how to start yoga

Y'all, @workmanpub, @jadeyogamats, & I have teamed up for a preorder sweepstakes celebrating my new book, “Every Body Yoga: Let Go Of Fear, Get On The Mat, Love Your Body”! The story of my personal yoga practice is much more complex than what could possibly be shown in a few instagram photos. In “Every Body Yoga”, I’m finally able to give a full and clear answer to everyone who asks ‘Hey Jessamyn, How Do I Start Practicing Yoga?’

Click the link in my profile to check out the book + a chance to win:

1 . Coffee or a meal date with me, @mynameisjessamyn/@jessamynstanley
2. A signed copy of #EveryBodyYoga
3. A 68" mat and large cork block from @Jadeyogamats

Throwback to that time @yogicphotos convinced me to practice my #handstand game in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge while wearing @k.deer leggings.

SPEAKING OF WHICH, thanks to everyone who entered the @k.deer gift card giveaway! I went through and read all of your answers to the question “what pose kicks your ass?” and I was inspired to the brink of tears by how many of you are able to be completely fucking honest with yourselves about the reality of your personal practices. I could ramble forever on this topic but in short- thank you for being vulnerable with me. If you’ve ever feared beginning a yoga practice, do yourself a favor and scroll down a few entries to the giveaway post- there is some genuine human development going on in y'all’s practices, and you can take comfort in knowing that everyone (yes, everyone) is challenged by asana practice. Anyway, YOU GET A CARD:

$50 gift cards- Marie-Hélène Dugal (Facebook) & @soulfulshania (instagram)
$500 gift card- @retroengineer

Congrats, y'all- if you’re a winner, shoot an email at to collect your prize!

Leggings- @k.deer
Photo by @yogicphotos

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• Start on your knees with the elbows shoulder width apart and the forearms parallel, keep the arms fixed in this position throughout.
• Spread your fingers wide, and push strongly down into the mat, as though you are pressing the ground away from you.
• Don’t let your shoulders collapse around the neck, keep lifting them up towards the waist.
• Tuck the toes under and begin to straighten the legs. Walk the feet in towards the face, aiming to get the hips come high over the elbows. The closer you can walk the feet in, the less momentum you need to get up.
• Look between the hands- keeping your eyes fixed on a spot makes it easier to balance. Kick one leg up and the other. As you progress you are trying to use less momentum and more control.
• You may start off in more of a banana shape but try to straighten out the bend once you find your balance.
• Reach the toes to the sky, squeeze your thighs towards each other. tuck the ribs in and strongly engage your core for stability. Use your fingertips as brakes as the balance shifts.
• And last but not least - ENJOY! Don’t take yourself too seriously! It’s doesn’t matter if you fall, just smile and try again! 😀

anonymous asked:

I want to start doing yoga but when I've done it before I came out with more back pains than I went in with, thought if I did it more frequently it would stop but it got worse and it's really annoying because it's something I really want to do but it causes far too much pain.

There are specific yoga positions and stuff for back pain that you could try? Maybe leave rest days in between so you don’t strain too hard

Sorry that it’s not really working for you :/

Me and @sketchpumpkin were talking about Yoga!Bucky last night and we ended up sharing way too many headcanons while suffering about Bucky together and I couldn’t help but a write something for it.

FIRST, check out this drabble and Maria’s amazing drawing about it! <3


Going back to the day where he’s introduced to the class, the atmosphere is borderline tense and surprised because what? He's the guy who they’d seen several times on the news, mostly of them carrying bad stuff along and now they’re going to just have yoga class with him?

The instructor sees everyone’s uneasiness right away but she doesn’t budge for a second as she tries to make him interact with them, introducing her class one by one with his eyes attentively watching each face. 

By the end of the second day Bucky already knows everyone’s names. 

As time passes by, the class starts to notice how serious and invested he is into yoga and are partially surprised in noticing that he doesn’t seem a bad person at all. That guy can’t be the guy who’s been accused of several murders during the last decades because he’s just a big softie, kind and tender soul. It can’t be. 

(As people notice that he’s overly attentive and tender, they start to low-key fight to be Bucky’s partner for the day).

(It becomes such a debate on one of these days that the instructor just takes him off the class and makes him help her direct the class, hence Bucky walking around the room and carefully fixing everyone’s postures with a small smile on his face).

