9ddb9962-ff6a-43d8-897e-a518975e64d0-1-bustle_jessamyn_027-rt.jpg-2.webp

JESSAMYN

ON BECOMING THE QUEEN OF YOGA

TEXT BY
CANDY WARHOL

INTERVIEW BY
FRIENDS OF DOROTHY

07.12.21

jessamyn.jpeg
Orange-heart.png

‘’If you have wounds and scars which we all do then you can use this practice.’’

Clouds_01-8.png

With the release of her third book ’Yoke’, Jessamyn Stanely has solidified her status as a game changer in the world of wellness and yoga

She has both introduced and reintroduced the practice and dismantled the image of what yoga is and who it is for. Now, with a massive following behind her she is not just using her platform to speak about her craft but to voice her opinions of body positivity and advocacy for weed and it’s health benefits. The host of Dear Jessamyn podcast and the founder The Underbelly, Jessamyn graced the cover of Cosmopolitan UK in 2020 and starred in a Adidas campaign the same year, showing major brands are behind her. In her book ‘Yoke : My Yoga Of Self Acceptance’, Stanley explores issues of self love, body-positivity, race, sexuality, sex and cannabis through the lens of an authentic yoga practice.

‘’I thought yoga was so stupid’’, Stanley laughed. ‘’When I was in grad school I was going through a hard time and a friend of mine suggested I try yoga. I said absolutely not because I tried it once before and I thought it sucked. But she convinced me to go because she got a deal on the classes so it wasn’t a big deal. I went and the class pushed in a way I hadn’t experienced before and it I got to try the practice without being worried about the outcome in the end. Until then I didn’t realise how many things in my life I stopped because I had the fear of being bad at it or I would fail at it. It wasn’t about being flexible or doing hand stands, even sitting cross legged or sitting on my shins was impossible to me at the beginning. It became about pushing myself outside the mould I had cast for myself. When I started it just made me feel good so I kept going but I discovered the power of the practice is that it heals you no matter where you are and it continues to do so in your life. If you have wounds and scars which we all do then you can use this practice.’’ Jessamyn who spoke to use from her home in North Carolina, which she tells us is ‘’extremely racist and the home of tobacoo’’, tells us that her friend who brought her to that first class is now her chief of staff. Not bad for a last minute Groupon purchase.  

Star_03.png

While building her empire around wellness and yoga, Stanley has also been an advocate for body positivity, the LGBTQIA and weed. ‘’I think the legalisation of weed in America is straight up a white people’s game because the reality is that so many people are further disenfranchised by legalisation. On top of that there are so many people still imprisoned for weed in states where it is now legal. In states where it is legal there is a huge stigma of being called a stoner or being seen smoking weed. People want to do it but don’t want to be associated with it which I find very interesting. Everything I do and ‘We Go High’ does is about people being themselves, to talk about their medicines and realise its a plant that comes out of the earth to heal us. I think there has been a lot of misinformation and the prohibition campaign has been so deep and insidious that there is no need for global entities to do the work anymore because the stigma does it for us. People who don’t know anything about it speak so openly about their dislike for it simply because they are parodying prohibition politics. It’s now brilliant to see the impact one person or figure can have now just by saying they smoke weed. The impact of that is tremendous. It’s all about conversations and openly speaking about it’’.

Jessamyn who has said that the last ten years of yoga practice has prepared her for the pandemic and lockdown, is now preparing for one of the biggest mental and physical journey’s of her life - she is letting go of possessions, moving into a camper with her girlfriend and travelling. ‘’The thing about it is that I feel so heavy and weighed down my all my possessions. It’s almost like it matches my place in life right now and I say that as someone who has always had things just as I like them. It’s going to be crazy, moving into this small space with my girlfriend who is also my producer and our chihuahua. It’s going to be ridiculous. We are also going to film and document everything with you will be able to watch on our YouTube channel. We’re aiming to do every stare in America, then Mexico, then Canada and then the world. We will just keep going until we’re done or we breakup’’, she laughs. Of course we had to extended an open invitation to come to Ireland where we can show them around. ‘’I am there, you all seem like you know a good time. One of my only connections to Ireland is watching ‘Derry Girls’ and after I saw that I was like, okay Irish people are ratchet too, I need to go there’’. And we we will be waiting with open arms Jessamyn.  

Jessamyn’s new book ‘Yoke’ is available now and you can follow her road trip on her Instagram

RELATED