While Instagram is flooded with yogi’s, Jessamyn Stanley is one of the biggest. She is a stereotype-busting yoga teacher, body positivity advocate, and writer based in Durham, North Carolina. She self identifies as a “fat, queer-femme.”
Jessamyn uses high energy vinyasa flow as a way to move past mental and emotional barriers and obtain peace of mind. Her classes provide a body positive approach to yoga which celebrates students’ bodies and encourages them to ask “How do I feel?” rather than focusing on “How do I look?” when practising yoga.
When she first got into yoga in 2011, she found that nobody in her classes looked or dressed like her, and that wearing skimpy workout gear (often necessary for comfort while exercising) without judgement was a privilege most often reserved for the skinny. She felt that as a woman of her size, she had to cover up, but now says that by wearing as little as she wants she is dismantling the idea that those carrying more weight should hide their figures.
She used social media to spread her message building a substantial following, and in 2017 released her book Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Your Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body. Elle Magazine described it as “a clever memoir of a millennial woman’s search for self-acceptance hidden within a beginner’s guide to asana yoga.”
In April 2019, she launched her yoga app The Underbelly.Tags: Body Positivity