Jessamyn Stanley describes herself as a “yoga enthusiast and fat femme.”
The North Carolina resident has over 500 photos of herself doing every type of yoga pose.
But her posts are about more than how to perfect your downward dog, the captions always contain message about her love for her students as well as personal insights and self affirmations.
“Sometimes it’s okay to slow down, she tells her followers. It’s also okay not to know everything, but to learn and celebrate the small victories.”
Stanley first discovered yoga through Bikram classes in 2011. But, eventually the classes became too expensive and so she started practicing at home using online resources.
“I really think my transition to different types of yoga studios was eased by the fact that I had already established a strong home practice,” she said in a recent interview.
“It’s difficult for new yoga practitioners to venture out of their comfort zone hell, it’s hard for long-term practitioners to venture out of their comfort zones!”
Four years and 40,000 Instagram followers later, aside from teaching yoga, the 27-year-old is also working hard to help women become comfortable in their own skin, no matter what shape or size they are.
“Our society throws crazy shade at anyone whose body differs from the models featured in Western media. I always tell people (especially women) to stop sending negative energy into their bodies and thoughts,” Stanley says.
“That negative energy is responsible for all body unhappiness. The only person in control of your life experience is you. Find the space and love to believe in yourself if only for your own overall well-being.”
While Stanley is based in North Carolina, she hopes, one day, to eventually teach classes all over the world.
“I receive messages from people all over the world who are voraciously hungry for yoga teachers with whom they can relate, and I want to reach as many of these people as humanly possible,” she said.
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You guys, I’m trying to quickly post this before my flight to #nyc takes off- today’s #SizeDoesntMatter challenge pose is #dolphinplank variations, and I have a video forthcoming but this photo from last month’s challenge will have to do in the meantime. Want To Participate? 1. Follow me (@mynameisjessamyn), @yoga_davina, @nolatrees & our lovely sponsors (@personalrecordofficial & @lineagewear) on Instagram. 2. Post a pic of yourself in the pose of the day- check @yoga_davina & I for daily pose updates. Tag us & hashtag #sizedoesntmatter. 3. At the end of the month we’ll select a few of you to receive goodies from our generous sponsors- don’t forget to tag all your pictures w/ #sizedoesntmatter! (BTW, if you’re participating via tumblr, just tag your posts #sizedoesntmatter!)
Thanks to @unclerush, @tarastiles, and @nymag, I am feeling a lot of love from all points of the globe. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see so many people engaging in dialogue about body issues in the #yoga community- this is the dialogue that leads to change.This is the dialogue that fosters a diverse and widespread yoga community, not pictures and inspirational quotes. I am grateful to be part of a community that began long before I ever stepped on a yoga mat. Warriors like @diannebondyyoga, @curvyyoga, & @amber_karnes have been stoking the flames of this conversation for so long and I’m happy to be one of many baby samurais in their kick ass body positive army. @Nymag, one of my favorite magazines, asked my thoughts about the instagram yoga community and the evolution of #fatyoga- click the link in my instagram header to read the article! Also, this photo is #tbt to being a curvy inverted statue with my love @nolatrees. PRO TIP- check out her website (nolatreesyoga.com) for a sneak peak of our upcoming teaching tour dates. Official dates and registration details are coming soon! Leggings- @lineagewear A photo posted by Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) on