What body positive advocate Jessamyn Stanley does in a workday



Welcome to The Work Day, a series that charts a single day in various women’s working lives — from gallery owners to stay-at-home parents to chief executives. In this installment, we hear from Jessamyn Stanley, a yoga teacher, body positive advocate and author who recorded a workday in February.

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Location: El Sobrante, Calif.

Job title: co-founder, The Underbelly and We Go High; co-executive producer and co-host, “Dear Jessamyn”; author, “Every Body Yoga” & “Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance

Previous jobs: In a past life, I worked in general management and development at a few different nonprofit arts organizations. When I first started teaching yoga, I evaluated high school writing assessments by day and ran the floor of a tapas bar by night.

What led me to my current role: I never wanted to be a yoga teacher. When people would ask me to teach them, I would say, “There are literally thousands of yoga teachers. You don’t need me to come teach you.” I still feel that way. But now I understand that the universe has plans for us that we don’t always understand. And my visibility as a fat, Black, queer person is important. It’s about living my ancestors’ legacy. So what led me to my current role is a firm belief in the power of the universe to always put me exactly where I need to be.

How I spend the majority of my workday: How I spend my day varies, but without fail, I spend most of it talking to team members and colleagues, as well as creators, journalists, editors and producers. The topics vary moment to moment and range dramatically from meeting to meeting.

5:30 a.m.: That’s my first alarm. Sometimes I actually get out of bed at that time. Heavy emphasis on the sometimes. If I’m on deadline for a writing project, I’ll wake up around 2 or 3 a.m. and write until 6 or 7 a.m. My last alarm is at 7:30 a.m.

8 a.m.: I try to finish my morning routine by 8 or 9. I like to steep and drink a cup of hot water with lemon juice, honey and ginger before sitting on the toilet while catching up on Slack and Instagram. My team spans several time zones, and because I’m in California, I’m usually one of the last to wake up. After toilet time, I like to do my practices, which depending on the day could be any mix of yoga postures, breathwork, meditation, tarot, checking astrology and numerology, and/or journaling. Then I like to hop in the shower and do my skin-care routine, but depending on the day and how deep I dive in my practices, I might not have time for all that. But between you, me, and the wall, everything is much more likely to go haywire if I skip the shower and skin care. Body worship makes a difference, know what I’m saying?

9 a.m.: Depending on the day and what projects or collaborations I’ m working on, I might have meetings, events, recordings, classes or content shoots. Today I lead a meditation and talk for the ZenDesk team and record a video for my YouTube channel announcing my inclusion in the YouTube Black Voices Creator Fund Class of 2022. When I don’t have appointments, I use this time to write. I drink a protein shake, especially because it could be a while before I have time to eat a full meal.

12 p.m.: I usually have virtual meetings for the next several hours. Today, I have the Underbelly’s weekly production team meeting and the Underbelly’s budget meeting. I meet with my lawyer and with the We Go High team. I usually make and eat my lunch in spare moments, sometimes while my mic and video are muted. If I’m not seated for a meeting that’s going to be recorded (like a podcast interview), I prefer to stand and pace outside while I’m at meetings.

5 p.m.: On super chill days, I like to sign off by 5 p.m.-ish. On “not so chill” days, I could be at work until 7 or 8 p.m. Before a Libra managed my schedule, I could be at work until 10 p.m. or later. Tonight, as part of my book Yoke’s” selection as San Francisco Public Library’s On The Same Page book for January/February 2022, I participate in a virtual book talk with Tamika Caston-Miller.

After work, I like to chill and relax with my girlfriend and, when I’m back home in North Carolina, with my partner, too. If my girlfriend and I have parked our RV at a campground, I love to make a fire and cook dinner on our outdoor stove. When we’re parked at our offices in Northern California, it’s nice to stream a show or play video games.

10 p.m.: These days, I like to be in bed by 11 p.m. at the absolute latest, and the hour before bed is deep chill vibes — candles lit, tea brewed, maybe a book, and if the universe is really benevolent, I’ll get to practice painting or work on my Shibari skills. Sometimes (very rarely but not beyond the scope of possibility), I’ll meditate. But most days, I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow.



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