About 99 percent of all photographs, articles, marketing, educational videos, workout videos, advertisement, and yoga studios have this image that yoga is for thin, skinny, white women.
We’re here to tell you this is total bull. Forget the body type stereotypes that pervade the media and ads you see everyday — yoga is for everyone — not just white women who head to the studio before running errands or taking the kids to practice.
Regardless of your body type, the color of your skin, your ethnicity, your religion, your socio-economic status, your age, your location, your gender, or your sex, yoga is something that you can do without needing justification.
Unapologetically the most amazing, baddest, and stunning black woman in yoga is Jessamyn Stanley — at 29-years-old, this South Carolinian yogi annihilates every stereotype out there — one asana at a time.
Contrary to popular belief due to over-marketing towards skinny white girls drinking their lattes and wearing overpriced Lululemon, Jessamyn is an inspiration in that she brings passion, skill, and self-awareness to her love of yoga.
While other people may be comfortable describing themselves or others as plus-size, curvy, voluptuous, or big-boned, Jessamyn Stanley doesn’t have time for that nonsense and proudly calls herself a “fat femme” — she has found genuine authenticity and a loving self-acceptance on the mat that those reading this can only envy (I know that I do).
Jessamyn proclaims her incredible practice of yoga in her photographed book, Every Body Yoga, which shows visually that yoga is for everyone.
We have written articles before on yoga for men, yoga for soldiers, yoga for anxiety and PTSD, and yoga for the elderly or healing — we didn’t realize we had been so remiss in calling attention to not just age, gender, sex, and mental state — but to the most important aspect of humanity — the fact that race and body type often make people feel like they cannot or should not do yoga.
Let’s blast away those preconceptions that are simply awful and untrue. Be unapologetic and grab your gear, head to your yoga studio, and see that there are all types of people with different body types, religious backgrounds, demographics, race, skin color, gender, sex, and everything in between, practicing yoga because they like it and it benefits them. This is the only thing that should matter to you.
Jessamyn Stanley was once in your shoes. After falling into a deep depression after a family death, Jessamyn said that she “couldn’t sleep, I was sleepwalking through my life, not engaged, and I wanted to get back to feeling good and strong. I was in a small apartment, but I would roll out the mat and do the postures that were familiar.”
In these moments of practicing yoga, Jessamyn began to love her body exactly the way it is — she started with home practice and after posting images of her progress on social media, she attracted a mass following on Instagram — why? Because there are so many under- or completely unrepresented people in the world who love yoga, love body positivity, and love Jessamyn’s passion for the mat.
So, if you are reading this and for any reason feel that you are unfit for yoga somehow due to weight, age, skin color, where you live, how much money you have, or preconceptions people have about your identity — Jessamyn Stanley and millions of other inspirational yogis are right there beside you, asking you to join them.