How This Curvy Yogi Is Helping Others Embrace Their Body Shapes
The first time you walked into a yoga class, most likely you chose to sit on the side or in the back, where no one can stare directly at you. Not only is yoga hard (it can take months or years to learn advanced poses), it can also make any person feel self-conscious about her body — especially if she is more curvy.
Enter Jessamyn Stanley.
The self-described yoga enthusiast and fat femme has taken to social media to challenge the notion of the ideal yoga body and, in the process, made #curvyyoga happen. "We live in a society where we are trained to think that being overweight is wrong, so people are going to stare at you," she said in an interview with New York Magazine. The plus-size yogi, who has been practicing Bikram yoga since 2011, admits her body isn't what people expect of a yogi (or from a yoga teacher), but she doesn't let her weight deter her from teaching or doing what she loves. Jessamyn added that the ambivalence people have toward her melts away after taking her class because they're sweating and "they're in a different place."
Although she says it can be intimidating to walk into a classroom and see the typical yoga bodies, the main point of yoga is not about whether a person is large or slender. "The whole point of this practice is to burn away the parts of our lives that are built up over the years that don't matter and to burn that away to who you truly are," Jessamyn said.
Not only does she inspire curvier girls to try yoga without the fear of being judged, her honesty and frankness are also magnetic. Just take her personal website, where she wrote, "I think it's really important for me to say that my first yoga experience was hell on earth. Are you hearing me? HELL. ON. EARTH," before she goes on to describe her yoga journey. Currently, as a yoga instructor, Jessamyn also added that she thinks it's important yoga teachers be "familiar with how to work with a larger-bodied person." Keep reading to see the inspiring images Jessamyn has shared so far.