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Who’s the grooviest Wynn? Ashley, the Grateful Yogi


You know all about Steve Wynn (he fights with George Clooney), Elaine (she fights for public schools) and Andrea (she opens restaurants). Now let me introduce you to the groovy Wynn: Steve’s niece Ashley.

Ashley owns Summerlin’s The Grateful Yogi studio, where she teaches yoga and sings. She’s also a singer-songwriter with a debut album, “Love is the Answer.”

I know Ashley Wynn. My girlfriend teaches part time at Grateful Yogi. But I never quizzed Wynn until this week, so the following is all news to me.

Before Ashley Wynn was 18, she worked summers at family properties, caddying and such. Her first job in 2000 was as a pool attendant at The Mirage, handing towels to guests.

Wynn studied journalism and religious studies at the University of Arizona., where she absorbed teachings of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism.

“I just wanted to learn all I could because my family is Jewish,” she said. “But they were very relaxed. I wanted answers.”

Next came New York. She worked for Jann Wenner’s media group (Rolling Stone, Us Weekly) but later would leave journalism.

Why?

“Because I loved yoga,” Wynn said.

She got into yoga at 14, when her best friend Sarah Wayson (a lifelong friend of the Wynn family) took Ashley to her first class.

“I just got hooked,” Wynn said. “I loved the disciplined aspect.

“It really helped me in other areas of my life, to have structure. I loved that. I had done dance and other types of body movement, and it just really resonated with me.”

In college, Wynn’s yoga practice extended to deeper levels of meditation and consciousness.

Wynn moved to California where she was a part-time yoga teacher; a part-time baby sitter; pursued an acting career; was a freelance journalist; and studied for a master’s degree in early childhood education.

Then, on Sept. 11, 2009, came a personal tragedy that would define her future. Wayson, her best friend, was murdered. Immediately after she got the news, Wynn had a vision of Wayson.

She knows how that sounds.

“It sounds kind of hippy-dippy,” Wynn said. “She basically came to me and consoled me.

“Obviously, she didn’t come to me physically, but it was almost like I was having a dream, but I was awake,” Wynn said. “She just gave me a lot of peace.”

Wynn experienced an “aha moment” and decided to focus on yoga and kirtan singing, leading her to return to Vegas and open The Grateful Yogi last year.

This past Sept. 11, Wynn held an opening party, and this happened:

“I looked out,” she said. “I saw my mom, my stepmom, my dad and both of my brothers. They typically wouldn’t be in a room together.

“In my dream, when Sarah came to me, we were both in the studio, and there was my mom, my stepmom, my brothers and my dad. So what I saw previous in a dream had manifested in front of me.

“I was very ...” Wynn said, pausing and unable to finish the memory. “I’m speechless honestly.”

A few weeks ago in her studio, I watched a full room sing along to music from her album, featuring Bhakti/kirtan/yoga music and available at her studio and on iTunes.

“My devotion is being true to myself and knowing I love singing, and I love music, and I love dancing, and I love love,” Wynn said. “That’s what the album is about — going inside, figuring out what it is that makes me happy, not questioning and going for it.”

So why did she name her studio The Grateful Yogi?

“That came, again, through a dream,” she said.

Ashley Wynn could have been many things, perhaps a journalist or schoolteacher. But that wasn’t her path.

“To be honest with you, that wasn’t fulfilling me. That was fulfilling someone else,” she said. “And I’m just really happy and grateful. That’s the truth. I’m just grateful I trusted that little voice in my head saying, ‘Do not settle.’ ”

Doug Elfman’s column appears on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/entertainment/reel.