My next body celebration series comes from a woman who not only teaches others to feel good about their body shape but is helping to change the attitudes within an industry that is still very scared and traditional. Yoga enthusiast, teacher, writer, blogger, and advocate Jessamyn Stanley is the latest to grace her effortless poses on my greeting cards. I was so grateful to be given the chance to illustrate Jessamyn and discover more about this confident and non-apologetic woman.
Describe your body shape in 3 words?
My body shape is generous, juicy, and unexpected.
Where is your favourite body feature?
My favorite body feature is the width of my wide, wide, WIDE thighs.
What made you go into your industry?
I never wanted to become a yoga teacher. In fact, the reason I became a yoga teacher is because I was completely inundated by requests from people all over the world asking me to teach them yoga. I kept recommending other teachers, people who I felt were more qualified- but I still received endless requests. Once I finally started teaching, I realized that it didn’t matter if I WANTED to become a teacher- obviously, the fates were out of my hand. The universe had other plans.
What have been the challenges you’ve faced about your body shape within your industry?
My biggest challenge is that I face constant discrimination at the hands of my fellow yoga teachers, as well as yoga studio owners and various yoga brands. Many Western yoga teachers and studios believe that only certain body types should be allowed to teach yoga, and if anyone with a “curvy” body does manage to teach yoga, they are only allowed to teach classes specifically for larger bodied students. On the other side of the coin, many “curvy” bodied yoga teachers believe that curvy students should only learn heavily modified or beginner friendly yoga- and they don’t approve of my advanced student friendly, vigorous vinyasa yoga style. It’s a little sad because it means that I end up being kind of alienated within my industry.
At what point did you start to accept the changes within your body shape?
I started to accept the changes with my body shape once I (finally) realized that it served my body absolutely no good to continue feeding it negativity.
Do you think within your culture/environment has changed attitudes towards accepting all types of the female body shape?
I think you can see the beginning of new attitudes, but I think we have a VERY long way to go in terms of accepting all types of female body shape.
What would you tell your 15-year-old self about your body?
- Please chill the fuck out about your body obsession.
- Stop eating your pain.
- Exercise just because it feels good, not because you feel like you have to do it in order to be beautiful.
- And while we’re on the topic, you’re absolutely beautiful exactly as you are.
How do you celebrate your body shape?
I celebrate my body shape by resisting the urge to disrespect it.
You can by @mynameisjessamyn greeting cards here