This episode's guest on #MWL is Ashley Brooke James. We talk about overall health during the quarantine (including wellness vs. fitness), mental health, and what tools and resources are being utilized to maintain mental clarity. We also discuss her podcast, "You're excused."

Ashley has a passion for promoting wellness and extending this promotion to people from every experience level. Being "well" doesn't have to be stress-inducing; it should be the opposite. Finding wellness and relief through an accepting community is not only possible, but it's being done through Ashley's TRILUNA Wellness business.

Where to watch live:
https://youtube.com/marcuswhitneysvideouniverse
https://facebook.com/marcuswhitney
https://linkedin.com/in/marcuswhitney
https://twitter.com/marcuswhitney

Guest Socials - Ashley Brooke James
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Get The Full Episode Transcription

MW

what's up what's up happy Tuesday

I was fighting non-stop with Comcast

Xfinity yesterday so I want to apologize

for anybody who tuned in and got cut off

prematurely I was able to record the

whole episode with David and I'll export

that and and get it all edited and put

up to the to the YouTube channel into

the podcast but for today I'm really

excited about my guest for today this is

someone who I first met I believe at the

36-86 entrepreneurship festival a couple

years ago and you know but when you're

on stage and you look out into a room

and you can just like see somebody who

is just kind of glowing because they're

so excited, and they feel like this

moment is really magical, and then you

know she kind of reached out to me and

and was telling me about this idea that

she had. I was like that's cool when you

go to these conferences you you see all

types of people who have ideas and then

you know similarly never do anything

with them but then I followed her online

and the growth that her and her partner

have had in their business triune and

well and this has been incredible

the attention to detail of the design is

fantastic I love it and I just loved the

message that she has so I'm really

excited to have Ashley Brooke James to

here today with me the co-founder of Triluna.

What's up Ashley how you doing? 

ABJ

hi

thank you so much Marcus and I always I

always wondered if you remembered me

from that culture it's really mystical

up to you

so the vibe did you remember that it is

so great so thank you so much 

 

MW

yeah no I

you know I remember all those things you

know I think they're important and I was

I was once that first time entrepreneur

at those conferences looking at people

that had more experience you know they

weren't like larger-than-life but when

you don't have that experience and

you're early in your journey it feels

like they're larger than life so like I

told

remember that and I and I just think you

know never forget sort of where you came

from and you know what it was like to be

early on but now you are the person on

panels you are the person talking to

other people about what it is to launch

a successful business and keep it

authentic and make the move from

corporate America to being an

entrepreneur so you're on the show to

talk about your business but I think

also the philosophy behind your business

and why it's so incredibly timely right

now right 

 

ABJ

right right awesome so yeah

 

MW

Can you just give a little bit of background

on try Luna like you have a partner for

the for the listeners and the viewers

 

