Body positivist: yoga

Jessamyn Stanley, an advocate of body positivity: yoga is not just for “a type of person”

Body positivist: yoga

Jessamyn Stanley’s Body positivist: yoga The first foray into yoga was a 90-minute Bikram class in a room that reached 100 degrees.

She was in high school at the time, and her aunt thought she would enjoy the intense class of 26 postures. In short, Stanley hated him so much that he thought the first yoga class would be the last.

“Since I was very young I thought I was not an athletic person,”

Stanley, 32, told Know Your Value. “So, being in this environment that was a challenge even for the athletic people, my brain went off and said ‘no, not in this.’

If it seemed that a limit was too difficult or if it could not do well, the first time I did not even try. “

Body positivist: yoga

Your perspective has changed immensely.

Now Stanley is a recognized yoga instructor, author, and advocate of the positive body. His online yoga studio,

The Underbelly is based in Durham, North Carolina, but is available everywhere.

Stanley’s social publications doing headbands splits and advanced equilibrium postures have gone viral. And it is known for encouraging people of different colors, shapes, and sizes to practice yoga.

Defender of the positivity of the body and yogi Jessamyn Stanley.Bobby Quillard
“Yoga is not just for one type of person,” Stanley said.

“Right now, it’s only marketed to thin, white, wealthy people, that’s a small percentage of those who exist, and it’s not the group of people who need yoga the most.”

Body positivist: yoga

Stanley’s transformation was not linear, nor was it overnight. He struggled with body image problems, family crises and finding consistency with his practice.

“It’s a work in progress,” he said. “I consider myself a person who is ashamed of the body, and who will not recover.”

I have days that are great, and days that are terrible. Beauty is to understand that the ups and downs are the points, and if I can agree with that, I’m doing well. “

Body positivist: yoga

Stanley grew up in a close-knit family

In Greensboro, North Carolina. His father was an amateur athletic bodybuilder, but Stanley did not catch his sports bug during his childhood.

“It was that guy who was told they were slow and uncoordinated, so I was always terrified of team sports.” I was always trying to twist my ankle before the field day, “he said.

When Stanley was a small child, his mother became ill and was often bedridden.

His father had to do two jobs to support the family, so Stanley and his brother often cooked fast but unhealthy foods like ramen noodles.

She was depressed and said that she became a “fat girl” when she was about 8 years old.

“I started growing around the same time my mother got sick … I definitely grew up hating my body and feeling very uncomfortable with myself,” Stanley said.

It was not until the university that Stanley discovered a new world in the making of positivity and acceptance of fat through the online communities Tumblr and Livejournal.

Stanley became involved with large women who preached self-love instead of shame, and slowly, he began to change his way of thinking about his own body image.

“Without that community … I do not think I could have gathered that from within,” Stanley said.

Body positivist: yoga

Stanley was studying nonprofit

Art management at graduate school when a classmate convinced her to try yoga for the second time in her life and, again, it was Bikram. She was a little more comfortable on her skin this time.

“The heat was the same, the postures were the same … everything was the same, except me,” Stanley recalled. “He was often the fattest person in the room and the only person of color. It was alienating.

But I said, “you could complain about it, or you could just try.” And that idea of ​​just trying it without fear of what would happen next, or of not being good enough. It was an awakening. “

Body positivist: yoga

Stanley was also learning that yoga

Is not about showing flexibility or superpower postures.

“Sitting on my shins was a big deal for me, it was not a sudden idea that I was actually a contortionist, I was showing up for this medicine, it made me feel good, and it was starting to pull me out of the fog.”

Positive body advocate and yogi Jessamyn Stanley. Bobby Quillard
As she began to practice yoga more and more,

Stanley began posting photos of herself online to record her progress.

She was not looking to give instructions, but the comments kept coming in surprise, and happy, that a “fat girl” describing herself was good for yoga.

Body positivist: yoga

Stanley underwent a 230-hour yoga

Teacher training and began giving instructions online through various applications. His exposure to the press went through the roof.

He appeared in Cosmopolitan, Shape, Forbes, Teen Vogue and much more. His autobiographical book “Every Body Yoga” came out in 2017.

In April, he launched his own application The Underbelly, whose motto is: “If you have ever thought that people who look like you or think like you or live as if you did not do yoga, this is your place to try.”

Anyone who felt too self-conscious to practice yoga or any physical activity, Stanley offered some advice:

“Try to stop thinking about what other people think of you. It seems difficult and seems too simple, “said Stanley.”

But yoga is more than an exercise you do on Saturdays with your Lululemon, it’s about understanding compassion at every moment and reaching compassion before we reach fear. “

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