In a world of self-proclaimed experts, digital-tutorials, and lethal comparison, it can be challenging to find an online presence that is both transparent and encouraging.
Yoga practitioner, instructor, and body-positivity guru, Jessamyn Stanley is a tireless advocate for authenticity, self-care, and personal power. As Jessamyn declares, “I want to stand as an authentic and genuine human being of dignity. A person who looked within herself for the answers to life’s questions.” This self-reliance is precisely what influences her mental and physical practice and elevates her community influence. Jessamyn admits, “I try to have honest conversations with my body, mind, and spirit- accepting and celebrating the good, bad, and ugly as they come.”
This raw acceptance and daily body confrontation is not only admirable but an invitation to all of us as women to embrace, love, and lead with our unique abilities and varying mediums. Particularly because, as Jessamyn points out, “Our world is anchored by inauthenticity at every turn, there’s an example of someone or something sacrificing the essence of their being for material gain. I want to live my life away from those ideals.” It is an invitation to live with bold certainty.
I want to stand as an authentic and genuine human being of dignity. A person who looked within herself for the answers to life’s questions.
With a simple browse of her social-media sharing, it’s easy to see that Jessamyn not only promotes yoga for everybody but also in any location and with whatever means necessary. Markedly, Jessamyn has utilized a dog leash as a yoga strap and fashioned yoga blocks from cardboard and duct-tape. She challenges her viewers and students to simplify their practice by strengthening their inner support system; empowering them to listen to and trust their diverse bodies.
Both on and off the mat, Jessamyn confronts and explores perceived limitations, revolutionizing societal norms of what a “ yogi,” “woman” and strong role model looks and sounds like (hint: she’s fierce, flexible, and uses the occasional f*bomb). Additionally, Jessamyn has learned how to harness being an “introvert” while remaining committed to an active body-positive/true identity movement that requires her voice and vigilance. She shares openly that “being an introvert is helpful because it means I prefer to spend most of my time alone, thereby naturally allowing space for more self-reflection which is a critical piece of the body-positivity puzzle. It’s challenging, however, because my social media presence requires the gregarious nature of extroversion which doesn’t come naturally.” Jessamyn admits, “it’s often very difficult for me to reconcile my natural introversion with a public presence, and I spend much of my non-working time either alone, with my cat, or with my very close friends and family.”
By balancing the seclusion and the spotlight, Jessamyn is able to foster honesty and confidence in others. Her teaching extends beyond the mat and into the community as she hopes all her students “gain clarity and release the unnecessary anxieties that plague their everyday life. So much of our daily struggle is self-created trauma- I hope yoga offers the space for my students to heal themselves.” Regardless of your age, race, or station, Jessamyn’s message remains one of outward strength by having the courage to explore within your own depths and loving those spaces, first.
G E T T I N G TO K N O W J E S S A M Y N
What are you listening to right now?
Childish Gambino Because The Internet & Solange’s A Seat At The Table
Top beauty products
Burt’s Bees Original Lip Balm, Bentonite Clay + Apple Cider Vinegar, Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercream, Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap.
What are some of your favorite on-the-go items?
Larabars and Apple Chips
What are three things you don’t leave the house without?
Beats by Dre headphones, iPhone 7, my Moleskine day planner
What are two home essentials that make your space a sacred sanctuary?
Essential oil diffuser and burning sage
What are you reading right now and what are two of your favorite books
Right now I’m reading Tom Perrotta’s The Leftovers and Octavia Butler’s Parable of The Sower; my favorite book is Jeffrey Euginedes’ Middlesex.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to and why:
I loved London — it felt like home, even though I’d never been there before.
What is your Spirit Animal (animal you connect to based on personality traits)?
I have always felt a kindred connection with zebras.
By Leah “Lou” Zorn