Yogi Jessamyn Stanley Reclaims The Word “Fat”

Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley /Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Jessamyn Stanley, a 30-year-old yogi, may be new to fame, but she’s already made an incredible impact in the wellness space. In case you’re playing catchup, the self-described “body positivity advocate,” has garnered more than 300,000 followers on Instagram, thanks to the safe place she’s created for women – specifically women of color – to embrace their love of yoga, no matter their shape or size.

“There’s definitely a visceral reaction if people don’t know who I am when they walk into my yoga classes. It’s like, they ask: ‘Oh, are you teaching class?’ and it’s very clear that they’re skeptical,” Stanley recently told Women’s Health of people doubting she could be a yoga teacher. “But that’s always the same person who can’t catch their breath during class. We all come to everything with our own assumptions about stuff, and the problem is that we don’t talk about it enough.”

This is a discussion Stanley has since begun, using social media as a powerful tool.

“To me, Instagram is like my journal in a way. I’m not trying to express a controversial opinion, but it has elicited so many strong reactions,” she added of her newfound success. “When people have a strong, negative reaction to it, it’s interesting social commentary that we all need to be paying attention to. Why are we so affected by this?”