9 ½ years please!
Favorite instagram account: Rachel Brathen @yoga_girl
In your fridge right now: 90% fruits and vegetables (and always wheatgrass because I juice it every a.m.), 10% the food my husband actually eats