Yoga became a part of my life around age 16 when I wanted to improve my ballet skills. It was just starting to edge its way into the mainstream, and so I discovered this practice that relied on flexibility, balance, and core strength - what better way to become a better dancer?
Since then I've gone through waves of daily 1.5 hour practices and months with barely a downward dog, getting certified as a yoga instructor somewhere in there and teaching a bunch until I realized that (for now anyways) I would rather focus on my own practice.
One of the things that always made me saddest with yoga, though, was that anyone I would talk to who didn't have a "yoga body" thought that they couldn't do yoga. They weren't already young and fit and flexible, so they avoided it altogether.
I get it, group fitness classes are kind of the worst anyways, and struggling to sit with your legs crossed and a straight spine while everyone around you splays their legs around their ears with smiles that live somewhere between smug and serene does not leave a person feeling great about themselves. Besides, if I'm honest, I also couldn't really argue back that much. When I started, I was already fit and flexible, and I've always lived on the thinner side of life. I am just more evidence that yoga is not for them.
What's heartbreaking about it, of course, is that yoga can do so much good for so many people. I start feeling all bruised inside when I think of all the physical and emotional healing people are missing out on because of insecurity and judgement.
That's why I LOVE Jessamyn. A gloriously curvy and capable woman who posts her yoga poses to Instagram for all to see.
I came across her story (and photos) in a Pacific Standard article, and absolutely love what she had to say about how she got started:
The whole reason that I even started blogging was because I wanted to track my yoga practice, and it's much easier to do that if you take photographs of your body. And it's also a lot easier whenever you practice yoga to practice in either not a lot of clothes, or naked, or just wearing things that make it easy for you to see what your body is doing. So I started posting photographs of myself kind of scantily clad, and that had a resonating effect for people.Here's one of the main reasons this is so great: it's part of a very slow and important learning curve we are all on that healthiness and fitness and skinniness are not all the same thing. Some bodies are just different sizes, and more and more research are showing that diet and exercise are what matters, not what shape your body takes.
So, yogis (and too-scared-to-be-yogis-but-wannabe-yogis) of the world, look! Admire! Be inspired! It's Jessamyn!
In this life, I'm usually not learning anything unless my tits are hanging out and I'm one errant exhale from falling flat on my ass. Thankfully, the #gopro can capture every moment of my learning process. #effyourbeautystandards #honoryourcurves Top- @maleshactivewear (this top is actually extremely supportive & flattering, but #inversions give no fucks about a flattering fit, ya dig?) Leggings- @lineagewear
Some people like to throw shade at North Carolina. As a born & bred North Carolinian, this attitude drives me absolutely crazy. Plus, as an educational debt laden college graduate, I appreciate being able to pursue my dreams in a thriving creative environment that doesn't choke its residents w/ a ridiculously high cost of living. In my interview w/ @cadyshannon of @clarioncontent, I talk about how Durham is really kind of like what #NYC was for college grads of another generation- a place where, w/o sacrificing your creative dignity and/or first born child, you can sow the seeds of your dreams. Click the link in my instagram header to read the interview! Photo by the awesome @alliemullin
I took a little break from the internet this weekend. I mean, I likelovehate social media as much as the next late twentysomething but JEEZ- a femme can only take so much 'internet-ing' before she needs to get outside and feel the grass under her toes, ya dig? In addition to spending time with my loved ones, eating @krispykreme doughnuts, and sunning myself by the banks of the Eno River, I spent the past few days catching up on projects that slid to my back burner while I was in Asheville. Of course, I would love to spill the beans on everything new and exciting to come, but I'm sworn to secrecy on several different topics. HOWEVER, I am SO STOKED to announce that my #yoga teenage dream is about to come true- my long distance yoga love @nolatrees & I are hitting the road....together....to teach joint yoga workshops! Dana & I are getting pumped to bring our body positive yoga mission to as many of you as humanly possible. However, if we hold a workshop, would you come? What studios/cities would you like to see us in/at? If you're too shy to write in the comments, feel free to shoot me an e-mail @ firstname.lastname@example.org. The instagram yoga community has blessed us with the opportunity to find kindred spirits across the globe- I think it's high time we take the #bodylove yoga movement into the stratosphere. #effyourbeautystandards #honoryourcurves Pants- @lineagewear P.S. via @nolatrees- if you're a studio owner, e-mail us!
Follow her at @mynameisjessamyn.