ABJ

absolutely well try wanna traveling and

wellness and events is I'm one of the

co-founders my partner Elizabeth Moore

who is watching as well we started this

as a passion project Elizabeth and I met

and our yoga teacher training and at the

time I had just left my corporate job

and I knew I wanted to open up a

wellness company and she was on the

verge of quitting her job was opening up

a wellness company and our ideas married

each other so much and so we said

instead of being competition let's be

collaborative and come together it was

really important for us also to come

together because what we didn't see was

a lot of wellness and fitness companies

doing a lot of collaborations especially

people of different races so we we were

very intentional about coming together

and making this something that people

had never experienced or saying try Luna

is a wellness and events company we have

three core services that we specialize

in movement such as yoga health coaching

and cooking classes which we combine

into comprehensive wellness workshops

curriculums and retreats for both

corporate and community organizations so

we do everything from we we like to mix

you know the Wellness with the fun like

we have an event coming up with ah've oh

this month

it's called avocados and awesome

it's a half yoga class and then we eat

food prepared from avos so a big thing

about our business is community because

we feel like community is a part of your

Wellness

MW

I think another big part of your

business is creativity you know you all

are just even the three things that you

said that you merge together and then

the way that you go about it and the way

that you communicate as a brand I mean

there's definitely a brand voice that's

very that's very consistent but to me

what I what I love when I look at your

business is how creative it feels it

feels like everything that you you and

Elizabeth have done you've like you sat

down and you like came up with it you

know I mean it's not like I don't see

you guys borrowing from other people

stuff and and I and I love the

co-creation aspect of what you do is it

the mind Magic Festival Body Magic

festival yeah you know that was a big

collaboration that you did you talked

about the collaboration you're doing

with although you know what is it about

what is it about the act of creating

that has that has allowed you to to find

this this unique Lane in the fitness

space so many so in the wellness space

sorry you know so many so many I have to

say fitness professionals like here

really call them wellness professionals

so many famous professionals are

operating inside of a certain sort of

set of confines from a business model

perspective from an engagement

perspective and you all don't have a

space per se right you don't have like

that building I think it's even like on

the bottom of your emails like no

physical location but you but you do

have this this community and it's like

this community exists digitally it

exists in person and you're creating all

these things also based on like the

moment in time I remember the messaging

that came out from you all when the

pandemic hit we all started being

locked down and it was just you were

maybe one of the first well-being

fitness organizations to to really be

able to deliver a brand new model very

quickly you know 

 

Can you talk about like the

 role of creativity in how that's, just it

 appears to be fundamental to me, so I'm

 just like

 can you talk about that at all?

 

ABJ

Absolutely well before I got into this, I

 come from 10 years of sales and business

 development, and Elizabeth has 10 years

 of marketing and branding. So all of the

 beautiful things that you see 

 straight comes from her. She is a

 creative genius on that aspect. For me, I

 just have a huge imagination and I just

 am always like, “what if we do this, and

 this, and this.” She like agrees with it,

 she's like, “yes.” But where we got this

 creativity, where this stems from is when

 we got into this space, we noticed that -I

 mean I've been doing yoga for 10 years,

 and I can walk into a yoga studio and

 they say it's for beginners- and it

 wasn't. And so our our idea going in was

 let's go with the beginners mentality. A

 lot of people are afraid of yoga because

 everybody's in these pretzel moves and

 standing on their heads and it scares

 them. But when you mix donuts and yoga together, people are

 going to show up. Or if you say we're

 going to do yoga and have mimosas after,

 people are gonna show up. So it was like

 how do we get creative to really draw

 people in where they're not so fixated

 on the yoga, but more excited about the

 community aspect of it right? And so we

 are intentional about you know even

 though our targeting. When we go out and

 how we're targeting, we make sure that

 our messaging -if you look at our

 Instagram, you won't see a lot of

 advanced yoga poses us doing all these

 things because we didn't want to give up

 that intimidating factor- even on my

 personal page. I try to -when I'm

 showcasing yoga- I try to do standard

 basic moves because I think it starts

 there, and I think when you get into the

 advanced moves, you start to scare people

 away. So it's just a lot of first liz

 being a marketing and branding genius, me

 having an imagination that is just over

 the top, and then both both of us being

 very focused and intentional about a

 beginner's mind and creating a space for

 people who just want to show up

 as themself and try yoga for the first

 time without worrying about the girl next

 to her standing on her head.

 

MW

yeah I love that and and and I also

you're gonna find out that I've been

watching your your branding and your

communication the entire time as we keep

talking so so there there was a point in

your business there was a point in your

business where it felt like you all

really got confident in that beginner

like offering in that welcoming

disarming like offering you know did you

find as you were in the very very early

days you know like let's go back to the

first six months the first six months of

you know you trying different things did

you find people who came to you and

we're like oh my god thank you for

making something that I feel like I can

be at and not be embarrassed or because

it cuz it would seem like I have to tell

you like I'm a guy and I know that like

try Luna is very female oriented like

it's a name it's you know which is which

is great but one of the reasons why I

like it is because you know I'm one of

those people I'm one of those people who

I have lots of I have lots of things

Letta Klee where I'm strong but

flexibility is one of the things where I

really have to work at it I've gotten a

lot better but I've had to work and work

and work to be able to access some poses

that other people can just sort of jump

in and you're right like the the the way

that the yoga teacher expresses

themselves has so much impact on whether

or not I feel encouraged or supported or

I feel like you know what I'm just like

a complete failure. so I'm just wondering

both those first six months of feedback

like for you guys 

 

