When she tried CrossFit for the first time, Jessamyn Stanley found similarities between the workout and yoga.

By By Jessamyn Stanley as told to Kylie Gilbert
Updated: September 18, 2017
Photo: Christine Hewitt

I'd always been really scared to try CrossFit because I thought it was only for macho guys with giant muscles talking about how many burpees they could do. And for larger-bodied people, you have those fears that others will stare at you or that you won't be able to keep up. (Here's my uncensored take on fat yoga and the body positive movement.) But I bit the bullet and agreed to do a session with a CrossFit trainer I trusted.

The box jumps and wall-ball throws were intense, and we repeated them over and over again. I definitely had moments where I was like, Oh, f---. Am I going to make it? I was pushing through reps on the rowing machine when I realized something: Like yoga, it's really all about breathing. I was able to get into a rhythm that was a type of meditation, and it was one of the most amazing experiences-not worrying about being the slowest or not the best and just enjoying something I never thought I could do. (Related: How CrossFit Changed My Life for the Better.)

Once you have one type of exercise you love, it's like a gateway drug. (Which is a good thing; trying new things has health benefits.) You're so much more willing to do other kinds, because you remember what it means to just try and have fun.

Check out Staney's new how-to book, Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body.


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