(But he still keeps it who’s going to be his partner on a calendar).

When he helps the instructor with the class, thing which is happening quite often, Bucky makes sure to take especial care with that elderly lady who’s got a weak knee, or that pregnant woman who can’t stretch too much because he’s completely done with hurting people. 

(And by the end of the class if he notices someone’s not feeling well or in any type of pain, he immediately goes up to them and makes sure they’re alright).

(In return, the class does the same for him when he’s had a particular rough night and isn’t all focused on the moves).

Eventually, the class turns into a Bucky Banes Protection Squad, actually fighting and believing firmly that he’s not the one to blame for what HYDRA did and that he’s as much as victim as everyone involved is. 

In his 100th birthday, Sam and Wanda organize a little surprise party at the facility and invite everyone from the yoga class. 

As soon as Bucky realizes what’s going on and who is there, the atmosphere filled with love and kindness as everyone hugged and kissed him, he can’t help but tear up a little bit, feeling overwhelmed with the sensation of being a proper human being again. The yoga instructor ends up tearing up for a bit too. 

(Before that, Scott was left with the duty of distracting the super soldier, thing which he didn’t succeed much).

(Thank God he had Cassie and Bucky loved her to pieces).

And on that note, it’s proved that Bucky Barnes loves children and the children love him. 

His yoga instructor just happens to has two kids who are overly proud of their mother because she’s got a super soldier on her class an she teaches him and they absolutely doubt there’s any other mother who’s got a story like that. 

(Her six year old happens to have a low-key crush on Bucky because he’s got super soft hair and super pretty eyes and looks like a prince).

He becomes so close to the kids (Scott’s kid, Clint’s kids, the yoga instructor’s kids) that he starts to accidentally grow up a collection of drawings in his room because everytime one of the kids saw him, they’d have a drawing to gift him with. 

(It comes to a point where there’s no place for the drawings in his room and Bucky just starts ton hang them in the fridge’s door at the facility’s common kitchen).

(Natasha takes about 10 minutes to find out where that came from and who the hell was on that drawing).

(“Wait– is that…Bucky?!”) 

(Sam and Scott are low-key upset because Bucky’s the only one who gets all the attention and all the drawings, what the fuck man).

And actually there’s so much love that the kids just start to randomly mention him around school, especially his yoga instructor kids, beaming up about how they know an Avenger and that he can literally lift a car with one arm

(Bucky’s not expecting for them to call him to the Profession Day at their school but gets a little emotional anyway).

When that day finally comes, Bucky finds himself in the middle of nurses, lawyers, doctors, police officers, firefighters and such but everyone is excited with him and his yoga instructor like it’s the two greatest profession in the world.

All the kids just seem to have questions for him and he actually ends up nearly taking the teacher’s place as they ask for him to color a few drawings wih them. 

(Besides the kids, all the teachers are low-key beaming too because what? He’s so tall and strong and good-looking and it doesn’t hurt to just take a look of that perfect back and ass).

(Their snapchats ends up filled with sneaky photos of him. Whoops).

Also, because of that Bucky starts to gradually become popular on the internet because despite what the mostly of the media try to say, he doesn’t seem like a terrorist and traitor of the country at all

There’s one day where Time magazine prints the most liar and offensive article ever, saying horrific things about him that leads Steve to be low-key angry at this one interview and that becomes viral with just an hour. 

(“You can’t trust a magazine who’s once chose Hitler as the man of the year.”)

From that, the entire internet breaks into a movement to prove that Bucky is the real victim of the whole HYDRA ordeal, ending up as the most debated talk on the social networks by #FreeJamesBarnes and #InnocentJamesBarnes.

(Each one of the Avengers thank everyone for the support and make a post with the hashtag, posting pictures and little facts about Bucky to accompany it).

(Even the Amnesty International posts about it).

During the official court trials, each one of the Avengers go to testify in Bucky’s favor, despite their previous bumps and differences. Each one of the yoga class partners go to testify in Bucky’s favor, despite their previous hesitation before knowing him. Each one of the school’s teachers go to testify in Bucky’s favor, despite sent snapchats an occasional visits to the kids and the school. 

(There’s also a rowdy crowd outside who never lets the people passing by, the media and the whole world to forget that he’s an innocent man).

And in that day, Bucky Barnes finally walks out of that court as a free man.


