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Author Archives: Anna Guest-Jelley

Anna Guest-Jelley is the founder of Curvy Yoga, a training and inspiration portal offering body-positive yoga classes, workshops, teacher trainings, retreats, a virtual studio and an in-person studio in Nashville, TN, for people of all shapes and sizes. Anna is also the co-editor of Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery & Loving Your Body. Visit the Curvy Yoga website for more details: http://www.curvyyoga.com/

  • My Body, My Friend?

    Yoga Body - My Body, My Friend I once had to initiate a break-up. With a friend. It took me a long time to realize it, but our friendship had become toxic. I shared responsibility for letting the relationship get to the one-sided point it did, but it wasn’t really about that. What it was really about was what I hadn’t let myself see, as well as what I hadn’t bothered to learn in the first place. You know what else that reminds me of? My relationship with my body. My Body, My Self? Although I guess I technically lived...

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  • How Important is Daily Practice?

    How Daily Practice Can Change Your Life You know what they say about the chicken and egg situation, right? No, seriously. I don’t have an answer; I want to know what they say. I never could seem to figure out which came first. Which is why I’m in the quandary I’m in. Writing Practice In November, I did a 30-day practice of writing every day. My goal was just to get one blog post down per day. It didn’t have to be perfect, and I couldn’t let myself edit it (or at least not much since that’s apparently a...

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  • Why Things Go Better When You Listen to Your Body

    Why Things Go Better When You Listen to Your Body Once I started listening to my body (admittedly <1% of the time, especially at the beginning), I was surprised by how it affected how I felt. (I’m obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed sometimes.) My bodily experience shifted—in that, I actually had one. Unreal. (Thank you, yoga.) Shouting From the Rooftops As my yoga practice helps me continue to hone this tool, and my body has to use more of a microphone and less of a bullhorn (we’re still a ways away from a regular speaking voice...

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  • Yoga Poses Get You in the Door

    Yoga Poses Get You in the Door - Once You’re Inside There’s a Whole Lot More than You Bargained For When I first started practicing yoga, I was all about the poses. I mean, of course, right? I was 18 and obsessed with losing weight. I’m honestly not sure what else I even could have been focused on at that point, to tell you the truth. Getting There For the first several (okay, more like 10) years of my practice, I really, really wanted to achieve new poses. I wanted Wheel in my wheelhouse something bad. And when I...

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  • The Yoga of Empowerment

    The Yoga of Empowerment I came to yoga right around the time I came to social justice work. For me, the two will always be inextricable—and that’s not because I was doing yoga while making calls on a phone bank. It’s because at the root of both, I see a desire to be fully embodied—accepted and free. What Yoga Has to Do With It When I first became an activist, my yoga always came second. I thought I had far more “important” things to do than make time for a yoga class—or even just my own mat for a...

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  • Silencing Your Inner Critic: The Multi-Layered Beauty of Movement

    How Yoga Can Help You Silence Your Inner Critic I recently had a new student come to my class. As we were chatting before class, she told me that she hadn’t done yoga in several years. She explained that the reason was that the last time she went to a class, she wasn’t able to keep up, and the teacher didn’t offer to help her. She left feeling humiliated and ashamed—and she never went back. After class, I went over to check in. She had an uninterpretable look on her face (because, as much as I wish it was...

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  • Fire Up Your Belly

    Power Up:  Fire Up Your Belly! Have you ever heard that phrase “fire in the belly?” Although I always understood what that meant in a colloquial sense, I’d rarely experienced it for myself—or seen it up close. That is, until my teacher, Cora Wen, fired up hers. Standing in Your Power I was recently at a yoga teacher training with Cora, and after meditation, she decided to share with us from a deep place of passion. We’d already namasted, so I was packing up my bag and getting ready to leave. That is, until I heard her open her...

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  • Why I’m Not a Fan of this Concept: Full Expression

    Why I’m Not a Fan of this Concept:  Full Expression I’ll admit to not being a fan of some tried-and-true yoga phrases. And you know what’s at the top of my list? “Full expression.” Have you heard that one? It usually sounds something like: “If you’d like, you can come into the full expression of the pose.” Or, “And if you do this, you’ll be in the full expression of the pose.” My Prob In its most distilled version, “full expression” is fairly innocuous. It’s meant to illustrate what the pose should/could look like. In this way, it functions...

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  • Finding Challenge in Yoga

    Finding Challenge in Yoga When you hear that a yoga class is “challenging,” what does that mean to you? I imagine if we polled 100 yogis, we’d get 100 different answers. The reason we’d find such variance is that the idea of challenge is highly subjective. What is challenging for one person may be a snap for another, and vice versa. Also, when we talk about challenge in yoga, we typically mean physical challenge. But as we know in yoga, there’s also mental challenge, emotional challenge and spiritual challenge. Because with yoga, we’re working with the whole enchilada. Personal...

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  • Getting in Touch with Your Body: It’s More than Sunshine & Rainbows

    How Nadi Shodhana Taught Me to Listen Don’t you hate it when people talk about something that seems like a metaphor but you’re not sure if it is? Like listening to your body? Or trusting your gut? I sure do. When I was starting my yoga practice in the late ’90s, I had no idea that the instruction to “listen to your body” was an actual thing. I thought it was a lovely metaphor, something that yoga teacher types liked to say because it sounded good. So I carried on, trying to wedge myself into poses that my belly...

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