Our questions are generally framed to create some conversations around introspection, as opposed to discussing the stylistic elements (like the plot or characters of a fiction novel). These questions and points are just a starting point and with this book in particular we’d like to challenge you with taking some time at home to try out some of the practices explained in the book so that you might talk about that experience as well when talking about the book.
Jessamyn shares, “I enjoyed going to classes (when I could afford it), but like many other yoga students who look “different,” I always left the studios feeling a vague (at best) sense of discrimination at the hands of my teachers and fellow students.”
Have you ever experienced this? Has anticipating this kind of experience kept you from doing yoga or other physical activities you might be interested in?
On writing the book: “Because all yoga bodies deserve to be represented in print, not just those that are slender, young, female, and white.”
Has this been your impression of the yoga culture? Does the representation offered in this book help you feel more empowered to go practice yoga?
“I associated so much shame with my body, I didn’t think I deserved to wear clothing that actually made me feel good.”
Aside from the context of exercise clothes, we want to bring up that one of the most simple and yet incredibly empowering things we encourage everyone in the Circles of Change community to do is to ditch the clothes that make you uncomfortable. Go through your closet this month and ditch the clothes that make you feel bad. There is no shame in buying clothes in a different size, even if that means a larger size. You are not defined by that number and you deserve to be comfortable. Wear what makes you feel good, and not what pinches or hurts, like too small jeans. You are not your jean size. And if you want to wear horizontal stripes or crop top, do it! Wear what you want on the awesome body you already have.
Early on in her initial encounters with yoga Jessamyn wonders “Why can they do it and I can’t?”
Have you ever had this thought? How often do you think you make it a comparison game in various aspects of your life? Can you find ways to appreciate the value of your specific experience?
This sentiment is amazing: “It’s possible that I hadn’t given myself the chance to try in such a carefree way since childhood.”
There is great power in embracing your mistakes, missteps, and falls as part of the learning experience. What would it look like or feel like to bring this approach to the yoga mat, to a dance class, or to any other activity?
Jessamyn talks about working against toxic language and its prevalence in the fitness world. What kind of conversations and language have you noticed at the gym, at barre class, or wherever you exercise? How many conversations center around praising weight loss? How much talk is there of following specific diets or restricting food? Do people talk about food or eating in terms of “being good” and “being bad”? How would you steer these conversations in a different direction?
“In many ways, finding self-love has been the greatest pursuit of my life.”
Does Jessamyn’s path and the stories that she has shared help you feel like you’re more capable turning your words and actions into those that support self-love?
Do you feel more confident in engaging in activities that may have previously felt scary because of how you feel about your body?