Even if you’ve gotten good at dragging yourself out of bed in the morning, feeling like you’ve actually woken up can be a different story. In this episode of Yoga Matters, Mariah shows us how to start our day feeling “fresh and vibrant”!

It’s so crazy how a person can change so much over one year. I started doing yoga and eating healthy at the beginning of last summer and my entire mindset and life has completely changed. I’ve slowly stopped binge drinking, I don’t hate myself anymore, my eating disorder is actually under control and every time I have a negative thought about myself I replace it with a positive thought. Everything is just so much happier and brighter now.


I know how hard it can be to jump start a yoga practice from thin air, but it’s really as simple as just integrating a few movements into your daily routine. @redbookmag asked me to put together some sequencing options for new yoga practitioners- check out Redbook Magazine (or me) on Facebook to watch the whole thing! @rbxactive, one of my favorite #partner brands, set me up with some very comfy clothes for the shoot- I’ve raved about their joggers on snapchat more than once, and these leggings are more of the same awesome texture and fit. Actually, RBX is having a sale on a bunch of plus size active wear RIGHT. NOW. Click the link in their instagram profile if you’re as addicted to yoga clothes as yours truly. (at New York, New York)

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How do I start my yoga journey?  Advice for beginner yogis! 

Hey guys!  This is the most commonly asked question I get on here so I hope this can answer all of your guy’s questions.  I hope you enjoy this video <3 Please check out my youtube channel! 

Thank you <3

(Watch in HD)


Today, I went out with two of my girl friends. We went to happy hour, ate sushi, then walked to a newly-opened yoga place near my house. We were having a lovely, relaxing time, sipping sherry and eating dark chocolate with the woman at the “bar” set up for the yoga open house. My friend, who had been up since 5am teaching, fell asleep on the pillows provided in the yoga studio. 

It happened with a flash. I turned around and saw a very large man taking a selfie with my sleeping friend. I was stunned for a minute. Then I confronted him about it. I felt weak, like I was failing to find the fiery words that were starting to boil within me. I told him that what he did wasn’t cool, and that he should delete the pictures. 

Then he made a racist comment about Asians. 

And that was how I almost started a bar fight in a yoga studio.

I was too shocked to respond. Also some small rational part of me told me that punching another human in the face in a public place would make me the criminal, no matter what shit he said. So I didn’t fight him. But afterwards I cried tears of rage, because I wish I would have had that kind of guts to defend my friend.

Fortunately, the rest of my female friends confronted the guy, telling him that snapping pictures without consent was inappropriate and rude. He finally turned tale with his buddy and ran.

But it made me think of an incident earlier this week, when an acquaintance I knew from high school said that he wanted to drive 3 hours to DC to come have dinner with me. I told him no thank you, that made me uncomfortable, because I was not into him. What followed was a persistent interrogation on why I would not meet with him and how I must think so negatively of men to assume that he wanted to be something other than friends.

I barely knew this guy, and he felt like he could question my decisions and make judgments about me.

Then he insisted he was not a dick. HA. HAHAHAHA.

My mother taught me to be polite. To be a Christian. To be selfless. But she did not teach me how to stand up to a world that would take advantage of me, that would question my voice, that would keep me forever on the defensive whether I was trying to unwind after a long day of work at 10pm on a Wednesday or going out with a few of my girlfriends at 8pm on a Friday.

Sexism and racism is alive and well, and the second we drop our guard is the second we become too surprised and wounded to speak up. It fills me with rage that people think they can say shit like that. 

And I will not be silent. I will not calm down. And I will certainly not let it go as long as I and my friends receive this kind of treatment.

And whoever would love me better understand and respect this.

How i started yoga

Hi guys!

So, i get a lot of questions about how i started yoga lately etc. here are some answers!
When did you start? - I started four months ago, in the middle of january i think

Do you join a yoga class? - no i’m practising on my own at home

How do you started? - I started on my own at home. first i used youtube videos from yoga with adriene for beginners, but i couldn’t even reach half of the poses she showed for beginners so i started completely on my own with stretching (touching the ground with my hands, coming in the downward facing dog etc.) . coincident i started working on headstands, later on handstands and one month or a bit more ago with forearm handstands. i always used a wall because i was shaky like hell (and i’m still often!). i don’t do yoga flows at the moment because first i want to be able to reach the poses, so that the flows ARE flows and not just pretending like i’m relaxed when i actually have to fight to hold or come into different poses (yes i know, some of you think this isn’t good, but that’s the way i do it!). so when i do yoga, i always work on headstand, handstand and forearmstand and other different difficult poses and then i stretch my legs, my back, arms etc.

