Cover Image: Every Body Yoga

Every Body Yoga

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Member Reviews


I loved the mix of information about yoga with memoir vignettes. The breakdown of yoga terms in charts were very nice. I like the flows broken down by what you want to accomplish with your practice and the photographs are beautiful! Excellent book!
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Jessamyn's candor and humor come through brilliantly in this biographical self-help book.

Instead of the author telling you what YOU need to be doing to make Yoga work for you, she is using herself as a relatable example to inspire you just to give yoga a try. There were some slightly ranty parts that could alienate anyone on the other side of the "mat" though. I would definitely consider it more biographical than self-help, but it was still an enjoyable read.

Worth checking out whether yoga scares you or not.

4 Stars.
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Though the book gives the typical suggestions of blocks and bands and the use of chairs, it still does not do the job of working with someone one on one to learn the correct form.  Use of aids will work only if done correctly and a trained instructor is the best way to go
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I've been a follower of Ms. Stanley for a while online.  This book supports her online portfolio and philosophy and provides an important counterpoint to all of the yoga and exercise books that only show thin people.  We need better representation of all body types in exercise books!
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“Apparently, when you show the internet your fat ass in a yoga pose, everyone wants to know how the hell you managed to do it.”

I wish I’d been able to read Every Body Yoga before I returned to my mat (after a nearly 10-year absence) 18 months ago, but Jessamyn Stanley hadn’t published this useful book of instruction and encouragement yet. I had followed her on Instagram, though, and reading Stanley’s posts was one of the things that pushed me to re-commit to yoga, even though I worried I was too out of shape and out of practice to pick it up again. Stanley argues that yoga is for “everybody and EVERY BODY,” regardless of size, shape, financial situation, etc. Search for “yoga” on Google Images and you’ll mostly get results showing thin white women contorting themselves into advanced poses; Jessamyn Stanley’s mission is to break down the hold those images have on our conception of who “can” do yoga.

Stanley begins Every Body Yoga with a series of short essays that discuss the body-image issues she has struggled with since childhood and how she eventually got into yoga, despite a few false starts and worries that she didn’t “belong” on the mat. Part 2 of the book covers the basics for anyone new to yoga—a history of the discipline, the different types you can practice, what you might want to buy, how to approach your first classes. Part 3 offers step-by-step instructions on the most common poses for beginners, and Part 4 puts everything together, with guides for a number of short flows that anyone can practice at home. Each flow is preceded by an essay in which Stanley describes a challenging time in her life and links it to the concept (strength, balance, calm) that the flow is designed to address.

Stanley writes Every Body Yoga in a chatty, relaxed style—one chapter is titled, “What the Fuck Is the Eight-limbed Path?”—rather than the pseudo-mystical tone that a lot of people adopt when they write/talk about yoga. She’s honest about the challenges that even experienced practitioners face, but also admits there are no magic shortcuts for addressing them (“just keep going” is all anyone can do). A lot of what Stanley talks about is stuff that I had to figure out on my own, or with the assistance of the supportive instructors at the no-judgement-zone, body-positive studio I lucked into finding near my house. I definitely recommend that anyone new to yoga—especially someone who thinks they aren’t the yoga type—be given a copy of Every Body Yoga so they’ll see that the questions and problems they have are shared by many other people, and none of them prevent anyone from practicing yoga in their own way.
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This book is amazing, you may think to yourself that you can't do it.  Sign yourself up for a class and see what the hype is about.  Someone mentioned to me that yoga is a fad.  I corrected her and said it is a lifestyle.  I might not be the best at some poses but I give it 100% and I love that people don't judge.  You can make modifications to the poses to suit your needs.  No matter what shape or size you are everyone can enjoy yoga.   Thank you for allowing me to review this book.
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Published by: Workman Publishing (13th April 2017)

ISBN: 978-0761193111

Source: Netgalley 

Rating: 5*


From the unforgettable teacher Jessamyn Stanley comes Every Body Yoga, a book that breaks all the stereotypes. It's a book of inspiration for beginners of all shapes and sizes: If Jessamyn could transcend these emotional and physical barriers, so can we. lt's a book for readers already doing yoga, looking to refresh their practice or find new ways to stay motivated.

lt's a how-to book: Here are easy-to-follow directions to 50 basic yoga poses and 10 sequences to practice at home, all photographed in full colour. lt's a book that challenges the larger issues of body acceptance and the meaning of beauty. Most of all, it's a book that changes the paradigm, showing us that yoga isn't about how one looks, but how one feels, with yoga sequences like "I Want to Energise My Spirit," "I Need to Release Fear," "I Want to Love Myself".

