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How to Love Your Body at Any Size: Meet the Founder of "Curvy Yoga"

November 12, 2014 by Anna Guest Jelley 

We're very excited to share our interview with Anna Guest-Jelley, By Indra Kubicek

1. What made you start your yoga journey and how did you begin practicing?

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I started practicing yoga in the late 90s because I had chronic migraines, and I’d heard that yoga might help. At that point, I was desperate for any pain relief, so I figured I didn’t have anything to lose (though, admittedly, I didn’t really think I’d like it). Much to my great surprise and delight, I loved it! I was far from the “sporty kid” when I was growing up, and I’d only ever done exercise as a way to discipline my body towards weight loss, so I was thrilled to find a form of movement that I actually enjoyed.

2. What made you decide to start Curvy Yoga?

I started Curvy Yoga because I’d always wanted to find something like it, but I never did. I had no idea how many other people would be interested, but I figured I couldn’t be the only person who wanted to know how to make yoga work for people with bigger bodies. I quickly found out that I was far from the only one, and Curvy Yoga grew from there.

3. How important do you think it is to encourage new people and less physically fit people to try yoga?

I think it’s essential to share the message that yoga can be done by anyone with the body they have today. If yoga is limited only to people who are already thin, fit, flexible and able-bodied, all we’re doing is creating a smaller and smaller community, which doesn’t benefit anyone.

4. Why do you think you’ve been so successful at capturing people’s awareness and their hearts with CurvyYoga?

My focus has always been on community and getting the information out to as many people as possible. I think from that place of sharing, people have been excited to connect with and spread the word about Curvy Yoga. I’m very grateful for our incredible community!

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5. How do you try to promote yoga to this new audience?

I do my best to share through a variety of formats and venues the information that yoga can definitely work for you, no matter your shape or size. The word also gets shared through our wonderful Curvy Yoga teachers, who are spread across the globe.

5. What types of yoga do you suggest body conscious people should try?

I recommend people start in a way that feels comfortable for them. For some people, this will be at home with a DVD or online program. For others, it will be in-person with a teacher. There are more and more resources becoming available for curvy-bodied people, so hopefully people can find something that works for them. People are certainly welcome to try some of the free resources on my site by clicking here.

6. In what ways has yoga changed your life?

Yoga has taught me how to connect with, feel and notice my own body. That is such a gift! I deeply believe that it’s from that place that we can cultivate more self-acceptance, happiness and connection with others. That has certainly been true for me!

7. Is there anything that you have changed your perspective on since starting yoga and in what way has it changed?

When I first began practicing yoga, my focus was on achieving various asana, or yoga poses. Over time, though, my perspective has shifted. I now see asana as a tool to the inner journey, which is what the practice is really about for me. So while I certainly practice asana with safety and care, it no longer matters to me if I can do x or y pose. What matters to me instead is how subtly I can feel what’s happening in my body, mind and heart.

8. Can you sum up your yoga experience in 3 words

Best decision ever.

New Book Release!

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Anna Guest-Jelley has just released her new book: Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery & Loving Your Body. To buy the book: http:/ /www.amazon.co.uk/Yoga-Body-Image-Personal-Stories/dp/0738739820

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