ABJ

um they were

incredible I mean we were having women I

mean we were targeting different groups

that we knew that we're looking for this

I mean there was different Facebook

groups that we were in and we were like

I'm just looking for basic yoga class

that can just go to and just you know

because high yoga Power Yoga has been

advertising you didn't get a lot of

beginners or slow flows or restorative

yoga the things that slowed things down

so we were like okay we're gonna promote

this we're gonna put this out there and

then we were very intentional also about

the pictures make sure that we had women

of all races represented women are

called body types you represent it and

so when people start to see that they

show up and they see that like they look

around and notice it's not a particular

look or body type just here and it makes

them feel comfortable and our team is

our team is not allowed to talk to each

other at events it's our job to go out

and make new friends and introduce other

friends to new friends spill community

and so that that from the beginning

people are like I feel like home I feel

like this is something that you know I

was looking for and it was important

because that is losing I didn't have

that especially me when I came in there

was not a lot of black women doing yoga

oh yeah it was two other you know black

teachers that I knew of

and then for Liz you know she felt like

there was only one body type that was

being represented and so we were like I

said again intentional about creating

this environment for my marketing you

know when we talk to people making sure

that people were interacting with people

that they normally want to talk to yeah

and so that was very very important to

us when promoting and when people showed

up for us and making sure that we set

that in the example in that environment

 

MW

so another key theme of the trilemma

brand is this this juxtaposition of

Fitness versus wellness right you know

you all are not shy about saying go grab

you a doughnut you know what I mean like

not shy at all right and I think in this

in this moment of time you know we

talked about a little bit before the

show this is such a difficult time okay

and and it seems to keep getting more

difficult right it's like it's like it's

for us here at Nashville has started

with the tornado right and then we sort

of like won from the tornado to a week

later you know coronavirus really

setting in and then the lockdown order

and

and on and on and now you know with with

the protests and everything around

police brutality and and just the

treatment of black people in this

country period and really all over the

world what we're seeing this is a I it

feels like it's not an easy time to be

well it feels like it's not an easy time

to be well 

 

as a leader of a community

how are you navigating that what are you

you know I feel like this would be a

time to kind of go back to basics and go

to the most simple things what are you

telling your community what are you

telling yourself and your partner and

and you know what what would you pass on

to our listeners and our viewers 

 

ABJ

Okay, I

 will first start out by saying

 that at the beginning of the

 quarantine, I saw -we saw,

 TRILUNA saw- that there was a lot of

 content being out there like don't

 gain weight, don't do this, workout, make

 sure you're doing all of these things.

 And I feel like that that message was

 completely wrong. We are in a in a period

 in our lives that we are, our stress

 level is at the highest of highs. People

 are worried about their jobs, their

 businesses, you know their children not

 being in school, when they return to

 school. I mean and looking good in a

 bikini is the last thing that you need

 to be worried about, okay. let's just keep

 it 100. What we need to be focused

 on right now -and it's hard because you

 get all of these tools, and I think

 sometimes we overthink it- we have a

 workshop called meditation for stress

 management, and one of them we have this

 exercise called the circle of life, and

 I'll make sure that I get it to you.

 It is just a little check-in that you

 put these dots on where you feel you’re

 most filled. I mean it can be your

 spiritual, your finances, you know

 anything, any it has different

 categories. And so the purpose of that

 exercise is for people to look and see

 that nothing is perfectly balanced, right.

 And so it's just a reminder to you

 that

 it doesn't have to be this circle of

 balance, but maybe you focus on if you

 know your spiritual side is up right now,

 maybe that's your full focus right now.

