Asha Gill, the host of Soulvana, is one of the most prolific personalities in southeast Asia.
Having been the face of countless TV networks, including Channel V International and the Discovery Channel, a brand ambassador for Tag Heuer and named Best Presenter at the Asian Television Awards, Asha’s previous interviewees, such as The Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz and Beyonce, reads like a who’s who of pop culture — but you probably already knew that.
What you may not know, however, is that Asha, the new host of Mindvalley’s Soulvana Academy, has a profound sense of spirituality — and has been this way her whole life.
A Spiritual Childhood
Her relationship with spirituality was an everyday part of her family’s life. “I went to school every morning with my father doing guided meditations and visualizations in the car,” she says.
“I guess from the time I was little, I could understand things from a broader perspective. We would always have open discussions at home, I frequented different temples, churches, places of worship and my grandfather always taught me to listen to my inner spirit, or to have faith in myself. I’ve been infatuated with tarot, runes, magic and ancient lore and mythology all my life.”
Born to an English mother and a Punjabi father, Asha’s upbringing was more open-minded than most. “Growing up in Malaysia with Southern Indians, northern Indians, Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, I was very much open to all the different religions, as well as different aspects of spirituality.”
The mixed nature of Malaysia’s multi ethnicity equipped Asha with the ability to interact and connect with different people — something that would serve her well in her future career.
Connecting With Others
Blessed with a warm personality and the ability to immediately put people at ease, Asha has a knack for drawing out the best in people and learning from their stories. When asked what her biggest strength was, she responds, “I’m interested in people, I’m interested in stories. I get fascinated listening to someone’s life story and what they’ve gone through.”
As the host of Soulvana, Asha will be interviewing and having in-depth discussions with authors, experts and gurus, about all aspects of spirituality. This is not something she takes lightly — but she also doesn’t paint herself as the pinup girl for spiritual enlightenment. In fact, she admits she is far from it — but also implies that this isn’t necessarily her end goal, anyway.
“I don’t believe in this lifetime I am ever going to achieve enlightenment… I don’t have that kind of goal, but I do have a huge desire, to have people not be so hard on themselves, to be able to laugh at themselves, but also to find some tools that make them feel better about themselves, happier, calmer, be able to deal with a kid screaming with colic every day for months on end, or get out of a situation that’s toxic, and they actually learn to believe in themselves again… It would be great to be a part of making it happen.”
Spirituality Without Judgement
Asha’s form of spirituality is one that is both powerful and accessible — and not just reserved for an elite few. “I never resonated with the ‘new age,’ “ she explains.
With certain self-help fanatics Asha met, “there’s always this thing of, ‘we’re living a better, more holier life than you,’ which I found to be more excluding in the sense that you were either one or the other, but being in between meant even less — so if you still drank, or even smoked, hell in some cases still ate meat, you weren’t fully committed — and I found that very off putting, that I could not be perfectly imperfect and still be a better person.”
To Asha, spirituality and personal growth doesn’t have to mean a dramatic transition from “bad” to “good.” Instead, the beautiful part of Soulvana’s authors and courses are that they meet you where you are, in this moment, without judgement.
As Asha puts it, “To connect with teachers, guides on whatever terms and see that they are not saying ‘you are broken, let me fix you,’ or ‘you need to change your life, diet everything…’ but instead they are saying, ‘this might be your stuck area, this is the broken signal that’s holding you back, this could be the root of your low self-esteem…that’s a very different kettle of fish. These are real tools, real learnings that will help you grow as an individual.”
Since joining the Mindvalley team, Asha has become increasingly exposed to different schools of spiritual thought. Soulvana features a range of spiritual authors, from Eckhart Tolle and Louise L. Hay, to lesser-known (but equally insightful) figures. There truly is something for everyone, as Asha herself has discovered.
“One of the beautiful things of coming here, and going through the authors we’ve got was being inspired again. One of my favorites that I’ve discovered so far is Caroline Myss. Because she says, ‘You can be who you are, you don’t need to be snorting tofu.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my god, I love you.’ ”
A Unique Perspective
While spirituality is often linked to religion, this doesn’t resonate with Asha. To her, spirituality is deeply personal, unique for every individual, and this has allowed her to express her feminine — and feminist — side.
“I gravitated towards the gods and goddesses that I felt empowered the feminine side. I was always very in tune with the feminine side. And so, to me, religion’s actually got nothing to do with spirituality. I was very aware of that from a very young age. I think religion is a marker of the culture you get brought up in.”
Asha genuinely wants to help people to become their best selves, particularly women, who she says are often discouraged from expressing themselves. “I think women inherently have a lot of suppressed anger, which I think manifests itself in very different ways, and either outward or inward, it’s in them.”
The community aspect of Soulvana is, in Asha’s opinion, key to true spiritual growth. “I think that’s when, if you’re part of a community, the spirituality of that group, all inspire and so much more value to the experience. Giving keys to people that they can then use, putting them in touch with other people… You’re helping somebody else, and whilst you’re doing that, you’re going to be helping yourself, too.”
When asked what her goal is for her role as the Soulvana host, Asha is classically humble and generous. “I think that if by virtue of me and how I share my stories, learnings and truth — if by virtue of that, people can laugh at themselves a whole lot more, and actually find a tool to let some angst and drama evaporate from their life, and be able to deal with whatever blows across their path whilst staying more grounded, then that would be fab.”
Having been experienced a rich and full life, complete with both amazing experiences and challenging times, Asha has learned to let things go and take every day as it comes.
In fact, while she claims to not yet have a set relaxation technique or routine, this simple act of mentally letting go has helped her to focus on — and savor — the now.
“I’m most excited because I can’t see what’s going to happen — and I’m okay with that. I’m just letting everything go, and I’m just really excited about what’s going to happen. I’m forcibly stopping any planning of what I want to happen. Rather, I am focused on what I want life to feel like. If you asked me what I wanted to be doing in five years, the kind of house I was going to live in, details like that, I am happy to say ‘I don’t know.’ But ask me how I want to feel and then I have a very clear picture! I’m going with that over a scrapbook of false desires anyday.”
Asha Gill’s Favorite:
Book: “Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. It’s just funny, it’s wow, it’s lovely.”
Quote: “There is no spoon.”
Guilty pleasure: “A fine single malt.”
Time of the day: “Every night when I cuddle up to my son and we’re both sleeping. Favourite time of my life everyday. There’s no finer feeling in the world, no finer moment of, I belong, I’m home.”
Asha Gill is the host of Mindvalley’s latest academy and School For The Soul, Soulvana. Featuring a variety of spiritual insights, perspectives and teachers, Soulvana offers a range of courses for you to expand your consciousness and express your true self.