Jessamyn Stanley, a yogi who breaks all the stereotypes, has built a life as an internationally recognized yoga teacher and award-winning Instagram star by combining a deep understanding for yoga with a willingness to share her personal struggles in a way that touches everyone who comes to know her. Now she brings her body-positive, emotionally uplifting approach to yoga in a book that will help every reader discover the power of yoga and how to weave it seamlessly into his or her life.


Wow...I love this book! Jessamyn's attitude is inspirational.  Her body-positive approach to classes is fantastic and the way the book is written just outstanding. To write about her personal journey towards self love and body acceptance must have been such a difficult yet cathartic thing to do. To be at peace with her body now and to be such an inspiration to so many others as a yogi and such an influence via her Instagram account must bring her the happiness you see on her face. 

The yoga poses in the book are in full colour, and it is clearly demonstrated how to get into and out of each pose too. There is an emphasis on breathing, interesting chapters about the history of yoga, and lots of detailed information. This is probably the only yoga book you'll ever need! I read an ebook but have since got a printed copy for reference. 

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley and this is my unbiased review.
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We need more books like this, to underscore yoga's appeal and usefulness for many people. Highly recommended.
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I aspire to practice yoga a lot more frequently than I actually do, but with my current work schedule I am hard pressed to attend studio classes.  Home practice seems to be the logical solution.  I have a healthy personal collection of yoga books, but the photographs in those books are definitely of people who don’t look like me.  These people can achieve seemingly impossible poses because they don’t seem to have an ounce of fat on them.  But I have more than a few extra pounds, so I find this to be quite discouraging and a fairly major barrier to developing a robust home practice.  When the opportunity arose to review Jessamyn Stanley’s book, which described as an inspiring yoga book that breaks all stereotypes, I jumped at it.  What I had hoped to find were some asanas that I could use to develop a robust home practice.

Overall, the book is comprised of six distinct sections: an introduction, a discussion of how to begin practicing yoga, a brief history of modern yoga, the ABCs of asana, nine sequences to do at home, a conclusion.  

In the introduction, the author says that she wrote her book for “every fat person, every old person, and every exceptionally short person…every person who has called themselves ugly and every person who can’t accept their beauty…every person who is self-conscious about their body.”  That comes across quite clearly in the discussion of how to begin practicing yoga.  Her language and tone are down-to-earth, and the examples from her own life are both endearing and enlightening.  The questions and answers listed at the end of this section and the next section are very informative and encouraging.  Throughout the book, the author addresses questions such as “How can I motivate myself?” “What if I’m the fattest person in the class and everyone stares at me?”  “Will yoga help my depression?”  “What time of day should I practice yoga?”  “What if my body can’t make any of these shapes at all?” “How long should I hold a pose?”

The history of modern yoga is very short.  There is a glossy chart that covers some key differences between ancient yoga and modern yoga – how old is it?  is it religious?  is it unisex?  how many styles are there?  are classes the same?  is it materialistic?  The history briefly discusses two major ancient yogic texts before jumping to the 1920s and delving into the development of modern yoga.  The author then jumps back to the 400 CE to emphasize that the physical yoga asana practice is but one limb of the eight-limbed path of Ashtanga yoga.  There is a fascinating chart that compares a few of the more common modern yoga styles based on what it is, who might enjoy it, and how physically demanding it may be. 

The ABCs of asana starts off with some basic advice about practicing yoga, and then progresses into two breathing exercises.  This is followed by approximately 60 pages of different yoga poses for standing, balancing, hamstrings, core, hips, backbends, and restoration.  The poses range in difficulty from Mountain Pose to  Dancer and Supported Headstand.  Each yoga pose page is labeled in American English and in Sanskrit.  Below the label are bullets about how to move into the pose, how to be in the pose, and how to move out of the pose.  The color photograph of an individual in the yoga pose is labeled with various call outs that reinforce the finer points of being in the pose.  Supported and advanced variations on poses follow the page for the primary pose.  The bullet instructions are usually very clear, with colloquial terms sprinkled throughout to make them more accessible. However, on Warrior II, Half Moon Pose, and a few other poses, the last bullet says to hold the pose for a few breaths and then switch to the other side.  But how does one move out of the pose and switch to the other side?

Each of the yoga sequences begins with a few pages of introduction, including an anecdote from the author’s life, lessons learned from the anecdote, and sometimes some background on the actual sequence.  The sequences are usually a few pages of photographs of the poses introduced in the previous section, with a very short introductory note.  Both the traditional Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B are included in the sequences. 