 Maybe that's what you focus on, you know

 everybody's travel’s down right now, 

 know everybody's money. But how about you

 focus on those things that you know that

 our filling you up. I also think

 people overthink some of the things that

 bring us peace and give us you know a

 little decompression right

 now. I think people feel like they have

 to be walking, or running, or you know

 working out to like feel active, but

 think about all the home projects that

 are going on right now, and how happy

 people are and how they get lost into

 those home projects. You see so many

 people cooking down and trying all these

 awesome meals... these are all forms of a

 meditation or a sense of relief, and I

 think because it doesn't come packaged

 in enough “umm” we automatically think that

 “I'm not doing myself service.” So I'm here

 just to tell people to be more

 intentional about those things that

 we're doing right now, even if it's like

 if you're reading your book, like reading

 a book is a form of relief for you

 because it takes your mind off of the

 news and everything that's going on

 around you. So really, the advice that I

 have for people right now, the things

 that are are bringing you joy right now

 -whether it's cooking or reading or

 whatever- like pour yourself into those

 things right now. Because there's so many

 distractions -we turn on the TV, we turn

 on our phone- it's all these distractions

 for us to be committed to what we think

 is healthy right. So find those things

 that are bringing you relief. Like my

 house looks completely different

 since the so quarantine. But I enjoy

 being at home now; I have all these

 different places in my home that it just

 has this different feel about them. But

 those things give me release, and I think

 if we can be more intentional about that

 -even eating meals at home with our

 families more, you know having

 conversations that are maybe necessarily

 around

 what's happening in the world- like

 just having other conversations. But I

 think it's really, like you said, it's

 getting back to the basics of things. And

 if you were a big work workout person and

 you're just not feeling you know

 motivated, like I told you like

 I haven’t been doing a lot of yoga during

 this, I'm just sorry that's not

 where my headspace is. But I've been doing a

 lot of walking, you know a lot of just

 being outside -I love being outside- and

 when I'm out there I don't even listen

 to music I just take in the sounds

 around me. And I just dream about the

 future of TRILUNA. I think if we can be

 more intentional about the things that

 are bringing us relief right now and

 peace, then we could be less concerned

 about running these 5.2 miles

 or hitting the gym to lift weights, and

 things you can take that amount of

 stress off of us.

 

MW

 yeah there seems to be

a thread of acceptance right well you

know accepting ourselves for what we're

experiencing and and what we're sort of

being pulled to do and if we don't feel

like we have the energy to do something

that's okay

you know just kind of flow with that and

do the thing that you do feel like

you've got the energy to do right now

and how do you how do you define

wellness how do you define wellness you

know I feel like lots of different

people have different definitions for it

I mean do you have a definition 

 

ABJ

I don't

have a definition but I do like to think

of I mean the the whole mind body soul

thing didn't just come out of the out of

nowhere and I think that that is our

wellness when we're taking care of our

mind or we're taking out care of our

body and we're taking care of our souls

that is wellness when we take care of

just our bodies that is just fitness

it's just one area of this three part of

taking care of yourself you have to make

sure that our minds are right I mean

whether that's through you know

meditation or whatever activity it is

but at the end of the day no greater

exercise is better than our sleep you

know we have to be able to get sleep we

have to be able to be able to rest

our bodies everybody is not meant to do

boot camps or physical things like that

but finding some form of movement air

body like I'm not a big boot camp person

or anything I'm very competitive Mike

and so is really like 

 

MW

yeah I can tell

with your business and I can tell which

is called you know that's that's one

thing I love is that you're not afraid

to kind of call out the you know the

fitness dudes or whatever you know what

I mean like you definitely have a an

antagonist in your story you know what I

mean you have an antagonist you call

that as a gonna style which I which I

love so I could see the competitiveness

but at the same time it's like you're

competing for people to find

you're competing on behalf of other

people for them to find a true sense of

place it's like just like peace within

yourself 

 

ABJ

right because I feel like the

world has like said all these

expectations are on us to be healthy but

healthy is just our bodies nobody's

telling you to take care of your mind

nobody is telling you to face your

feelings and sit in those and forgive

yourself for those things and be able to

move on nobody is you know all they're

so concerned about is what you put in

your mouth let's have a cheat day let's

do all of these yes I yes I challenge

some of the people in the fitness

industry some of those guys are some of

my really good friends but I would like

for them to not so wellness is sickness

so like being able to talk through why

are you telling people that they need to

do these 50 burpees like what benefit is

that gonna have to them and knowing that

everybody's body is made up different so

not everybody's gonna have the same diet

sir be able to do the same thing so I

think it is we're really big on bio

individuality and people finding what

works for them and I think when you

speak to a crowd and telling a crowd

that you don't need to be doing this you

need to be doing this you need to be

doing less you're not really finding out

individually who that person is and who

what that person needs

and I think in wellness fitness we need

to just take a step back and really look

at what we're promoting overall and if

you're promoting fitness that's

completely fine but there's other parts

of wellness that goes with that yeah you

need to be providing resources for it as

well 

 

