Jessamyn Stanley is a one of a kind Yoga instructor, whose plus size body does not stop her from enjoying the act while showing the world that body weight is just a state of mind.
The body positive advocate and writer, who is based in Durham, North Carolina, uses high energy vinyasa flow as a way to move past mental and emotional barriers.
She runs classes that provide body positive approach to yoga and celebrates fat women and their body. In Jessamyn’s opinion, students should ask questions like “How do I feel?” rather than “How do I look?” while practicing yoga.
Jessamyn studied with Kimberley Puryear of Asheville Yoga Center’s 230-hour Teacher Training Program and her eponymous lifestyle blog and Instagram attract thousands of followers daily, offering tips and advice for other practitioners in her field.
The confident sports enthusiast contributes to Mind Body Green, Wanderlust, & Elephant Journal and has been featured and profiled by a variety of International and National media outlets including Good Morning America, The Daily Mail, New York Magazine, The Sunday Times, New York Times’ Women In The World, & People, among others.
As opposed to the notion that slim is sexy, the queer “Fat Femme” is the new face of what sexy and fierce should be. Jessamyn Stanley started yoga by accident in 2011 while at grad school through a Groupon offer and was instantly hooked. Now, the 27-year-old has over 55,000 Instagram followers, thanks to her passion for the act.
Stanley is often scantily clad in her Instagram photos and she thinks it’s intimidating to see the ‘typical yoga body’ at the front of the class. In her interview with Nymag, she says . . . “It creates more of an aspirational experience as opposed to an inspirational one. It doesn’t actually elicit what yoga should give people. 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.”
“We live in a society where we are trained to think that being overweight is wrong so people are going to stare at you. Our society throws crazy shade at anyone whose body differs from the models featured in Western media. The only thing that you can control is your reaction to that,” she said.
“I’m teaching about three classes a week right now, then later this summer I’m going to teach every weekend in different parts of the country… There are a lot of things you learn as a larger-bodied person practicing yoga — what to do with your stomach, what to do with your breasts. I always tell people (especially women) to stop sending negative energy into their bodies and thoughts. That negative energy is responsible for all body unhappiness.
“The only person in control of your life experience is you. I think it’s intimidating [to see the ‘typical yoga body’ at the front of the class]. It creates more of an aspirational experience as opposed to an inspirational one. It doesn’t actually elicit what yoga should give people.
“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. Your body is not standing in your way. Only your mind is standing in your way.”