A local's guide to what's new and cool in Durham, NC

Channon Hodge/CNN

Yoga teacher Jessamyn Stanley hasn't been seated more than a couple minutes at her favorite new restaurant, Palace International, when two women eating lunch nearby recognize her.


"Oh, are you the one that does yoga?" asks the first woman, smiling nervously. "I follow you!"

"Yes, hi," replies Stanley, squirming a little at the attention.

The woman continues to praise Stanley, telling her that Stanley's Instagram posts have helped give larger women a positive body image.

People recognize Stanley whenever she's home in Durham, North Carolina -- not just for her hardcore yoga classes, but because of her social media presence.

Using her Instagram and YouTube accounts, she advocates yoga for everyone, busting through the yoga stereotype of the slim, white, heterosexual woman who can afford group classes and pretty props.

A native of nearby Greensboro, Stanley was unhappily attending graduate school in Winston-Salem when she turned to yoga to find some relief. She had tried it before but this time, it took.
Yoga gave her the courage to leave her program and move to Durham five years ago, with no job or friends to speak of. After she moved, she was reeling from the loss of a seven-year relationship and the death of her aunt, and yoga became her saving grace.

And her first job at Mateo, Durham restaurateur Matt Kelly's highly-regarded downtown tapas restaurant, gave Stanley a front row seat to the redevelopment of the Bull City, so called after the Bull Durham Tobacco brand launched by the Blackwell Tobacco Company in the 1800s.

To read more, please visit: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/04/travel/jessamyn-stanley-durham...

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