MW

what what is it like for people

inside of the the Tri Luna community I'm

not you know I'm a four year I get to

watch from all the digital stuff but you

know what's what's it like for for

someone who's a part of it you know and

maybe especially in this era of COVID

19 where a lot of stuff has had to

become digital like how does it how does

it operate how does it function 

ABJ

so the

whole digital thing which is great well

while we were able to make that big

pivot I just wanted to put this in we

are very Elizabeth and I are very

goal-oriented we every year we come

together with our team and we lay out

our goals we have check-ins we have all

of these things and on our three year

goal plan was online curriculum because

we figured that the only way that we

were gonna be able to sell on the

corporate side is if we put together

these all microc ulam packages and you

know figure out a way to scale that up

so that was a really big part of our

business but being inside of this

community it's it's crazy because people

are like we miss you guys would miss the

message and I think we were we've been

able to create this is because we keep

it a hundred percent real we create

spaces for people to talk about their

trauma and wellness and health and how

we can better provide resources for them

to get through Elizabeth and I are very

very straightforward we're not doctors

we're not dietitians we're health

coaches we're yoga instructors you know

we're here to provide resources for you

and for you to feel comfortable and who

you are because it starts with you it

starts with you feel uncomfortable as an

individual to be able to grow in those

other areas and I just don't feel like a

lot of people are letting provider

spaces where people actually feel

comfortable 

MW

Yeah, no I mean I think

 especially right now, that's

 a big, it's a big challenge. It is

 a big challenge to to have a space where

 you can be vulnerable, and I think it's

 really needed right now because we're

 dealing with some very sensitive

 topics right now, and they are -you know

 for a lot of people- they're bringing up

 a lot of stuff, you know. They're bringing

 up a lot of stuff. And 

 having that place

 where you can go and you can talk and

 you can let down your

 guard I think is super important. There

 needs to be more and more places where

 where that can happen right now.

 

ABJ

Yeah and

 I think a big another big part of that

 is Elizabeth and I -and our team- we are

 very transparent. We don't get on these

 circles and be like, “life is great you

 know everything is dadadadada,” we're like no stuff

 is hard, we’re second year in business,

 we're trying to stay afloat, you know

 we're trying to be good wives, we're

 trying to be you know friends, we're

 trying to... but it's hard. Okay it's really

 really hard. And I think people like to

 hear that realness because, you know you

 can easily get on my Instagram be like,

 “oh she just has this wonderful wellness

 company she does yoga, and life is great,”

 but it's like nah, like that's what I

 want you to see. But we just,

 there's never been a point in this

 business in our retreats, we -I mean

 you can only imagine our retreats are

 just this whole weekend of vulnerability

 and everybody just pouring things- and

 that's where it kind of all started,

 where we learned just to show up and be

 authentically ourselves. And when we've

 done that and taking it into other

 companies even some of our corporate

 clients, we're just kind of like, “can we

 be real?” And it's like, we can -the right

 clients respect the fact that we're real,

 and they're willing to work with us

 because they've never had anything like

 that-. But I can definitely tell when

 we're not someone's cup

 of tea because they're like, “yeah, so…”

 

Could you tone that whole,

 you know, keeping it real thing down…

 

We're looking for detox teas and headstands,

 it's like yeah we're not doing that.

let's talk about your podcast you're

excused I have not actually listened to

the podcast so so let's talk about what

what what you know Elizabeth about doing

on the podcast 

 

