Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body

To understand society’s accepted idea of a yoga practitioner, turn to a Google image search for the term “yoga”—which results in an endless scroll of slender young white women. It’s easy to see how someone who doesn’t fit that mold might feel alienated and lost.

That’s exactly how Jessamyn Stanley felt when she first tried yoga. “Here’s the thing: I’m fat. And I’ve always been fat,” Stanley writes in Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body. “I found it nearly impossible to reconcile my Afro-American natural beauty with the one-dimensional…portrayals of beauty that surrounded me.” It was only through starting a home practice and posting images of her progress on Instagram that Stanley found the diverse, vibrant community she craved.

Today, the self-proclaimed “fat femme’s” trademark funny, brash, kind, and brutally honest approach to tackling big topics—fat-shaming, body image and the media, the tyranny of unattainable beauty standards—has garnered her over 282K followers on Instagram; features in Good Morning America, Glamour, Shape, Lenny Letter, and other national media; and acclaim as an internationally celebrated yoga instructor.

In Every Body Yoga, Stanley offers an unprecedented new guide to yoga—specifically for anyone who has ever felt as though their body was too “different” to start a practice. Written for both beginners and experienced readers looking to refresh their practice, the book shares easy-to-follow instructions to 50 basic yoga poses and ten sequences to practice at home, all photographed in full color. Along the way, Stanley upends the paradigm by showing that yoga isn’t about how one looks, but how one feels. To that end, she shares her own deeply personal, emotional stories that each lead to a yoga flow she uses when she needs to access a certain feeling: “I Want to Energize My Spirit,” “I Need to Chill the F Out.” Stanley also answers the many questions that people continually ask her, such as:

• I have no motivation to exercise at all, let alone practice yoga. How can I motivate myself?
• What if my body is too weak to practice any yoga poses and I just fall in a heap on the floor?
• What are the spiritual benefits?
• There are very few yoga studios around me, and none of them know how to work with a bigger-bodied student, so what should I do?
• Am I advanced enough for a non-beginner yoga class?

The next step in the evolution of yoga, this indispensable book shares a groundbreaking approach that weaves yoga seamlessly into life.

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About the Author | Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley is the author of Every Body Yoga, as well as an internationally recognized yoga teacher, award-winning Instagram star, and body-positive advocate. She has been profiled by a wide range of media, including Good Morning America, TIME, New York, Glamour, People, Essence, Lenny Letter, and many others. When she’s not on the road teaching, she lives in Durham, NC.

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