By now, you’ve either heard of Jessamyn Stanley or you follow her awesome Instagram account where she shares her journey as a yoga instructor and body positivity advocate. Or maybe you’ve seen her on a commercial or two.
Before Instagram, Black women were hardly represented as a viable face in the yoga world. Stanley not only helped to change the narrative with her account, she also changed the way people thought of the typical athletic or flexible body.
Here are 5 reasons we simply cannot get enough of Jessamyn’s presence in the yoga world and online in general.
1. She keeps it real about how she feels about her body despite her fame and accomplishments in yoga.
It is hard to be confident in yourself. Social media makes it look easy and sometimes even glamorous, but it’s not. My struggle towards self-confidence and self-love is constantly evolving. In my experience, self-hate doesn’t miraculously go away. It takes work. Showing up for that work is what’s most important. So every day, I come back to the drawing board. I wipe away yesterday’s actions and try to release both the good and the bad emotions. I try to be compassionate towards myself. I try to show myself love instead of hate. It is hard. I was not trained to love myself. I’m not good at it. And I don’t live in a world that wants me to love myself. But this work isn’t about a hashtag or a movement- it’s about survival. I must love myself in order to survive. That’s the goal. Everything else is just extra. Proud to celebrate Every Body Beautiful day with @Refinery29 and @LaneBryant #seethe67 Check out their Facebook Live on @Refinery29 at 4pm ET (link in bio) Bra + Panties by @lanebryant Photo by @zoelitakerphotography
Just recently her photo above was shared by multiple Instagram accounts. The caption that accompanied that photo was honest, inspiring, and true reminder that though it’s natural for most women to judge their bodies, it’s also necessary to find peace with our bodies.
2. Each time she posts a photo of herself hitting a difficult pose, she demonstrates the power of the mind and body.
When I go home, this is how I’ll remember London. Obviously I’ll remember my glorious weekend teaching at @hotyogasociety1 and the awesome experiences I’ve had around town, most recently with my love Gabriella who set up an awesome backstage tour of @nationaltheatre that set my little theatre nerd heart on fire. I’m sure this weekend is bound to be dope as hell, considering tomorrow’s #TheGuiltyFeminist Live show and Friday’s @CurvesomeYoga round table chat (it’s at Siobhan Davies Studios at 7:15pm, @vickitravelpics!) But my yoga practice is changing in a very serious way. Frankly, I’M changing. I don’t care about the same shit anymore. My practice used to be all about asana and proving myself/body ideals wrong- that’s definitely still there, but I’m over the asana chase. I don’t think it serves my spirit in a positive way, and I think it’s a pretty superficial understanding of the practice. I am so intrigued by this internal journey- asana is a great way to get there, but it’s far from the final destination. And I think I had to get out of my regular yoga bubble, padded by bullshit, to see what I’m missing. And I kinda wish I was going to more classes around town and trying out new styles of asana in a new city. But frankly, I need to steep in this internal journey. And so yes, this is how I will remember London- on my @liforme mat in my little flat, practicing #headstand & #handstand #scorpionpose variations not for any other reason than the opportunity to chip away at the exterior. To see my heart. To see my true identity. That’s a lot bigger than a fucking pose, ya dig? SIDE NOTE: These leggings are by @k.deer and they are the fucking jam. They were a gift from my boo @olgaallonhys and they are worth the hype. I am wearing a 2XL- if you’re plus size, get familiar. Belly coverage for dayssss. Bra- @torridfashion
3. She loves up on herself perfectly.
On a daily basis, I still feel like I have to reclaim my body. Just in case I ever forget my ass is fat and that’s not a bad thing. Just in case I ever forget my back rolls are seductive as a slice of @starbucks pound cake on that day when you say you’re going on a diet but then you’re like fuck it gimme dat pound cake and caramel macchiato stat. Just in case I ever forget there are actually jeans that can fit over my belly. Just in case some asshole ever makes me feel like a fat sea monster and then I get depressed for ~.0035 seconds before remembering that Ursula was LITERALLY a fat sea monster and she’s the baddest bitch in the history of Disney villains soooo. Just in case some dickface ever manages to penetrate my shield of self-confidence. Middle fingers in the air, fat bodies out and proud- that is how I am living my life. Just in case I ever forget that the bad bitch parade never stops, that being fat can be a powerful emotional asset, & that surviving the bullet wounds of others is a battle worth fighting. I talked about this in depth + the journey of loving my body as a #queer person on the #queerbodylove podcast w/ @ejcooper12 yesterday- the podcast will be live later this month and you can follow her here and on Facebook to listen when it comes out! Jeans- @slink_jeans
4. She’s one of a few visible Black female instructors that you can do yoga with online. Last year I was so thrilled when she released her “Everybody Yoga” series via Codyapp.com.
5. In a world of serial dieting, which often garners unhealthy habits, she’s not afraid to tell the world that she eats whatever the hell she wants without apology.
I’m at a stage where I’m consistently happy with my body. Probably because i’ve been practicing yoga all the time, eating whatever the fuck I want, spending time with people who love me, allowing myself the freedom of frowning when shit is hitting the fan and I’m covered in muck. I never expected to feel this at home in my skin, and I don’t always feel this way- but I do feel at home in it today. It’s been a long and crazy summer. So much shit is on the horizon and a lot of it might hit the fan. And instead of focusing on how I might not feel like this tomorrow or the number of people who don’t want me to feel this way, I just want to celebrate this moment of self-love. Because it could be gone tomorrow and that’s fine, too. Bra and panties are @lanebryant and @zoelitakerphotography took this photo