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Beauty on the Mat

ALL SECTIONS

ALL SECTIONS

— June 28, 2017

Beauty on the Mat

  • Don't let your insecurities stop you from taking on the mat.
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Maybe you’ve seen the toned, lithe people in yoga magazines and retreat websites and thought, “I could never be that thin/flexible/yoga-ish looking if I tried. Yoga might not be for me.” Just. Stop. Now. “I wrote this book for every person who has called themselves ugly,” says yoga teacher Jessamyn Stanley in Every Body Yoga (Workman). As her nearly 300,000 Instagram followers (mynameisjessamyn) could tell you, Stanley—”the epitome of a big, black and beautiful African queen”—is nobody’s idea of a typical yogini. She’s fine with that, and she believes that you shouldn’t let your appearance stop you from taking to the mat as well. In Every Body Yoga, Stanley shows yoga newbies the ropes, which include picking a style and buying gear, in no-nonsense prose; one chapter is titled “What the F–k is the EightLimbed Path?” Most of the book presents asana, or poses, both basic moves and pose sequences designed to address needs such as finding better balance or greater spiritual energy. One sequence, I Need to Release Fear, comes from a chapter in which Stanley writes, “Bad self-esteem and body shame know no size. What makes the difference is how we choose to handle our self-esteem issues.” Every Body Yoga advocates approaching your practice, no matter what you look like, from a place of strength and joy

 

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