4 of 5 stars
I needed this book. Mainly because every yoga book or DVD or video I watch has a bunch of tiny, skinny, people doing poses I’ll never be able to do because I’m fat. I just am. Jessamyn Stanley describes herself the same way. Which is why I loved this book. She is frank, honest, and lays it out there in how fat people can still do yoga. You don’t have to be thin or fit in to attempt self-care.
Yoga is good for me and I enjoy practicing it. It helps calm me down from a tension-filled day. I’m an extreme introvert and I spend nine hours a day, five days a week at work surrounded by noise and people in an open office environment and then I spend two and a half hours a day commuting to that job. It stresses me the F out.
There are days in the yoga class that for the entire 90 minutes my feelings just want to come out. Between the essential oils, music, soothing instructor talk, and stretching all the feels just explode and I spend the entire time with tears coming out. Not bawling. Just slow tears rolling down my face. I can’t explain it. I’m just letting it all go. . . . . especially in the restorative classes.
The emotional and physical strength and just plain self-awareness I’m learning will definitely help better me. I feel stronger when I’m finished. More energy. More balanced physically and emotionally. I feel the good it is doing for me. When I don’t do it I feel the backslide.
So, I go to a yoga studio near me about 4-5 times a week. I find I hold myself more accountable if I pay a studio a month in advance for unlimited classes. I have all the equipment in my basement but I tend to find other things to do instead of going downstairs and doing yoga. I get lazy if I don’t go to the local studio. I also like the actual instruction that if I can’t do a pose the instructor will guide me to an adjustment that I can do. Bad knees. Bad shoulders. Some poses are just rough for me for joint and fat reasons.
My basement studio has an old TV and I can’t find a DVD player to hook up to it. If I want to watch yoga videos I have to use my iPad and then I can’t see the dang iPad on the floor. Geesh! Joys of getting older. And yes, I could go upstairs where the Smart TV is but I don’t have much room and it’s carpet.
The local studio I frequent and the teachers are enjoyable. Many days I’m actually the youngest one there and I’m in my late 40s. It’s a bunch of old hippies and I say that in the nicest way possible because they are great women and super friendly. I don’t feel judgment at all unlike some of the intown studios where judgment was everywhere. I wasn’t young enough, skinny enough, nor did I have the “right” yoga props/attire.
Jessamyn speaks to exactly this problem. She calls it out. She tells her story a bit and why yoga helped her. There are many stories about how the fitness world makes it hard for people like us who are trying to be fit. But, what I didn’t find in the book was what I needed; changes and adjustments to actual poses for the fat people and people that have joint challenges. She didn’t write it for the joint challenged but the fat challenged. So, why I feel her story is good and I enjoyed hearing it I really wanted to see some adjustments to the normal poses and how to work around my fat.
I spent many years playing softball and gymnastics. I’m still quite flexible and my body can still get into deep poses but then my fat belly or my boobs get in the way. How do I work around that? I feel like I need books or videos for fat girl yoga. When I was doing gymnastics the favorite part of it most days for me was the half-hour of stretching and warm-ups before training. I just wanted to do that more. Even back then I realized how much I enjoyed it but it just took most of the middle of my life to forget how good it felt for me to find my way to back to it. Some days all I want to do is to lay on the floor in savasana pose with the music. It calms my ass down.
AMAZON & GOODREADS SUMMARY
From the unforgettable teacher Jessamyn Stanley comes Every Body Yoga, a book that breaks all the stereotypes. It’s a book of inspiration for beginners of all shapes and sizes: If Jessamyn could transcend these emotional and physical barriers, so can we. It’s a book for readers already doing yoga, looking to refresh their practice or find new ways to stay motivated.
It’s a how-to book: Here are easy-to-follow directions to 50 basic yoga poses and 10 sequences to practice at home, all photographed in full color. It’s a book that challenges the larger issues of body acceptance and the meaning of beauty. Most of all, it’s a book that changes the paradigm, showing us that yoga isn’t about how one looks, but how one feels, with yoga sequences like “I Want to Energize My Spirit,” “I Need to Release Fear,” “I Want to Love Myself.”
Jessamyn Stanley, a yogi who breaks all the stereotypes, has built a life as an internationally recognized yoga teacher and award-winning Instagram star by combining a deep understanding for yoga with a willingness to share her personal struggles in a way that touches everyone who comes to know her. Now she brings her body-positive, emotionally uplifting approach to yoga in a book that will help every reader discover the power of yoga and how to weave it seamlessly into his or her life.