What kind of yoga do you do? - As you can see i just do the whole thing on my own. i often look through tumblr, instagram or blogs (always professional yogis) and look how they come into different poses or if they post tips or so. I don’t do one special kind of yoga for now. i do what feels good for me and as i’ve said, when i’m able to hold different poses for long times i will start concentrating more on real yoga lessons.

How often do you practise? - i practise around every day or every second day at the moment because i don’t have school and study a lot for my exams, so i have a lot of free time. the first three months i practised around every second day. if i don’t feel good i don’t practise (did this once, and it was a REALLY bad decision). i also do abs workouts every third day and i’m sure they also really helped for head/hand/forearmstands.

Sooo, i hope this helped! :) if there are any more questions, feel free to ask.
lots of love, kai xxx

I wrote a book, y'all. “Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get On The Mat, and Love Your Body” is truly the book I’ve wanted to recommend each time I’ve been asked, “Hey Jessamyn, How Do I Start Practicing Yoga?” Finally, a Modern Yoga book written from the perspective of a smart ass, black, queer as fuck millennial with a sailor’s mouth. “Every Body Yoga” is stacked w/ all the info needed to legitimately jump start your own home yoga practice, with an arsenal of tips, poses, and sequences, along with a bevy of modifications, all modeled by a truly diverse array of yoga bodies. Woven between the chunks of instruction , I recount the good, bad, and ugly stories from my own life which heavily impact my own yoga practice and which probably happen in your own life. I’m talking about the melodramatic life sagas which take up the entirety of my “real life” and which rarely (if ever) show up on social media. Truly personal shit like my struggles with substance abuse, the family deaths that spurred my yoga practice, childhood body shame, endless romantic relationship drama, and much more. “Every Body Yoga” will officially be released by @workmanpub next spring (Spring ‘17), but you can click the link in my Instagram bio to read more about it and preorder your copy today!

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Today’s @tumblr #answertime q&a was awesome, but also deeply unsettling.

I received thousands (yes, literally) of messages from y'all & at least a 1/3 asked the same questions repetitively- basically, different variations of how do I start practicing yoga, does yoga reduce depression + anxiety, and is yoga ok for people who are not thin, female, and white. It’s not like I didn’t know this before, but it brought into STARK AND VIVID color just how fucking elitist this little yoga world really is. THAT IS NOT OK. If you are a practitioner, a teacher, a studio owner, ANYTHING- please hear me right now.

We are reaching a VERY limited audience. There are WAY too many people who think yoga’s not for them. The impression I got (& correct if I’m wrong) is that most people seem to think yoga is a sport solely for wealthy thin white women. And I know you’re probably reading this and thinking, “oh, this bitch just found out the sky is blue?” but hear me out.

I mean, I don’t think most of my fellow community members realize the depth of this schism. It’s completely unacceptable for a practice which is SO inclusive, SO open for interpretation, SO damn ACCESSIBLE to be misunderstood on this large a scale. Seriously. The message of this practice is garbled by all of our blatant narcissism, money grubbing, soul sucking fuckery that there’s an entire generation that thinks this beautiful spiritual practice is basically a glorified gymnastics routine. I’m not ok with this reality, and you shouldn’t be either.

I lost my shit a little on snapchat earlier- you can watch the full rant over there, I’m @mynameisjessamy. If you want to see all of the questions I answered today (probably only 1/200th of the questions I actually received, especially considering the messages are still pouring in), check out my tumblr page. I’m gonna go meditate so I can approach this problem from a place of balance, and not a place of anger. But on the real, I think the anger and frustration is more than a little valid, & you should question your judgement if you’re not feeling it, too.

You can watch this @modestories video on my tumblr, too- the timing is too ironic, honestly. (at London, United Kingdom)

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I had so much fun shooting this @cosmopolitanmagazine feature when I was in NYC- In my interview, I talk about a bunch of stuff including how I started practicing #yoga, why I call myself fat, and why fat nudity is so important. Click here to watch the whole video!

For the record, “This is who I am, This is what I am, and if you don’t like it you can suck it” basically sums up my approach to body positivity.

