Body-Positive Yoga Enthusiast Wants To Help You ‘Change Your Life’

By Connie Nelson
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Great Q&A with Jessamyn Stanley, who calls herself a “yoga enthusiast and fat femme.”

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Jessamyn Stanley isn’t your average yogi, so it makes sense that her new book, “Every Body Yoga,” isn’t your average yoga book. Part comprehensive guide, part reveal-all memoir, the book (Workman, $16.95) is refreshingly frank, laugh-out-loud funny and more than a bit profane (F-bomb alert!). Stanley, who calls herself a “yoga enthusiast and fat femme,” believes that everyone can practice yoga and that yoga can help everyone move past the obstacles in their lives.

Q: Why did you write “Every Body Yoga”?

A: Everywhere I go, I get questions about yoga. And I get why people have questions. Is it a religion? An exercise? A diet? I thought I’d never have the time to answer all the questions I get, so I decided to write a book.
I know there are lots of yoga books. But there are very few books about modern yoga that tell the truth about how most people come to yoga. Typically, a yoga practice is rooted in some kind of life event, a trauma, an injury, an unmet need.

Q: You differentiate between ancient and modern yoga. Why?

A: Ancient yoga is very deeply rooted in Hinduism. Since yoga has come to the West, it’s very different here. It’s a new, modern kind of yoga. It’s still a spiritual practice. The union of breath and movement and looking within yourself is a deeply spiritual practice. But it’s not religious. Yoga is a therapeutic and healing practice that helps you build up from the inside.

Q: Whom did you write your book for?

A: It’s for every single person who ever felt left out in a physical sense, who ever felt left behind. I wanted to write from the perspective not of a teacher, but of a friend. To say, “Yeah, I know what it’s like.”

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