Have you ever taken a yoga class to find the teacher’s words lingering in your mind after practice? Almost like the message was specifically designed to stir something up in you?

Sometimes I step into class solely seeking movement and find the focus is on my body. On other occasions, I wish I could stop my practice to scribble down every word a teacher says in class. Words can be so powerful and poignant, especially when embedded in a yoga practice. You are suddenly surprised, moved or inspired by a few words: the way they have been combined, the relevance they have to your present state, the push they give to your purpose.

Yet whether it is the movement of body or the comfort of words, I find myself gravitating towards teachers who can keep things simple – from what they say to how they transition through their poses. They are the ones who inspire me to practice, stay motivated and above all, to carry my yoga off the mat. I admire teachers who embody the principles they talk about in class. Yoga is so diverse and complex, not only in the multiple variations and styles that exist but in the way it is expressed in a person’s behavior.

I have taken classes where I have felt being preached to by teachers who have an underlying mission or cause to vocalize – often times things that they are struggling with. This cause is the message they carry into their lives.

We should learn from our teachers in order to grow and expand our minds: we should practice sharing rather than imposing our beliefs.

I took a class this summer in a renowned yoga studio in New York. The founders are openly strict vegans and this was pointed out by the teacher leading the class who militantly professed hatred for anyone who ate meat! The physical practice was great but it left me feeling chastened and guilt-ridden. I am not vegan and occasionally, I enjoy sinking my teeth into a piece of steak. Did that make me less yogic? Did that mean that I was inferior in my practice or beliefs compared to a room full of vegans? I hope not. It took me a while to come to terms with this simple fact: no one is truly any one thing. It is important to take stock of our words and actions to create an inclusive environment, so that everyone feels yoga, whatever that can mean to them. So less preaching, more teaching!

-Pem Fassa

Pem took her first yoga class two decades ago which sparked her passion for the practice. Having completed a rigorous 2 year mentorship program at The Sivananda School of Geneva at the age of 21, Pem was keen to expand her knowledge of other disciplines and from there she completed three 200hr Teacher Trainings with reputable schools in different locations around the world. “I didn’t feel I was ready for a 300hr course” she says. “not only because I wasn’t ready in my physical practice, but I felt there was still so much I needed to understand and decided this was the right way for me”. Pem is a certified prenatal, kids yoga, yoga for golfers, Anti Gravity instructor and is currently completing her Animal Flow certification. “I am fascinated by movement and it never ceases to amaze me what the human body is capable of. Add to that a determined, open mind and everything is possible, no matter where you are in life.”

Pem recently took ownership of The Hot House Yoga studio in Al Zeina B, where she spends most of her time. Pem teaches Hot yoga on Thursdays at 6:30pm, Power yoga on Fridays at 9:15am followed by her Stretch n’ Align class at 10:45am.