BlackDoctor.org recently sat down with yoga teacher, enthusiast and someone who is in love with yoga, Jessamyn. Her beautiful pictures of a Black woman doing yoga stances and moves that many didn’t believe a non-skinny woman would have been able to do, have been shared over the internet thousands of times. As she inspires others, we came to find out what inspires her.
1. Was there a defining moment that made you want to do yoga?
If anything, the moment that led to my current practice was the result of NOT wanting to do yoga- I’d tried Bikram yoga in my teens and had a terrible experience. Like many people who are new to the practice, I found the heat overwhelming and I basically vowed never to try yoga again. However, when I was in my early twenties, a friend convinced me to give Bikram yoga another shot and that’s when it actually clicked for me. Unlike my first experience, the heat was no longer overwhelming- it was actually highly purifying. At that time, my life was very tumultuous but the heat and high activity level was the perfect way to anchor myself to reality and find balance in my life.
2. What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome to get healthy?
My biggest hurdle is looking beyond society’s definitions of health, beauty, fitness, and well-being. The entire Western health industry is dominated by glossy images of slender people and it’s hard for healthy and curvy active people to find themselves in a sea of images specifically engineered to harvest body unhappiness. However, hurdles are often a catalyst for positive change- society’s definition of health and well-being is expanding every day, and it’s only because of increased visibility of healthy, curvy people.
3. How has yoga changed your life?
Yoga has completely altered the way I view my relationship with my spirit, others, and the world around me- it has absolutely expanded my consciousness of the universe. This is a major shift from the beginning of my practice, when I was primarily concerned with maintaining my mental health and secondarily concerned with my physical well-being.
4. What is the biggest misconception when it comes to plus sized men/women doing yoga?
Even if they actively practice yoga, most plus sized men and women believe they should be wary of…