Teacher Feature: Emily Bessemer

When did you start practicing yoga?

I began practicing yoga a little over 12 years ago (man I can’t believe it’s been that long!)

Were you hooked immediately, or did it take some time for yoga to become part of your lifestyle?

I didn’t realize I was hooked immediately, like most people, I started yoga to help get a handle on my life. I took my first class, struggled 98% of the time, questioned my own existence on the mat, I may have cried a little, and then savasana happened – the instructor I was lucky enough to end up in class with (Margo Pechtel Teicher) brought over some lavender essential oils and I remember thinking “wow, this is amazing… I guess I have to do this again.” Each time I showed up to the mat, it got it a little easier to perform the physical asana practice and I was able to appreciate the peace of mind it brought to my day. It wasn’t until I was talking to a friend (about a year after my first class) and I was telling her how amazing this 90 minute yoga class that I did was and tried to convince her to join me on new years day instead of going out to a party that I realized this was definitely a new part of my lifestyle.

How has yoga helped you overcome personal challenges or obstacles in your life?

As many people in our world have, I’ve suffered from anxiety and frequent bouts of panic. Yoga helped me to better be able to reprogram my brain to deal with these things and handle what life throws at me with more grace and understanding. I also credit yoga with my success as a physical therapist. I often find that most people connect the best with being able to integrate movement, mindfulness and breathing when it comes to their personal healing, being able to provide this for them in their daily practices is more than a blessing.

Do you have any mentors or teachers who have inspired you throughout your yoga journey?

Summer Quashie
Margo Pechtel Teicher
Tess McDaniel
Samantha Vetrano
These women have been some of many more amazing teachers and friends that I’ve gained on this yoga journey. For them I am so grateful

What are your goals as a yoga teacher?

As a yoga teacher I wish to provide a safe space for personal exploration, both on a physical level but also a more intimate level between a person and their own bodies. I aim to encourage the student to listen to their bodies needs and give them an opportunity to connect, through moving meditation, with their higher selves and spiritual practice. I provide classes tailored for people undergoing certain challenges on the physical and mental level (yoga for healing, prenatal and post-partum recovery) but my goal as a teacher is to make yoga approachable for all and encourage a connection to themselves and others. As a yoga teacher, I truly believe, that if more people practiced yoga we could truly heal the world around us, one person at a time.

What is your teaching style?

Vinyasa – meditative flow and restorative connection

What have been some of the biggest benefits you’ve found - mentally, physically and spiritually - since you’ve started doing yoga?

Since starting yoga, I have found strength, in all aspects of myself. As a woman, having the physical strength to literally (and figuratively) lift and care for myself is empowering. As a human, having the mental strength to conquer anxiety inducing situations and challenges is comforting. As a soul being, having the spiritual strength to dedicate my day, my practice, my failures and my successes to a universal source beyond is liberating.

What has incorporating yoga into your lifestyle taught you about yourself?

That I can truly do anything I put my mind to – that everything, all of the challenges, can and will be trans versed. No matter how crazy it seems right now (and how often you face plant in the meant time) laugh it off, give it up to God and try again.

What is your favorite pose and why?

Pigeon – I love the intimate connection it gives me with my body, the ability to relax in to a joint that carries me through out the day but also the challenge that comes with really getting deep in to a posture and mentally quieting down.

Do you have a mantra or quote you live by?

“It’s all good” – I literally use this through out my entire day, like a broke record, because for me – it really truly is all good. Life throws curve balls, but if it were truly always easy, simple, clear cut, what would the point be? How would we learn? How would we grow? It truly is, all good, all the time.

Air, Earth, Fire or Water - Which element speaks to you the most in your practice?

Air – in my practice, I find a connection with the air around me, in a dance. It is the one time in my day that I allow myself to let go and literally float through the movements, allowing myself to mentally and physically let go.

What advice would you give to someone who feels too intimidated to try yoga for the first time?

First off, we’ve all been there. But, second, the purpose of yoga is to realize that nothing you do (on or off your mat) is anything but an offering. The hardest part of the entire practice is showing up, making it on the mat, stepping through the door and getting there. After that, it’s smooth sailing.

Our mantra is “Live Limitless,” and we aim to inspire people to pursue their passions free of self-doubt or the pressures of societal norms. How has yoga helped you live limitless?

Yoga has been the reason I can say I live limitless. This practice has liberated me of being bogged down by my physical body feeling stuck, my mind being caught in a feedback loop of worry and concern but it also has allowed me to feel limitless in everything that I have to offer. I know, through this practice, that I can tap in to a moving meditation that truly frees me at any time. That type of freedom cannot be bought, explained or put in to words but it is the true definition of living limitless on all levels.

If you could design a yoga mat of your own, what would it look like? (Because sometimes dreams really do come true)

The moon cycle on a purple/blue background filled with little specs of stars.

If you could go on a yoga retreat anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Literally anywhere with a good view of the sky for star gazing and camping outdoors.

Do you have a yoga playlist? If so, what kind of music is on it? (you can also share an actual playlist)

I love mixing up yoga playlists of standard yoga tunes (insert here Krishna das, Trevor Hall, Snatam Kaur) with some more fun vibes for people to jive to (Michael Jackson “Man in the Mirror” is first on my newest playlist now)

Do you have a mantra or quote you live by?

A quote from instagram that I try to read on the regular to remind us all:
“Be a woman other women can trust. Have the courage to tell another woman directly when she has offended, hurt or disappointed you. Successful women have a loyal tribe of loyal and honest women behind them. Not haters. Not backstabbers or women who whisper behind their back. Be a woman who lifts other women.”
By: Adam Binder
Artist, musician and certified yoga teacher, Adam is the founder of Apeiron Yoga. When not on the mat or in the studio, you can find Adam building beautiful websites or going on adventures with his son, Miles. Adam pushes himself to Live Limitless in all aspects of his life and hopes to inspire others to do the same through the Apeiron movement. Follow him on Instagram at @infinity_in_a_second.