Yog­amove­ment­takingover

Don’t let In­sta­gram fool you into think­ing only girls with im­pos­si­bly toned abs on beaches prac­tise yoga…

Look (UK) - - YOUR BEST BODY -

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

@my­nameis­jes­samyn

Jes­samyn with Look’s Beauty As­sis­tant Gabrielle

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