It's no secret that in Western culture, yoga is often thought of as only being practiced by a very specific type of person. And that person happens to be skinny, white, and clad in Lululemon leggings. However, Jessamyn Stanley is one of many women who are out to prove that all bodies are yoga bodies.
The self-described yoga enthusiast and "fat femme" began practicing yoga back in 2011. Stanley gained popularity in the yoga community when she began sharing photos of her poses on her Instagram account. Since then, Stanley has amassed over 50,000 followers on the social media platform and inspired people of all shapes and sizes, from all backgrounds to begin practicing yoga.
In May, Stanley spoke with The Cut about her experiences challenging yoga stereotypes and preconceived notions in the yoga world and provided some interesting insights on what it's like to be a plus size yogi.
On what it's like to stand out in the studio:
"I get emails from people all the time and they say, “I’m worried that people are going to be staring at me,” and I’m always like, “They ARE going to be staring at you.” That’s just the reality of it. We live in a society where we are trained to think that being overweight is wrong so people are going to stare at you. They’re going to have ideas about you. The only thing that you can control is your reaction to that."
On what it's like to spot a "typical" yoga body in the front of the class:
"I think it’s intimidating. 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."
On why she shares her poses on Instagram:
"The best part about my blog and my Instagram feed, for me, is I can go back and literally see my progress. “Oh my muscles are better here, this is what I need to be doing differently.” That’s the point. It’s hard to really hone a home practice without having some kind of documentation."
To read the rest of Stanley's interview with The Cut visit their site here.