by Studio Director, Ash Daniec



g r a t i t u d e … this entire matter took some mental growth for me to grasp.

I remember the first time I was asked what I was grateful for; it was in 2002 in a high school yoga class and funnily enough in that same class I was told to sit outside with one of my friends Kersten, as we had laughed throughout the entire session. When asked, “Ash what are you grateful for?” in a classroom of 25 girls my mouth dried up, I was a tad confused and embarrassed. Embarrassed because I actually didn’t know what to say. I laughed it off and as we kept moving, holding different poses and attempting to channel all of my 14-year-old energy. I was left thinking, pondering as if maybe I had been “punked” and Ashton Kutcher was going to roll on through at any stage. I understood I had all these amazing opportunities, people and things around me but I didn’t appreciate them or even understand how to. The question was left unfinished echoing occasional throughout my head.


Let’s glide through to my early twenties, I had recently turned 21 and I had no idea who I was, what I was doing or what I even wanted to do. This period was a bit of a smudge. I was very emotional, living for the weekend, super fit, super broke and a bit all over the place. I definitely did not have any form of my “shit together” other than my exercise routine. I had even changed my hair a fare few times dramatically in the last 12 months. You are probably asking what does hair have to do with anything? Well I don’t know about you but I feel you can tell a lot about someone’s mental state purely by their hair color or changes. I had gone from pixie peroxide blonde to almost black with a blunt fringe and hair extension then attempted to return to blonde which ended with a burnt orange frazzled assortment. Sounds hectic right? It was. It was almost like I was trying on different versions of me because I didn’t understand who I was or what I stood for. One strength I did have throughout this time was that I was always willing to give anything and everything a go. Nothing was too hard and I loved a challenge. At this stage in my life I hadn’t danced in a few years now and I had not discovered any form of movement that made my body “feel good”. I ran a lot on the treadmill and did weights afterwards, but I hadn’t found anything that was helping me with my mind. I did however love dancing out with friends, it was like everything in that moment was exactly perfect and carefree – this may have been the 4-5 vodka lime and sodas I sipped in seconds, but let’s give that moment the benefit of the doubt. I had dropped out of my nursing degree, I had made tear-jerking decisions in my first long term relationship and all I wanted to do was be outside, be social and travel. I decided to quit my part time job, move to London and backpack around Europe for a year (standard go to for a uni drop-out). It wasn’t until I was on the other side of the world full of potatoes and cider, borderline depressed, rocking a burnt caramel topknot that I really valued home.


Home was going to the bakery with Dad on a Sunday to grab the paper, coffee and a warm croissant. Home was laughing uncontrollably on the floor with my sisters to the point we would cry, over something silly no one would understand. Home was finding a package on my bed from Mum’s adventures that day. Home was something I had taken for granted for my entire life and I had not acknowledged the foundation my parents had created. The home that I was missing, was a home full of unconditional love. All I wanted to do was come home but because me being the stubborn little human that I am, I stayed. I felt like it was some sort of self punishment. I cried most nights whilst I was overseas, I would cry going to sleep or in the shower, no one had any idea. On the surface I was slightly off but nothing too noticeable to the people I had decided to surround myself with.


I don’t want to sound cliché but “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” was very real for me in that time of my life in so many aspects; family, love, relationships. I knew I didn’t like where I was and how I was living, however I was grateful for my home being there no matter what and I was grateful for being able to see what was holding me back even though I had absolutely no indication of where I was going.


#Part Two coming soon