With this being our annual Wellness Issue, what does ‘wellness’ really mean to you?
I look at it so holistically. I think, at our core essence of who and what we truly are, we are wellness. We are ultimate perfection, beauty, pure happiness, bliss and all of those things. So, I think the most important thing to live a life of wellness is to be connected to our most natural self. And it’s not so much about the things we need to be well, but more [about] eliminating the gunk to realise [who] we truly are at our core.
So, what are your wellbeing non-negotiables?
Meditating twice daily. I do it as soon as I wake up, and then around 4pm or, if I’m on set, at lunchtime. Also, physical activity. Normally it’s pilates or yoga, but if I’m not feeling very well, it can be walking to [Sydney’s] Bondi Beach, like I did this morning, touching the sand and then walking back.
You’ve done yoga for about 13 years. How has your approach changed?
In the beginning, it was very based around a physical practice ... trying to be skinny, like sweating my arse off in Bikram yoga. But then I had that first moment of peace and separation [from my thoughts and] I was like, “Oh my God, there’s more going on in this yoga practice than I actually have been giving [it] credit for.” At the time, I was [modelling] in Germany and started really suffering with insecurities [as] I was getting told to be skinny and all these things. So, the contrast of having that separation [from thoughts] was huge for me. That made me want to keep going with yoga and spirituality, and learning more about what that was.
How else do you work out?
I dance. It’s [a practice] called 5Rhythms, and isn’t choreographed – I’m terrible at choreographed dancing – but I love to be moved by music. The longer I’ve done it, the more liberated I’ve felt in just my own body movement. You can get really weird with it – I’ve taken a few people there and they’re just like “yeah, no thanks” [laughs]. Then pilates makes me feel much stronger and even more aligned, physically, than yoga.
You’re launching a wellness project with your sister Jess, aren’t you?
It’s a prescription-based app and website – like having your gym and wellness coach in your back pocket. We’ll work with experts, so you’ll have daily movement exercises, daily nutrition, recipes and mindful practices. We’ll bring in the spirituality in a tangible way. Just like taking a moment before you eat and giving thanks. Being aware of the people who have touched your food before it got to your plate. Just that expanded consciousness and gratitude, which ultimately are all the ingredients for spirituality, but I think sometimes it seems unreachable. So, I’m really excited about that. The launch is probably about three months away.
Speaking of family, you’ve been through a marriage separation since last starring in Women’s Health in 2015.
I got divorced [from Buck Palmer in 2017 after about two years of marriage] in that time. I [didn’t] think that would be my life – having that experience before 30. We were together for seven years. [One day] we literally woke up and went to get married. We were both wearing Akubra hats and I wasn’t even wearing white – it was very casual with no one else there. Then I left a couple days later on a [modelling] job to Europe and I thought, “Oh my God, I’m married.” It was just such a whirlwind. We’re still friends now.
What helps get you through a challenging time like that?
The gratitude of learning or the experience, and taking the silver lining out of it. So, I got to really learn a lot about myself in the heartache [and] the hard times. Relationships are so often a mirror. When they’re tough, I think that’s some of the best material for self-growth. I feel like I just became a bigger person out of the experience and more in tune with who I am.
Does it take you a while to get to that point?
I’m naturally someone who reflects deeply, feels deeply ... I always have been. But, it’s definitely taken me a while to have the lightheartedness around [the experience of the divorce], you know, to not be able to burst into a ball of tears simply by telling a story. Now, it’s a good story, but when you’re going through it, of course, [you’re] feeling it more deeply. Time and space gives it the lightheartedness that I can now have with it.
Read more of our chat with Ash – including her food philosophy – in the June issue of Women's Health, on sale now.