Burning Down the House
Inadvertent social-media star Jessamyn Stanley wants yoga to be for all. Here’s how she’s making it happen.
Jessamyn Stanley is so over white-centric, consumer-driven yoga. Armed with a highly articulate voice, a powerful social platform, and a whole lot of attitude, this yoga teacher and New Age thought leader has declared to the world that anybody can practice yoga. And she’s not afraid to show us how it’s done.
JJessamyn Stanley would like y’all to stop calling her a yogi—please and thank you. The 31-yearold yoga teacher from North Carolina, who once shamelessly peed her pants in Savasana rather than leave the room while teaching a hot-yoga class in London, has been struggling with mild celebrity since people started recognizing her in Whole Foods and the airport and the DMV and sometimes just walking down the street.
“Aren’t you that yoga teacher from the tampon commercial?” they began asking after she starred in a U by Kotex Fitness ad for menstrual pads. “Hey, aren’t you that yogi from Instagram?” It can sometimes feel relentless. And while it’s true that Stanley’s Instagram account (with 400,000 followers and rising) is populated by pictures of her, often in her underwear, practicing difficult yoga poses, she says the fame and other forms of ego candy that fuel social media are greatly at odds with the yogic lifestyle she’s trying to live. So will everyone just chill and let her live it?
Like it or not, Stanley has attracted a massive amount of attention in what feels like a few short years. Since 2015, she’s been recognized by countless media outlets such as
Forbes, Bon Appétit, and USA Today—and last year she became the go-to yoga spokesperson for the New York Times.
Her podcast, Jessamyn Explains It All, is recording its second season, and she’s about to launch a Web series, in which she’ll tackle taboo, politicized issues such as the legalization of marijuana and the shortcomings of monogamy. (Her first guest will be yoga teacher and fellow body-positivity advocate Dana Falsetti.)