ABJ

so the crazy thing is the

podcast was created as you as I mean as

you know my following us Elizabeth and I

have some pretty deep content on our

Instagram page we'd like to talk you'd

love to talk about what's going on in

the world

we have a passion for just everything in

the world and so we'd like to speak on

it so obviously it was only right for us

to create this space where we could talk

straight forward we do feel like at the

beginning we're a little too

straightforward so like you have people

who listen to this like maybe need to

scale him back a little bit so we were

able to talk through that but the

podcast was basically I mean we talked

everything about one of the one of our

first podcast was which will be a really

good one to listen to me now is I don't

see me and it's the story of Elizabeth

and I I coming together and how I as a

black woman didn't see anybody in the

yoga industry in Nashville went along

doing yoga and her seeing women of the

same body images and then this whole

wellness versus fitness thing again we

wanted to create a space where we could

be completely transparent on how we feel

and that is also growing a business like

the the risk that we've taken and I mean

you and I have never talked about this

but I had a corporate job that I left to

you know start this but I mean that was

a lot of risk and I'm still taking risk

and we're just very transparent about

that and you know Elizabeth and I have

grown this company organically and we

just like to share those because we feel

like our story is a part of our journey

and the more that women or men are able

to hear us

um then the more they'll understand what

trilemma is about and why it will start

it and an extension of that this year in

January we actually started our supper

clubs well we wanted to bring people in

person and have these conversations that

everybody wants to have right now we

kind of started that back in January we

wanted to create spaces where people

could have these hard conversations you

know so when it came to something like

this Lorelai it yeah yeah yeah yeah and

so yeah that the podcast was really

about creating the space where we could

be really transparent and then we were

like we want to take this really in the

national community and how do we do this

obviously a part of our services are

cooking and we have chefs on the team

and we wanted to highlight a lot of

local shifts that are out there doing a

lot of things so we created our separate

clubs to be able to do that so the cook

the the podcast the I would say the

supper clubs are your in person podcast

with some wonderful guests that we have

which we have to get you on earth 

 

MW

I

would I would love to come and do one

actually I I just you know I just want

to say I'm such a huge fan of what you

and Elizabeth have have put together

this is this is kind of like what I most

care about right what I most care about

is people being brave taking the big

risks of leaving the the cushy corporate

job and you know the reward that they

get from that is their voice you know

their full complete authentic voice that

is that is so needed in the world and

you find out it's like you know you

create something like what you've

created and there's a whole community of

people that had you not done it would be

out there by themselves right and so I

just want to thank you for for doing

that for for those people because you

know we we need more healthy people out

here you know what I mean we need more

well people out here the challenges we

have in this world right now are going

to require a my podcast with Daniel

Magee is like I love what she said you

know we need multiple leaders we're not

going to solve this by having one or two

or three liters

we need a ton of leaders because the

problems are everywhere you know and we

need brave courageous healthy people to

be able to to step up and and sort of

tackle those problems and they could be

just problems like in their neighborhood

just on their block you know what I mean

but we need leaders on every block right

now and so you know the work that you're

doing is helping to make a community of

people that could really be impactful in

my life and ways I don't know already

know so you know thank you for doing

that continue to do that we'll have to

have to keep you you know checking back

in with the show I have to get Elizabeth

on here to get her perspective

everything 

 

ABJ

absolutely I mean she would

love to I mean thank you Marcus I mean

when I think of black entrepreneurs in

Nashville that are doing great things

you were one of the first person that

found that about like you were watching

me I was watching you and the

opportunity that we had to speak on a

panel that was like really big for me I

was so I just thank you for allowing me

the space to come on here and just share

my story shared the triluminos story and

yeah anytime you want to Lizbeth or

myself for us together to come back we

definitely will so thank you for

creating this space for me today

 

MW

absolutely awesome y'all you definitely

have to follow Ashley you need to follow

try Luna for sure but definitely go

follow Ashley on Facebook try Luna

wellness on Instagram AB the yogi with

some underscores and then try Luna

wellness.com you got to sign up for

their email list it's fantastic and and

as you already saw they have a great

podcast to your excuse go check that out

wherever you get podcasts my book create

and orchestrate coming out June 30th

it's just two weeks from today's crazy I

think I get my first copy in the mail

today I'm really excited about it so

anyway that is coming in two weeks and I

can't wait to get that out into the

world and in your hands the podcast mark

is Whitney's audio universe on every

podcast platform possible it's out there

just go subscribe and follow me at

Marcus Whitney basically everywhere

that's it the internet actually

cooperated today thank you very much

Xfinity I don't have to scream at you

for the next three hours

and we will be back on Thursday I'm

taking a break tomorrow because I'm

doing a special session with the folks

at Nexus summit talking about the big

healthcare note that I wrote last week

so I'm off I'm off tomorrow but I'm back

on Thursday and Friday with another

episode of Marcus wouldn't alive until

then peace

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