Don’t let Instagram fool you into thinking only girls with impossibly toned abs on beaches practise yoga…
eet Jessamyn Stanley. Hailing from North Carolina, the 28year-old body positive advocate is no ordinary yoga teacher. With over 160,000 followers on Instagram, including Zooey Deschanel and Sofía Vergara, our Beauty Assistant Gabrielle Dyer spoke with her about shattering the yoga stereotypes one post at a time…
MYou started on Instagram and now have a huge following – how does it feel to share what you love with so many people? Instagram’s changed a lot. When I started posting, there weren’t that many yoga people doing what I do. At the time I was practising at home, which was quite isolated, so it was a nice way to have a community – it was like being in a yoga studio. I was weirded out when people said: ‘I can’t believe a fat girl can do this,’ but then I started getting loads of followers. It’s a great way to promote something I love and am passionate about.
Was it love at first class? My first class was when I was 16. It was Bikram yoga and one of the most horrible experiences of my life. I didn’t do it again for seven years. But then my first class back was incredible. Everything was the same, but my perspective on yoga was different. You just have to get past the pre-conceived notions of what it’s going to be like.
There’s a specific body type that comes to mind when you think of yoga, and you’re changing that. How does that feel? When I started, I knew that larger people were practising yoga, so it was never weird for me to be doing it. But it’s amazing when I meet students who say they’d never practised before seeing my picture. There are so many people who have very different ideas of what their bodies can do and we have to change that.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about yoga? People think that they’re going to get a six pack and many yoga teachers reinforce that. There’s this elitism and that’s not what yoga is about at all.
So how can we join your classes? I have classes on two websites you can buy. One is Stream Yoga* – those are longer classes – and I also have classes on Codyapp called Everybody Yoga.**
What would you say to someone who thinks their size is holding them back from yoga? To anyone who has a preoccupation with their body, I’d just say that you need to stop thinking about it because we’re all so strong.
Jessamyn wants to change yoga preconceptions
Jessamyn with Look’s Beauty Assistant Gabrielle