When Jessamyn Stanley started doing yoga, she felt completely out of place.
“I was almost always the only fat person, the only Black person, like I’m very physically different from everyone else in the room,” said Stanley, 33. “It was very alienating.”
Despite wanting to quit, Stanley stuck with yoga for the emotional benefits. Nearly a decade later, Durham, North Carolina-based Stanley is a yoga teacher, author of “Every Body Yoga,” and a renowned body-positive wellness influencer who uses her hard-won visibility to flip existing narratives about who belongs in the yoga and wellness world.
Wellness, however, still hasn’t come far in terms of inclusion.
“To this day, especially if I go to a random class with people that I don’t know, there’s still a lot of prejudice,” Stanley said. “It’s like, there’s a fat, Black, queer woman, what is she doing here?”