1. A number of you have requested advice on how to ease your way into #hanumanasana or #splits. It’s kinda funny because one of the keys to my #monkeypose is another yogic animal- #lizardpose is one of my favorite poses to really release into my hips and pelvis enough to gradually (and comfortably) work into a full hanuman.

    At this moment, however, I’m feeling especially thankful for my thighs. They’ve always been one of my body’s curviest parts and we’ve been through a lot together. They make it hard for me to buy jeans (AND keep them- what thick femme doesn’t have a bajillion pairs of thigh-busted pants?) but they also give my body immense power. Some people feel inhibited by their ‘above average’ body parts. I am always in awe of what my thighs help me do, whether it’s when I’m walking down the street or powering through balance postures. Don’t throw shade at your body parts, even when they cause you trouble- simply put, they are part of who you are and they are absolutely perfect as a result.

     
  2. As much as I want to believe otherwise, the world of Western #yoga is not very inclusive of varied socio-economic backgrounds. While my home yoga bubble is very comforting and inclusive (DIY props and equipment, nudity encouraged, 4/20 friendly, all bodies are beautiful), I have to remind myself that my bubble is very much against the grain. The moment I step out into this community of retailers and studios, I’m constantly reminded of how much of our yoga world is fully focused on capitalism and money.

    Unfortunately, this means that A LOT of people feel excluded from a practice which can be done without expensive mats or studios or even clothing. Legit, how is it possible that one of the least expensive forms of physical and spiritual exercise has morphed into a ravenous Western moneymaking machine? I feel like a bit of hypocrite, since I’m getting ready to roll out my expensive @lululemon mat and I definitely buy into many other aspects of this culture (WHATUP @yogajournal and @yogaglo annual subscriptions) but I resent how much of this community is only available to those with means. I don’t have a solution to this problem, but it probably helps to acknowledge that there is DEFINITELY a fucking problem. #yeahisaidit #firstworldproblems #camatkarasana #wildthingpose #backbends

     
  3. If you’re trying to kick into inversions, this is probably the pose for you. Just put your head flat on the ground w/ your hands out far enough to be visible. Rest your thighs on your forearms and just practice being comfortable in that position. Honestly, I hang out in this position and it’s pretty awkward. And it makes other people think I’m strange (which I totally AM). But it’s also kind of the fucking best. #invertyoself #invertyocurves #sirasana #headstand

     
  4. I’ve received a surprising number of questions concerning my sexuality- ‘are you lesbian or bisexual?’ has become my most frequently asked non-yoga question.

    Answer? I’m neither- I identify as #queer. I came out as a lesbian in my late teens, but i’ve had a much clearer understanding of my sexual orientation and gender expression since my early twenties. I’ve dated people who express themselves in a variety of ways, and I’m a firm believer in every human’s right to identify as they wish. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more and more at home with my personal definition of femininity & my inner #femme shines the brightest shade of magenta you’ve ever seen.

    Unfortunately, many femmes are accused of passing as straight simply because they adhere to more traditional standards of feminine dress and I’m no different. However, anyone who believes wearing a pencil skirt or bodycon dress is the ultimate expression of heterosexuality is, quite frankly, more than a little out of touch. Am I right, @nicolettemason & @madamradams? #femmepride #backbends

     
  5. One of the ways I really began to deepen my #yoga practice was by focusing on specific poses. To this day, i’ll look up poses using @yogajournal’s pose index and read the thorough entries. Then I practice the preparatory poses they suggest before practicing the final pose itself.

    Many of you have asked for advice about growing/maintaining a home practice & I think the goal setting that comes from honing in on specific poses is integral when practicing on your own. I love to reinforce my @yogajournal studies w/ tutorial videos by @kinoyoga & @adrienelouise as well as (of course) @yogaglo classes by my loves @kathrynbudig & @amyippoliti.
    As always, feel free to send all your questions/successes/tales of woe/tales of joy to my tumblr inbox or my Twitter (@jessnotjazz). #warrior3

     
  6. Just a few FAQ on a Sunday afternoon:

    My mat: @lululemon’s The Mat

    My Favorite Style of #Yoga: Vinyasa, especially the mix of vinyasa and ashtanga that @kathrynbudig teaches.