Tonight I went back to #bikramyoga for the first time in ages. IDK why I’ve been a stranger for so long- maybe I was subconsciously throwing shade because of the infamous scandal. God, I hope that’s not it. I love the fuck out of that practice, regardless of the namesake’s shenanigans. And I hate how Modern Yoga practitioners are so damn quick to start a witch hunt whenever one of us acts like….well, acts like a human. I know this is up for debate, but there’s not a hierarchy to humanity. Not one of us is above the other. We all have the capacity to act like douche monkeys. And just because Bikram may or may not have acted like a douche monkey doesn’t mean that his beginner series isn’t therapeutic yoga magic. I mean, from start to finish- magic. No matter your weight, age, height, political affiliation, Olympic home team, WHATEVER- don’t miss an opportunity to give it a try. It will kick the shit out of you, hang your ass out to dry, & you’ll be pulling an Oliver Twist like, “Please sir, may I have some more?” There’s a variation of this pose (#natarajasana) in the Bikram sequence- when ya girl first darkened the doorstep of a Bikram studio, I couldn’t even reach my foot with my hand. It seemed like a miracle when I was finally able to do that one singular action. For some people it’s basic as fuck- for yours truly, it was MONUMENTAL as fuck. It’s insane to me that I’m casually striking #dancerpose on the cover of @fabuplus this month- this asana was and is like my own little building. Always adding pieces, always learning, always getting stronger- just gotta keep working on that building. If you’re like me and you need to find a few copies of this magazine, you can get it at @barnesandnoble & @booksamillion on Sept. 1. Someone tell my mom before she goes out to get it right now. Purple Queer Power Ranger Top+Leggings courtesy of @k.deer (at Durham, North Carolina)

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My most frequently asked question is usually something along the lines of “how do I start a yoga practice if I’ve never done it before?” I understand there are a million resources available, and there’s a different answer to this question for every individual, butI definitely have an unconventional opinion.

I think beginners are usually encouraged to try modified variations on physical exercise, but I’ve always felt as though vigorous yoga styles are accessible to everyone. Actually, I’ve often found that in an environment with instructors who don’t body shame or discriminate (THIS IS WHERE WE’RE FAILING, YOGA TEACHERS), beginners of all shapes and sizes are able to excel and break their boundaries. That’s why I often encourage new students to shy away from gentle or “beginner” specific classes in favor of all levels classes.

All levels doesn’t mean easy, it means that a wide range of people will find it helpful. Yes, that means you will be challenged- it might kick your ass in a way you’re not expecting. It will make you sweat, fall down, laugh, cry, fart, sweat more, fall down again, die a little, be reborn, cry again, sweat more, and then you’ll rest. And when you rest, regardless of if you never got up from your first child’s pose, you’ll be glad you did it. You’ll be glad you got your ass beat. Sometimes we need an ass beating- it makes us better people. Don’t shy away from something because it’s hard- life is hard. Asana prepares us for the obstacles of life- Embrace it.

NC Triangle, I’ll see you tomorrow for the noon flow at @Durhamyoga!

Our friends at @fullbeautystyle want to give you guys an opportunity to buy a new yoga outfit, and they’re giving away three $50 giftcards! To enter, comment on this post about your favorite kind of exercise- it can be anything, whatever makes your heart sing! I’ll pick a winner on Thursday- good luck!

Photo by the marvelous @zoelitaker

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In my very first Question & Answer video I answer questions written to me on Instagram & Facebook such as: How I got started with yoga. Changes I’ve experienced in my yoga journey. How to learn from the physical and spiritual teachings of yoga without access to local classes & trainings. Is 1 class a week enough? How to sequence when you’re injured from demonstrating. How to find your healthy edge. 

I challenged myself to talk openly and candidly while answering these questions, so forgive me if I come off as human ;) 

i have to go for lunch with my parents and their yoga instructor who’s the biggest pompous prick i’ve ever encountered he’s the personification of “sweetie :)”

last time i went he asked why i don’t do yoga and i was like oh i tried it out a couple times i just prefer things with more movements and i rly like boxing and the like and he was like “umm u just didn’t do the yoga properly :)” and then started rattling about how women get periods so they have no control over their bodies like men do so they need to do yoga to become one with their bodies and everyone was nodding along wisely and i was just trying desperately not to piss all over the restaurant seat

i’m literally just going for the food and for a good laugh -agata