[Today's interview is with Anna Guest-Jelley, the founder of Curvy Yoga based in Nashville, Tennessee. Anna is a dedicated yoga student, certified yoga instructor, and lives an engaged life by giving fellow curvy people a community to practice and learn yoga.]
First, let us get to know you! Please introduce yourself.
Hi, everyone! I’m a curvy yoga student and teacher, puppy wrangler, and professional Yahtzee winner (at least in my own house, when I’m playing my husband).
Why did you start Curvy Yoga?
Practicing yoga with a curvy body can sometimes feel like being that weird kid in gym
class—yeah, that one. Through a few fabulous teachers and the development of my
home yoga practice, though, I started figuring out how I could practice yoga safely and
enjoyably. Once I realized that practicing while curvy is not only possible but fun,
I really wanted to share that experience with others, which is why I got my teaching
certification and started Curvy Yoga.
How’s it going so far?
I always found practicing yoga as the biggest person in the room very isolating. And,
it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way! Since I started Curvy Yoga, I’ve
found so much community both locally and online. I’m constantly amazed by the
incredible work curvy yogis are doing around the world!
For you, what’s the best part of Curvy Yoga?
It’s hard to choose just one thing! The community we’re growing is so inspiring, though,
that I’ll have to go with it. Not only are people plugging into Curvy Yoga, they’re also
connecting with each other—swapping stories, questions, ideas, and strategies. They’re
pretty much the coolest people around, and I’m so delighted to be in cahoots with them.
What is difficult for you with this project?
The hardest part was really taking that first step into teaching and writing. Curvy people
are often taught to hide or apologize for their curves, so it was kind of like stepping out
onto the ice when I began. Once I got going, though, and saw how many people were
looking for a great place to practice yoga and collaborate with others, I got my feet under
me and went on my way.
What’s your goal for Curvy Yoga?
I really hope Curvy Yoga will continue to create opportunities for a few things: (1) For
people who never thought yoga was for them to experience the benefits, (2) For yoga
teachers to learn how to create a welcoming space for curvy students, and (3) For people
to share their experience and learn from others about body positivity and how yoga can
contribute to that.
Are you partnering with any other people or organizations?
Definitely! It’s my honor to blog for several different sites, especially The Magazine
of Yoga, where I write on a regular basis. In addition, I’m partnering with a local
community center in Nashville to offer some free Curvy Yoga classes.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Living an engaged life has been such a catalyst for me—personally and professionally.
It’s a spirit that infuses Curvy Yoga, and I hope it will continue to inspire people to give
yoga a whirl, love their bodies even on the days when nothing seems to fit, and develop
incredible plans to share body positivity with others!
How could someone get engaged with Curvy Yoga?
Oh, there are so many ways!
People can engage with Curvy Yoga via the website, Facebook, or Twitter. In addition, for curvy yoga students and teachers, we have a listserv to swap ideas. If any curvy yoga teachers are reading, I also host a list of teachers on my site. Many of these venues grew from the fantastic ideas of people who are already engaged on the site, and I’m so appreciative of them for that.
Want to learn more about Curvy Yoga? View the FAQs here.