This Plus-Sized Yogi Is Challenging the Traditional “Yoga Body”

Think you know what a yoga body looks like?When you hear about Yoga you usually think of hard poses, head stands, flexibility and a slim body.But the North Carolina-based 27-year-old yogi is challenging preconceived notions of what a Yoga body should look like. Jessamyn Stanley is strong, fit, flexible – and she also happens to be overweight.

Jessamyn shares tons of photos and short clips on her Instagram & videos on Youtube on Yoga and has classes all over to encourage more people to join in the art. Not super skinny? No problem. This woman wants people of all shapes and sizes to know that they can still reap the benefits of doing yoga.”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 , but she doesn’t let her weight deter her from  doing what she loves.”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,” she said.

When Stanley started posting photos of herself doing yoga to Instagram two years ago,she has over 55,000 followers. But as people found her photos, she realized she was inadvertently helping others. People reached out to her explaining that they thought they couldn’t do anything because of their bodies or the way they looked, but that her photos had helped them think differently.

It’s clear that Stanley is so much more than just a “yoga enthusiast.” She’s also a yoga teacher, and the captions on her colorful photos are all about her love for her students as well as inspirational messages. Sometimes it’s okay to slow down, she tells her followers. It’s also okay not to know everything, but to learn and “celebrate the small victories.”

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 teacher, 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.

I took a little break from the internet this weekend. I mean, I likelovehate social media as much as the next late twentysomething but JEEZ- a femme can only take so much 'internet-ing' before she needs to get outside and feel the grass under her toes, ya dig? In addition to spending time with my loved ones, eating @krispykreme doughnuts, and sunning myself by the banks of the Eno River, I spent the past few days catching up on projects that slid to my back burner while I was in Asheville. Of course, I would love to spill the beans on everything new and exciting to come, but I'm sworn to secrecy on several different topics. HOWEVER, I am SO STOKED to announce that my #yoga teenage dream is about to come true- my long distance yoga love @nolatrees & I are hitting the road….together….to teach joint yoga workshops! Dana & I are getting pumped to bring our body positive yoga mission to as many of you as humanly possible. However, if we hold a workshop, would you come? What studios/cities would you like to see us in/at? If you're too shy to write in the comments, feel free to shoot me an e-mail @ mynameisjessamyn@gmail.com. The instagram yoga community has blessed us with the opportunity to find kindred spirits across the globe- I think it's high time we take the #bodylove yoga movement into the stratosphere. #effyourbeautystandards #honoryourcurves Pants- @lineagewear P.S. via @nolatrees- if you're a studio owner, e-mail us!

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I hit a wall in my practice this morning. I was practicing a @kathrynbudig flow on @yogaglo and I started to feel pretty winded about 20 minutes into it. I'd definitely practiced the flow before- I recalled thoroughly enjoying it in the past. But this morning, the voice in my head started working harder than the rest of me. "Take a break," it said. "You've been hauling ass all week, chill out." And so I stopped- only 20 min. into a flow I'd LOVED in the past & I was wiped out. I tell this story to say: we are all ALWAYS students. We are all ALWAYS merely practicing. No matter how long you've been practicing, your body will be different every damm day. I spent a few moments mentally berating myself before I just started flowimg spontaneously on my own. It was kind of a blessing in disguise-I ended up working on a # of poses that rarely show up in my practice these days. Basically, never feel bad if you're practicing #yoga & it starts beating the shit out of you. It literally happens to all of us. Leggings– @maleshactivewear

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