Mindfulness is a way of living that is buoyant and skillful. It involves bringing clear and caring awareness to inner and outer experience. It’s a state of embodied presence—steady, compassionate, wise and luminous. Being mindful helps us attune to joy, awe and connection, as well as to kindly meet the difficulties of life with strength that arises from a tender heart. Through meditation practices and other contemplative techniques we can learn to cultivate healthy mind states and to grow more resilient.
My offerings are rooted in three traditions that forge the foundation of the personal practice I have developed over the last twenty years: nature contemplation; vipassana (insight) meditation; and metta (loving-kindness).
Whether you are new to mindfulness or a long-term practitioner—and whether we gather together in a class, training or private session—I look forward to connecting with you.
Nature contemplation is a way of turning towards our inherent and natural belonging in the world. With mother nature as guide and mentor, we attune to the wisdom, perspective and beauty of our inner and outer landscapes. Each of us has roots in indigenous cultures deeply interwoven with the natural world; some of us are connected to these roots, while some of us are on a path of rediscovery. Contemplating nature helps us to be supported by this ever-present source of guidance.
Meditating and reflecting with nature lowers stress, boosts immunity and fosters a sense of belonging. It can be a gentle way to ground ourselves, nurture resiliency and make compassionate space for grief as well as joy by teaching us how to live in reciprocity and reverence.
In some Native languages the word for plants translates to ‘those who take care of us.’
– Robin Wall-Kimmerer
I have been contemplating with nature for most of my life. My training in nature meditation has been inspired by many mentors including Robin Wall-Kimmerer, Kaira Jewel Lingo, Sebene Selassie and Kritee Kanko. I also completed a year-long apprenticeship with Mark Coleman through his Awake in the Wild Teacher Training and One Earth Sangha’s Eco Sattva training.
Vipassana (Insight) Meditation
Vipassana is a Buddhist term (Pali language) that relates to clear seeing. In Vipassana meditation we’re invited to pair clear seeing with kind attention. It’s a way to train our mind to enhance the quality of our attention, deepen concentration and cultivate conditions for insights to arise. It can be a wonderful way to work with challenging thoughts and emotions, including our inner critics. It can also strengthen our capacity to experience and appreciate beauty, awe and joy more fully.
I’ve been practicing vipassana meditation for over twenty years. I have been trained to teach mindfulness through the Mindfulness Training Institute, with Martin Alyward and Mark Coleman. I am also certified through the International Mindfulness Teacher’s Association.
Metta is a state of consciousness that relates to boundless warm-heartedness. A Pali term, the word metta is often translated as loving-kindness. With origins in Buddhism, it’s an orientation to life that evokes generosity, appreciation and kinship; metta practice helps us embody these qualities. The cultivation of loving-kindness reminds us of our shared humanity and how to hold whatever arises in life with compassion.
In addition to integrating metta in my daily practice for the past fifteen years, it is at the heart of my offerings. Bringing metta to life has helped my clients and students strengthen their capacity to give and receive love. I am grateful for the guidance and wisdom of many teachers including Caverly Morgan, Lama Rod Owens, Donald Rothberg, Sharon Salzberg, Pamela Weiss, Kristin Neff and others; through their presence and teaching they support me in growing a heart-centered practice.
Mindfulness Private Sessions
I offer both mindfulness private sessions and semi-private sessions on a sliding scale basis. Private sessions can be a wonderful way to begin a mindfulness or meditation practice as well as to revive, grow or strengthen your practice. Sometimes referred to as mindfulness mentoring, they are an opportunity to deepen your personal connection with mindfulness and to explore its applications in daily life.
MIndfulness private sessions can be held by phone or video, as well as in person in Portland. The first step is always a complimentary, exploratory conversation.
Practical, Wise & Calming
I always look forward to Tuesday meditations with Ashley. In my business, which is sometimes around-the-clock busy, she’s taught me how to find balance no matter where I am. Her guided meditation sessions are very practical, wise, and calming. I find I can use much of what she teaches us each week in my daily life. The world is a happier and more peaceful place because of Ashley’s soothing presence and constant encouragement to find the breath.
Though I’m new to meditation, I felt immediately comfortable joining the mindfulness group led by Ashley Dahl. I learned to let the world and the pressures of work slip away as I focused on my breath. Our weekly sessions helped me to relax and to gain perspective on my life. I highly recommend meditating with Ashley!
In her presence alone, Ashley is able to hold a peaceful space conducive for people to explore and experience meditation. This capacity of hers to be present with students, combined with her knowledge of meditation and mindfulness, reflects her passion and dedication. Having a teacher like her has been an enlightening experience.
Stillness & Vibrancy
Ashley is one of the most compassionate and principled individuals I’ve worked with. She makes mindfulness and meditation accessible and welcoming, regardless of one’s previous experience. Her passion and presence bring stillness and vibrancy to any room. Her openness and non-judgmental attitude are as refreshing as they are contagious. I consider Ashley a personal spiritual mentor; an incredibly skillful teacher and grounded muse in a world threatened by constant noise and distraction.