The words “yoga instructor” or “yogi” typically conjure images of lean, chiseled bodies for most of us.
I admit, it used to for me.
But there’s a yoga teacher who is not only shattering yoga stereotypes (“the stereotypical yoga student or teacher is white, affluent, thin, and educated in a classic sense,” as she states in a recent video), but also spreading both her yoga expertise and a powerful body-positivity message.
Twenty-eight-year-old Jessamyn Stanley also goes by the name of “fat femme.” The North Carolina woman is an Instagram star, body positivity advocate, writer, and ‘plus-size’ yoga guru.
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In a telling video, Stanley preforms a series of advanced yoga poses – from the splits to a headstand and a bridge – while reading out negative stereotypes about ‘fat’ people. As she effortlessly transforms through the yoga poses, she reads out claims like “fat people aren’t flexible,” “fat people can’t touch their toes,” and are “weak, unhealthy,” and “poor role models.”
As for the term fat, Stanley embraces it. “I call myself ‘fat’ because I am,” she told Daily Mail Online. “Because I am not ashamed to be ‘fat’. Because I am sick and tired of the word ‘fat’ being used as an insult. Because it is the responsibility of the oppressed to reclaim the language of their oppressors. Because I don’t want to fear a word. Because I am ‘fat’ and I am proud. That’s why I call myself ‘a fat femme’.”
She proudly wears a sports bra in the soon-to-be viral video. “Fat people are told too often that they aren’t worthwhile, that they aren’t allowed to be athletic, that they aren’t allowed to show off their bodies and be strong. I think that’s absolutely ridiculous,” she said. She says that the video was inspired by people being told that they can’t do activities because of their size.
Stanley, who is currently working on her first book, has developed a global following, with more than 175 k followers on Instagram. The inspiring account is full of shots and regular updates about her yoga practice. Check out her inspiring video for yourself: