This is a love letter to the incredible Jessamyn Stanley for putting her new yoga video app The Underbelly Yoga into the world.
Some back story: I’ve practiced yoga off and on for about 15 years. I found it after a pretty obsessive relationship with running ended in a foot fracture in my mid-20s; it was the first workout I’d ever done that made me feel good instead of like I was perpetually failing. For a while there, I could do a headstand and felt pretty rad about it. (I also fell over A LOT but yoga makes that okay.)
But, the yoga world is dominated by a certain kind of thin/white body. It brings a lot of its own problematic body expectations — like what happens when you aren’t super bendy or suddenly can’t do a headstand anymore. As with all fitness, it’s easy for it to become about weight loss, body shape and all of the things that make us feel like we don’t have a right to physical activity.
Also, more practically, since having kids, I have just not had time to sustain a regular practice in a studio because traditional vinyasa classes are NINETY FREAKING MINUTES. (And always at 10am! Why? Don’t people have jobs?)
So: The Underbelly videos are all 30-45 min. You can obviously do them whenever because they are on your phone. They are super beginner friendly; if you’ve ever felt like your body doesn’t belong in a yoga class, Jessamyn has got you covered. But as someone with more experience, I have gotten so much out of doing her beginner sequence; breaking down poses and getting back in my body. There is zero talk of changing that body’s size or shape.
Also, she says stuff like “stop here and pull your leggings back up over your belly if that is a thing for you” and I feel VERY SEEN.
OK, so this is not an ad or sponsored post; I’m just super grateful that Jessamyn is doing her thing and wanted to share for anyone else looking for a non-weight-loss focused, super inclusive, very well taught yoga experience that doesn’t take a hundred years or require leaving your house.