    My Favorite Yoga Attire: My underwear (in this shot I’m wearing @gap boxer briefs and @f21 crop tank) but I also love my yoga leggings by Kobieta (discount code in my IG header) and @c_ravel (she made my cosmic leggings). I think it’s really important to be able to see and feel your body in poses, and practicing in my underwear allows for much more physical awareness and freedom. However, I dream of @bitsybottom yoga shorts and the drawstring short shorts made by @c_ravel.

    First Style of Yoga that I practiced/loved: #Bikram. Following an extremely unsuccessful Bikram experience in my teens (the heat made me legit cray cray, y’all), I purchased a groupon pass to the Winston-Salem Bikram studio when I was in grad school. I kinda fell in love with the #hotyoga experience- the heat truly cleanses the mind, body and soul- but it’s also kind of expensive to practice regularly at a Bikram studio. I was a work study student at the WS Bikram studio (minimal post-class studio maintenance in exchange for free classes= the fucking jam) but my post-academia budget (aka abject poverty) makes it very difficult to practice in studios on the reg. Instead, I take classes on @yogaglo and occasionally drop-in at local studios like @hotasana and Bikram Durham.

    If you ever want to ask me a question, feel free to hit me up on Twitter- I’m @jessnotjazz over there. Also, congrats to my inspiration/idol/personal hero @kinoyoga on reaching 350K followers! If y’all ever need inspiration, check out Kino’s YouTube channel- she’s an Ashtanga superhero. #kinoyoga350K @gbsk @butterelixir #invertyoself #scorpionpose #forearmstand #inversion

     
  7. A few weeks ago, I stepped on a scale for the first time in ages. I was pretty shocked to see the scale read ~185 lb. Y’all, I haven’t weighed under 200 pounds since I was a teenager. Maybe even younger. It also means that since I began practicing yoga on a regular basis I’ve managed to drop at least 40 pounds. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t mention it here, but I receive so many questions and vaguely irritating assumptions about my dietary habits and my beliefs about healthy living that I feel compelled to quell some of my thirstier inquisitors.

    Here’s what I think- caring for your body is a multifaceted issue. I try to avoid consuming food that I know will do my body harm, but I definitely still eat bacon and cheese fries at 2am. I try to get enough sleep, but I have two jobs and I’m in my late twenties - late nights and early mornings are kind of the norm around here. I drink water constantly, but who doesn’t like to sip a cheerwine float from time to time? However, every time I’ve attempted to completely shift my lifestyle (take my numerous attempts at #weightwatchers as an example) I’ve never seen the weight loss results that have bloomed by simply accepting my vices and my body for what they are. Yes, I lead a very active lifestyle (I mean, I punctuate 90-minute yoga sessions by spending my evenings sprinting through a James Beard Award Nominated restaurant) but I take cream in my coffee and I’m a macaroni and cheese aficionado. I’m a big believer in balance- balance does not mean guilt tripping yourself because you ate half a pizza after a grueling workout. Honestly (and I really hope you guys hear me right now), who cares? Is it a character flaw to find pleasure in things that aren’t universally accepted as ‘clean, perfect, nutritious, healthy’? I think caring for your body involves a certain amount of body and soul agreement that can’t exist when you’re living in constant pursuit of ‘clean, perfect, nutritious, healthy’. Like all of you, I’m just in pursuit of feeling GOOD- and the true definition of feeling good is entirely up to you.#aimtrue #natarajasana #dancerpose #effyourbeautystandards #honormycurves

     
  8. I am often asked about preparatory poses for #inversions, and my mind always immediately goes to #forearmplank pose. Once I started focusing on my #core work, kicking into inversions became a much more attainable goal. I like to hold this pose from 30-60 seconds, depending on how much I feel like torturing myself. Actually, as time has progressed and i’ve gotten more comfortable with it, there are definitely days when I look forward to forearm (and regular) plank. It’s a great place to turn off your mind and just exist in the pose.

    (I’m sure some people might not expect someone with such an expressive belly to engage in daily core work, but looks can and should be deceiving. #fatkidforever #gimmedatcake)

     
  9. I can’t believe I kicked into #handstand today. I am still in shock. You guys are witnessing mama’s first handstand. No words. #invertyoself #invertyocurves #inversions

     
  10. I can definitely feel myself growing with this pose every week. It’s never enough. I’m fully immersed. I’m addicted. Call the doctor- I need help.