018: Jessamyn Stanley – Let Go of Fear, Get On the Mat, Love Your Body

Finding Flow in Life and Writing

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Jessamyn Stanley is an internationally acclaimed yoga teacher. She is also the author of the book Every Body Yoga.

She describes writing a book as an expression of your truth. She’s not anything like you see on most yoga ads with the perfect body and asanas, standing on the mat in the middle of paradise. She represents everybody who doesn’t see themselves reflected on the media. 

Today, she speaks about the parallels of yoga and writing, including some of the roadblocks you may face and the power of just showing up!

[01:30] Speaking Your Truth

  • Jessamyn talks about speaking your truth. If you do, they will be presented to others in the way they need to be presented.
  • There’s no way to feel anxious about it because it’s just an expression of your truth.
  • Realizing, there were only a few honest and authentic accounts of modern yoga practice available, this inspired Jessamyn to write a book about yoga.

[04:10] Being the Voice of the People

  • Yoga is not always what’s presented on social media where you see people advertising it as something to be done perfectly, with a perfect body in a perfect setting.
  • Jessamyn seeks to help other people feel and understand the authenticity of yoga. She represents everybody else who doesn’t see themselves reflected in the media.

[07:00] Writing About the Authenticity in the Practice of Yoga

  • Jessamyn’s book is not just a book about yoga advice
  • Her book is also a memoir, an aspect of the book which resonates the most with people who see themselves in those stories.
  • A yoga practice is not a status symbol, but a gateway to learning more about yourself.

[10:48] More Than Just the Physical Aspect of Yoga

  • The mental roadblocks or the things you’re struggling with on your mat are things that you come across your life in general as well.
  • Look at those challenges out of judgment but out of your compassionate light.

[12:15] Writing Process: Just Getting It Out There

  • Jessamyn talks about her experience writing the proposal and the publishing contract as well as her experience in writing the book itself.
  • She’s a big fan of the Pomodoro technique which has helped her with writing long content.
  • Writing the memoir was the hardest part for her and describes it as being so emotionally difficult.
  • When you’re writing, just write. There’s no reason to critique it before it gets out. Don’t let fear of inadequacy guide your actions. Let your writing just flow out.
  • Why Jessamyn thinks writing down personal narratives are the most important thing in life.
  • Just write. Just get it out there!
  • You don’t have it all figured out. But it’s that authenticity of being able to say that it’s so powerful.

[20:45] The Editing Process

  • Jessamyn is blessed to have an editor that just wants to encapsulate her natural tone as much as possible.
  • Editing the book has come from just a place of clarification, as opposed to carving out a different voice. They even embraced some words of profanity.
  • It’s okay not to fit in. We’re not to fit in to anything. We’re meant to be unique.

[27:00] The Hardest Part of Writing Her Book and Overcoming Fear

  • Jessamyn has got layers of scar tissue that have never been resolved since she tries to pretend they don’t exist. This included talking about her mom’s illness.
  • She wrote a couple chapters on difficult relationships and it was hard for her to put everything out for people to see.
  • The biggest stopping point for people is fear of who could read it and what their opinion will be.
  • Accept you’re going to offend someone and say things that may rub against other people’s values.
  • The point is not to make everyone comfortable all the time.

[32:15] The Parallels of Yoga and Writing

  • Just show up for whatever it is.
  • You can’t get the amazing effects of the practice if you don’t show up for that unilateral experience.

[38:15] Jessamyn’s Final Words of Wisdom

  • Write without thinking that anyone else will ever read it.
  • Write purely for the sake of getting your words out of your soul.
  • You can always edit, which you should edit and have other people edit. But that first draft which is just getting the word out, which is the hardest step, you just have to write like no one else is going to have to read it. By doing this, you get to write the truth because you write without fear.

Episode Resources:

Every Body Yoga

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