Jessamyn Stanley Biography

Meet Jessamyn Stanley, a plus-sized African-American yoga instructor, writer, social media influencer, and podcast host. With her mission to challenge beauty stereotypes in the yoga community, Jessamyn is making waves as a yoga teacher at the Durham Yoga Company in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. She also offers online yoga classes and travels the world to spread her message. Jessamyn is the author of the empowering book ‘Every Body Yoga’ and is currently working on its sequel. She is a sought-after speaker on body politics and has hosted a popular advice podcast. As a brand ambassador for Kotex, Lane Bryant, and Motrin, she is dedicated to promoting inclusivity and diversity. Jessamyn is also making her mark in the fashion industry by developing her own plus size athletic wear line. Recognized for her contributions, she received the ‘Healthy Living’ award at the ‘8th Annual Shorty Awards’ and has a strong following of over 365k on Instagram.

Quick Facts

  • Age: 36 Years
  • Gender: Female
  • Writers
  • American Women
  • U.S. State: North Carolina
  • Notable Alumni: University Of North Carolina
  • Education: University Of North Carolina

Rise to Stardom

There have been a few incidents in Jessamyn Stanley’s life that pushed her towards yoga. One of these incidents was when her high school sweetheart broke up with her, which led her into a deep depression. This inspired her to turn to yoga to feel good about her body. In 2011, she received a Groupon pass to her local Bikram yoga studio, where she found minimal size discrimination. Despite her father’s disapproval of her dropping out of school, he did pay for her yoga classes, even though he didn’t care about her passion for yoga or her interest in social media.

In 2012, after relocating, Jessamyn found it difficult to fund her yoga classes. As a result, she decided to do yoga at home and upload pictures of her progress on Instagram. She did this to get feedback on her form and technique from the online yoga community. At first, she was shocked by the comments from surprised people on her photographs of doing difficult poses. However, these comments encouraged her to set a new trend by more aggressively showing people what she was able to do despite being ‘fat’. She felt strong despite her figure and gradually inspired more and more people from around the world with her body-positive approach to yoga.

Jessamyn gained recognition from the online community for the first time when she was awarded the ‘Shorty Award for Healthy Living’ in 2016. Since then, her unique and inspiring story has been covered by leading news outlets and TV shows, including ‘Good Morning America’, ‘The Daily Mail’, ‘New York Magazine’, ‘The Sunday Times’, ‘New York Times’ Women In The World’, and ‘People’. She is now widely celebrated for her refreshing teaching method and has become a spokesperson for body positivity. She often expresses her thoughts in her articles for various publications, including ‘Mind Body Green’, ‘Wanderlust’, and ‘Elephant Journal’.

What Makes Jessamyn Special

Jessamyn Stanley emphasizes that body positivity doesn’t come solely from doing yoga. While researchers have found that people who do yoga are more aware and accepting of their bodies, the feeling of being confident in one’s own skin should come from within. She encourages her students to ask questions about their bodies that they were not asking before and shift their focus from “How do I look?” to “How do I feel?” She teaches her students to use high energy vinyasa flow as a way to move past mental and emotional barriers.

Based on her own experiences, Jessamyn also mentions that yoga instructors often think that overweight people need help with training. In their attempt to provide assistance, they can make the students uncomfortable. Now a trained instructor herself, she makes sure to provide guidance after determining the specific student’s need for it. Commenting on the trend of creating separate “fat” yoga studios, she mentioned that while it can be comforting for some to go to classes specifically for oversized people, such discrimination might encourage people to categorize themselves within one group or the other.

Personal Life

Jessamyn Stanley was born on June 27, 1987, in Dunham, North Carolina. Although she dropped out of school before completing graduation, she attended yoga classes and later trained as an instructor. She maintains a membership at Manhattan co-working space The Wing, but contrary to what people think, she actually refuses to move to New York City due to the lack of fresh air and high cost of living.

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