I am a regular living room yoga doer. I haven’t been to a formal class in 6+ months. The reason for my non-attendance is a) my living room works just fine with my two-year-old joining in and, b) shame. My shame comes from worry that I will fall out of my poses in class and feel embarrassed when my positions need correcting, and that I will be surrounded by thin, put-together women that just seem to deserve to do yoga more.

Well that’s bullshit and I was reminded of that recently at a Refinary 29’s Every Beautiful Body Symposium by body loving yoga master Jessamyn Stanley.

She did a short yoga session with everyone sitting in their seats. Usually this kind of group-er-size makes me roll my eyes, but Jessamyn’s realness kept it grounded enough for me to let loose and truly participate.


She opened by talking about needing yoga not when we wake up early, have a latte and are wearing a matching athleisure sports bra and yoga pant set, but when your kid is crying in the kitchen and your partner is disagreeing with you and someone is on the phone needing a favor you really aren’t up for. Her exact words were “You need yoga when it’s the difference between breathing through it or backhanding someone” and from there I was sold.

She walked the group through some simple breathing and stretching exercises, letting out a single “fuck that” when discouraging us to look or compare ourselves to those around us. When she finished I genuinely felt calm, and I turned to the girl next to me and said “I need a yoga teacher that says ‘fuck that!’ to shame, comparing ourselves, and the insidious Lululemon brainwashing that makes people think they need to be perfect/well-dressed/correct.” 

It reminded me of a sign we posted at Sign Laboratory.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Jessamyn is awesome. She works hard to make yoga open to all bodies, and all people. She is a force-of-nature standing up to the question :“Who deserves to do yoga?”. Her answer is EVERYONE, queer, black, Latina, toddler, disabled, everyone deserves to do yoga, and everyone would benefit.


Check out Stanley’s online classes and Every Body Yoga Plan app.

—Mira Keras

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2 replies on “Jessamyn Stanley’s Liberation Yoga: ‘Fuck Comparison’

  1. True, important
    and just beautiful.


  2. A real guru! Beautiful!


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