This is some yoga you’ll want to bow down for.
Jessamyn Stanley has grown a following of over 50, 000 Instagram followers thanks to her yoga snaps.
But these aren’t your signature sunset-filled, scantily-clad “yoga porn” pictures. And Stanley’s not your “traditional” yogi – just a yoga enthusiast-turned-teacher keen to dispel stereotypes and promote positive body image and diversity.
Oh, and she’s got some pretty kick-ass leggings to go with her gravity-defying yoga skills too.
The 27 year-old first started Bikram yoga in 2011 and loved it.
“I was always one of the bigger people in the classroom, but I think that Bikram is great because the size discrimination is very minimal,” she told The Cut.
“When I moved I couldn’t afford to practise in studios anymore. As soon as I started practising at home, this whole other world opened up to me, because when you’re in the classroom, it’s really less about the instructors and more about the students,” she says.
According to Stanley, a common fear that people who don’t fit the mold confide in her is that they’re worried people will stare at them.
“I’m like ‘They ARE going to be staring at you’. That’s the reality of it. We live in a society where we are trained to think that being overweight is wrong so people are going to stare at you. They’re going to have ideas about you. The only thing you can control is your reaction to that,” she says.
To get comfortable, Stanley recommend practising at home, which she believes will build the happiness and enjoyment that will be with you regardless of what studio you go to.
“For the longest time, I thought I didn’t want to be a teacher because there’s so many teachers. But I know so many people who are very slender – I guess more “typical yoga bodies” – and those are usually the main people who are soliciting me because they just want to feel normal,” she says.
For Stanley, her Instagram account (which garnered attention earlier this year) is really just a way for her to chart her self-improvement.
“The best part for me is I can go back and literally see my progress. ‘Oh my muscles are better here, this is what I need to be doing differently’. That’s the point. It’s hard to really hone a home practise without having some kind of documentation,” she says.
And she has a no-nonsense attitude for any online haters.