Overall, the message of accepting oneself and loving oneself reverberates throughout the entire book.  Be it in a section where the author is discussing how to pull together different classes from different styles of yoga to sit your personal growth needs at the time or in a section where the author is discussing how to focus on how you feel during a yoga practice rather than how you look.  I would definitely recommend this book for anyone seeking to begin a yoga practice – or even deepen the yoga practice that they currently have.   Although the sequences are easy to follow, the lessons learned that accompany them are extremely thought provoking and useful as meditations on the mat.   I personally will buy copies of this book for friends of mine who are in various stages of their yoga practice as birthday and Christmas presents.  And I may actually buy a copy for myself too, as I need to continue to meditate upon all of the lessons learned that were presented in the book.
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I've followed Jessamyn on instagram and seen her on other yogis/body positive social media accounts so when I saw that her book was on here I had to jump on it! I love the different elements of yoga that is described in this book and getting to know her story a bit better really made me feel more confident in my goals of becoming a yoga instructor. I think it's amazing to see other women of different sizes doing things that have been so cookie-cutter for so long. This is a very empowering book and would recommend to as many people as I possibly can!
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Have you ever read a book that made you just want to hang out with the author? This one made me do that. The down-to-earth writing style and engaging personal stories made this book a delight to read.
 This is really half autobiography and half 'beginners guide to yoga". Jessamyn talks about her life, what lead up to her trying yoga, and her struggles with not being the stereotypical yoga practitioner. 
The information sections are complete without being overwhelming. It's very much a beginners guide to yoga, including sections for the history of yoga, products, the different types of yoga, and excellent photos of various positions. But this is really so much more than a fitness book. Jessamyn's personal stories sprinkled inbetween the informational sections make this far more enjoyable to read. I highly recommend this for anyone even SLIGHTLY interested in yoga. 

**I received this copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
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This book is a great guide for anyone that is uncomfortable with their body and hesitant to do yoga.  Jessamyn goes through how to use props as well as the type of yoga and yoga class etiquette. She makes the readers feel at ease with telling her journey into yoga and her feelings about being bigger than what she perceived as socially acceptable.
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When I first started practicing yoga and discovered the world of yoga on instagram, Jessamyn was one of the first yogis I followed (you can follow her by clicking here).  I fell in love with her energy and body positivity, and she's still one of the most inspiring yogis I follow.  I love her strength and her pride in how amazing her body is, and it's great to see what the poses look like when they're done by a person with a body that looks more like mine than like the "traditional" yoga body.

This book is full of gorgeous color pictures and contains Jessamyn's person story and thoughts on yoga as a spiritual and physical practice, but the main draw for me was the instruction.  Jessamyn provides visual and written instruction for the basic poses and an entire section of sequences focusing on different parts of the body and attitudes to embrace.  Her practices are thoughtful and easy to understand and I found her explanations helpful.

These are both great choices for anyone seeking inspiration and guidance in beginning or continuing a yoga practice.  I found a lot to love here from both books, both visually and in terms of learning more about the practice of yoga and asana techniques. 

I read Yoga Bodies through my local public library and Every Body Yoga courtesy of NetGalley.
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Personal, motivational, and instructional all at the same time. Jessamyn's voice speaks to me and helped me to believe I can pursue yoga, even if I don't have what people typically visualize as a "yoga body." She is redefining what a "yoga body" is, and her passion and knowledge of the practice shine through.
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As a follower of the author on social media, this was still a breath of fresh air to read. Yoga is for every body regardless of your body time. The sentiments, knowledge and vibe that Ms. Stanley puts out in her debut as well as her social media presence is one the yoga community needs in the age of Instagram perfectionism and illusion.
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I have loved loved loved this book. Have bought a copy now for my Mum and I from Amazon and payed stupid postage to Australia because we love it so much. Been great for my stress and wellbeing
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Unfortunately I was never able to open this on my Android.
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Jessamyn Stanley has a good heart for everyday feelings and expresses them beautifully. While the yoga poses are a great reference for bigger girls, like myself, to see what the poses are really like, that is really only a small part of what this book is. Her journey is awesome and while I still don't take to the "spiritual" part of yoga, I can see why she does and how that works in her life. The only criticism I would have is that the language in some parts is just a little too much. Everyone says fuck and shit, but there were a few pages in the beginning where it began to hinder her language rather than help it along.
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