In addition to being an author, Jessamyn Stanley is a widely recognized body-positivity advocate and decorated yoga instructor. The established yogi/Instagram star has developed a unique approach to yoga, which has earned her many awards and helped her build up a loyal following. Jessamyn continuously uses her platform to advocate for an unrepresented group.
Jessamyn creates her content, publishing it on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. Most of her content and speaking engagements are centered on promoting body positivity, empowerment of women, and inclusion for the LGBTQ+ and African American communities.
Read on below to find out more about Stanley’s journey in yoga, her favorite flows, and body-positivity advocacy efforts.
Jessamyn’s Yoga Journey
While she had experimented with yoga at the age of 16, Jessamyn only got serious in 2012 – around the time she was relocating to Durham, North Carolina. However, she was not able to afford to practice regularly. This forced her to start practicing on her own at home to meet her yearning for consistent yoga practice.
Jessamyn, just like anyone else, was scared of practicing yoga at home by herself. In a Well + Good article reprinted from her book “Every Body Yoga”, the yogi stated, “I was scared as hell to practice yoga at home.” In the excerpt, she explained how she wondered whether she would be able to nail the correct moves without the guidance of a seasoned yogi. Fortunately, she was able to use her passing familiarity with some of the moves to lay the right foundation and safely build from there.
A short while after getting started, Jessamyn was enjoying the rewards of her efforts. By practicing yoga in the comfort of her home, Jessamyn felt a level of freedom that was new to her. She could break any rules, practice whenever and for however long she wanted and even wear whatever she felt like.
This freedom gave her the courage to explore more complex poses. Every time she felt as if she had hit a brick wall or wanted to find out if she was doing the right thing, she had the internet – and its endless resources – to fall back on.
Jessamyn uses high-energy Vinyasa flow to create her unique approach to overcoming emotional and mental barriers. Primarily, her methodology focuses on how she feels and not how she looks, which is something that she also stresses to her students.
Advocating for Body Positivity and Inclusivity
As a passionate advocate for body positivity and inclusivity in yoga, Jessamyn intends to democratize this ancient wellness practice. In an interview with Allure, she noted, “I was the largest person in the room” – when speaking about her first yoga class.
Seeing the inaccessible nature of yoga in different locations, the body-positive yogi decided to push for greater involvement among women who did not look like the groups of predominantly white and slender yoga practitioners who formed a large part of the community she found at the beginning.