big girl yoga CLUTCH

For years celebrities and magazines have been touting yoga as a great way to get your mind and body right, but for many it seems like the ancient practice is only geared toward a certain type of body: super thin.

Last year, XOJane published an essay by a woman who was shocked–SHOCKED–to see a “fairly heavy black woman” in her yoga class.

The writer claimed she saw “fear in her eyes,” and concluded the “heavy” Black woman was judging her “skinny white girl body,” which of course made her “ completely unable to focus on my practice, instead feeling hyper-aware of my high-waisted bike shorts, my tastefully tacky sports bra, my well-versedness in these poses that I have been in hundreds of times,” because….who the hell knows exactly.

The article caused a firestorm across the web with many (rightly) deriding the writer for her problematic thoughts. Thankfully, it also encouraged several women to come forward to show that yoga is indeed for every body.

If you’re like me, you spend a fair amount of time on Instagram. Back in April, I (re)started my fitness journey and began searching for women who made taking care of their bodies a priority, but not an unhealthy obsession.

What I found was a host of women who incorporate healthy choices into their lives–no matter their dress size.

Some of the most impressive were the “big girls” who could twist and contort themselves into intricate positions and make yoga seem not only cool, but possible.

So, in case you’re looking for a little inspiration to break a sweat, here are 4 women to follow on Instagram who prove yoga is for everyone.


Jessamyn Stanley is a yoga instructor, writer, and body positive advocate from North Carolina. She uses vinyasa flow yoga “as a way to move past mental and emotional barriers.” And she’s awesome.

A photo posted by Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) on

A photo posted by Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) on


It’s clear from her Instagram feed, J loves to break a sweat….and she isn’t afraid to share her fitness journey, either. We love it!

A video posted by J~ (@nappybeautylove) on

A video posted by J~ (@nappybeautylove) on


The tagline of Omega Jefferson’s site says it all. “A big girl’s journey to health, wellness and joy.” Jefferson’s been practicing yoga for over a decade, now she teaches others. While she first worried people wouldn’t want to study with a “fat yoga teacher,” she got over her fears and now she encourages students of all shapes and sizes.

A photo posted by @phatgirlyoga on

A photo posted by @phatgirlyoga on


Travel, healthy cooking, yoga…ghordeous has it all. While her Instagram page can cause some serious envy (I mean, who DOESN’T want to travel the globe?), her zest for life keeps us coming back for more.

A photo posted by ghordeous (@ghordeous) on

A photo posted by ghordeous (@ghordeous) on

Who’s your favorite yoga enthusiast on Instagram? Tag ’em below!

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  • Mico

    Yup and I’m one of them lol. I can’t get it like those beautiful sisters featured, but I’m getting there. I used to dance, so have been doing yoga poses to both stretch, warm up, and cool down for quite some time, but have recently challenged myself to complete 30-40 min once a week. I love this! These women and other bigger women challenge everyday the steretypes of us that exist that we’re not active. We do this when we dare to walk, run, jog, kickbox, dance, go to the gym, lift weights, swim, hike, etc. Thanks clutch.

    • That’s so cool. Yes, we thank Clutch for this article. Bless You like always.

    • Mary Burrell

      You rock

    • Mico

      Aww thank you, Me, and Truth. I tend get bored with static exercises, and slow movements, but enjoy hiit and tabata style cardio, body weight exercises, and weight training where more than one part of the body is engaged. So I had to slow it down and kind of force myself to begin the longer sessions. And the more intense vinyasa yoga seems to be more my speed.

    • Me

      You do rock. Flexibility is definitely my downfall, and I’ve noticed that a lot of women of all size got me beat. I need to start adding yoga to my regimen.

  • Mary Burrell


  • binks

    They all look awesome. I don’t know why people are surprised, range of motion and flexibility isn’t solely depended on size. But I need to get into Yoga because I am usually tense so stretching and flexing could help me greatly.

    • *NmySkynn70*

      that’s why i wanted to get into it, just to be more flexible, that or pilates, but it’s just to intimidating . . .

  • Nononsense73

    I have been following Jessamyn and ghordeous for a while now, and they continue to provide inspiration and aspiration goals for me!