Yoga Instructor and Wellness Founder Promotes Inclusivity, Proving that Yoga Can be for Everyone
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Yoga Instructor and Wellness Founder Promotes Inclusivity, Proving that Yoga Can be for Everyone

Caption Jessamyn Stanley helps yoga students break down barriers and honor their authentic selves, while practicing yoga. You can now find her teaching the art and posting photos of her yoga moves online. Photo credit- Instagram

Jessamyn Stanley proves that the art of yoga can be embraced by everyone, regardless of shape, size, color, or gender. For those who are feeling weighed down by pandemic stress, Stanley may offer heaps of encouragement to grab a yoga mat in your own house for the sake of sanity and personal wellness.

On her website, Stanley says that she is is a yoga teacher, body positivity advocate, and a Durham, North Carolina.-based writer. While breaking stereotypes, Stanley is a body-positive proponent who focuses on how her yoga students feel, as opposed to how they look, when they engage in yoga practice. The internationally recognized yogi also uses high-energy vinyasa flow as a way to move past mental and emotional barriers.

The website also revealed that in the fall of 2011, practicing Bikram yoga semi-regularly commenced. Stanley’s flexibility has dramatically increased since she began practicing yoga.

“My favorite yoga studio is located in my living room. It consists of my yoga mat, a few upcycled props, and my Samsung Galaxy tablet which plays music if I’m doing my own flow or classes via,” Stanley explained on her website.

But Stanley did not embrace yoga immediately. Her Tumblr account provided insight about the previous aspect of the journey.

“I was 16, my aunt dragged me encouraged me to join her at a Bikram yoga class. For those of you who have never tried it, Bikram is a series of 26 postures performed over 90 minutes in a very hot room. How hot is very hot? Roughly 105 degrees,” Stanley added.

The yoga guru continued chronicling her journey on Tumblr, while revealing that she wanted to give yoga practice another try, but Bikram studio yoga rates were financially challenging. Later, she embraced the idea of a home yoga practice, instead of a class environment.

“I developed a pattern—discover cool new yoga poses via the vast online yoga community,  obsessively research them using yoga journal online, and then practice YJ’s suggested preparatory positions before focusing on “mastering”* the new pose,” Stanley explained.

Keeping an open mind led Stanley to phenomenal places in business and in life. In fact, Stanley became the author of Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, Love Your Body. Additionally, subscribers can grab their yoga mats, and take classes via the virtual yoga studio through video content led by Stanley on the Underbelly App. Plus, there is even an Underbelly community.

Afrotech reported that Stanley and her team saw a huge uptick in subscribers for the platform, amid the pandemic. Stanley further explained why she wanted to create an inclusive space.

“So I wanted to create a space where everyone, regardless of where you’re from, what you look like, or what’s going on in your life, feels like it’s OK to be themselves because I really felt like in the digital space that wasn’t happening. The Underbelly is a space where we celebrate what makes you unique and what makes you different, and make space for anyone who has ever felt marginalized, especially in the wellness industry, to see themselves reflected,” Stanley told Afrotech.

Thanks to Stanley, more people everywhere may be inspired to embrace their body type, one yoga pose at a time.