Michele Pernetta and the FG story
Fierce Grace® is a new system of 5 interconnected yoga classes brought to you by Michele Pernetta who introduced Bikram Yoga to the UK in 1994 after returning to the UK from LA. She was a personal student of Bikram Choudhury for many years after going to him as a martial artist who needed knee surgery. She is one of the UK’s most highly regarded teachers, having taught over a quarter of a million students in her four studios and all over the world.
Michele Pernetta, Yoga Alliance Senior Teacher (Director)
Michele’s 20+ years of yoga experience in Bikram yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa and in combination with 15 years of athletic study including a martial arts Black Belt, massage certification and a 25 year spiritual practice, Michele has brought together her knowledge in the Fierce Grace® system. Michele has handpicked the best yoga teachers in the UK to be at the helm of this yoga evolution.
“I wanted to offer a range of classes to fully meet the needs of the students that come to my studios. My vision is that in 20 years from now the practitioner practicing Fierce Grace® will be a new breed of older person. Gone are the Zimmer frames, walking sticks and aches and pains. This new breed of Yogi Elder will up a mountain in their hiking shoes at 80, teaching their grandchildren handstands or scuba diving on a beach in Goa. Yoga Granddad will be leading fitness revolutions. Yoga is not just for the young and fit. It is to make every ageyoung and fit.”
Mark Oram (Senior Teacher)
‘It is life that has been twirled and shaped into a pretzel. I truly believe that Yoga allows us to gently twist out of these situations, out of the repetitive loops that cause us to make the same mistakes over and over again.’
As a Yoga instructor Mark wants to present the safest means of practicing postures (asana) and breathing techniques (pranayama), a practice that allows us to reach beyond the mat and into our lives. He believes yoga can be for anyone and wants to offer compassion and enthusiasm to all those who study with him.
Because his skills as an instructor are constantly evolving Mark continues to find new ways to connect with students and get them interested in progressively becoming more consciously aware of there bodies and minds.
Teaching yoga is Mark's passion. There is nothing else in his professional life that brings the same joy and exhilaration to him as seeing students radiate with health and vitality during and after class.
Mark admires and has been inspired by many different teachers of yoga amongst which Michele Pernetta, Adi Da Samraj, Bikram, Larry Schultz, Brian Kest, Steve Walther, and see them playing an invaluable role as facilitators in the process of learning. "The manner in which they selflessly gave their knowledge, humor, compassion and encouragement makes them wonderful teachers."
Emma Croft (Senior Teacher)
Emma has been practising Bikram Yoga for over twelve years and has been teaching for nearly as long. Having previously worked as an actress, Emma was one of Michele’s first students. She has been working as a teacher since the opening of the first Bikram Yoga schools in Queen’s crescent. Besides coaching the students that entered the U.K. Yoga Asana Championship 2005, she came 3rd third in the women’s category.
Karen Bellfield (Senior teacher)
Karen has a background in psychology, philosophy and counselling and addiction therapy. Her father was a PE teacher and mother was a theologist with special interest in eastern religion, her yoga practise being the perfect synthesis of the two! She has been teaching Bikram for 7 years, and is a qualified yoga therapist, which involves therapeutic use of yoga for specific illnesses and conditions, in 2006. Karen wholeheartedly believes in the healing power of yoga and never ceases to be amazed at its radically life changing effects.
Sanjai Verma (Senior teacher)
Sanjai came to yoga initially from many years of reading philosphy and understanding what life is all about. From the beginning of that journey some 20 years ago he has tried many systems of yoga, meditation, healing. During that time he qualified in reiki, Thai massage, kaladi nadi massage and of course Bikram yoga. Outside the studio Sanjai works with individuals and corporate clients in various endeavours, especially in the fields of self fulfillment, so it is with great pleasure that he gets a chance to bring the wealth of all his experience and expertise to teach a class.
"If you enjoy being challenged, encouraged, developing a sense of humour and the ability to fall in love with yourself thoroughly then I sincerely suggest you try a 90 minute class of Bikram . I absolutely love to get a full class moving energetically as one and revel in the interactions that are created in each and every class. Each is unique, each is special, and it is a sheer pleasure and joy to teach!!!!"
Adrian has always been physically active, running and playing rugby for his school from an early age. However, years of regular crushing by heavyweight rugby players took their toll on his knees. After several years stress induced him to practise Sivananda Yoga. Finding he quite missed the danger of getting crushed, he took up snowboarding. Left virtually unable to move by severe sciatica, his acupuncturist recommended Bikram Yoga. He has now been practicing for six years and teaching for four. His knees are better and he no longer complains about his sciatica, or being crushed by large men.
Having discovered yoga whilst working in the photographic industry, Rachel enrolled in Bikrams 2003 teacher training for a 'career break' which quickly became a lifestyle overhaul! A fascination for the scientific stuff of yoga led to further medical-based training in Yoga Therapy, including yoga for pregnancy, and Thai Yoga Massage. Rachel feels privileged to have studied with some of the worlds greatest living teachers and is continually delighted by the diversity found in yoga's many forms.
Rachel has taught yoga in Paris, Los Angeles, Ibiza and on retreats in Turkey and Spain. She extends warm thanks to Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury, Michele Pernetta, Dr. Robin Munro and Ruth Gilmore and all at London's Yoga Biomedical Trust, Kira Balaskas, Dharma Mittra, Sharon Gannon and David Life, and all yoga students everywhere.
Nigel is a lawyer who was introduced to Bilkram Yoga in 2000. He initially used it to strengthen his knees before embarking on a challenging 500km cycle ride in China and also to resolve a neck problem. He finds the physical challenge and mental focus help to relax him and keep him healthy. He has been teaching since Spring 2003.
Sangeeta discovered Bikram yoga after a minor skiing accident in 2003 where she twisted her left hip. Regular physio and gym exercise proved ineffective, and after a tip off from a friend, she found herself one spring morning taking class in a hot room. Despite being generally fit she found it exhausting, hot and sweaty. And had one of the best nights sleep she’s experienced in ages. So she came back, and back and back. She was hooked because she felt better each time she came. Over time the hip became realigned and she had gained immense strength and control. And her passion for the yoga has intensified since. While she realised early on that the yoga was good for the body, she gradually discovered the power of the yoga on the mind. She loves the clarity of vision, the immense positivity and total calm which she feels every time she practices. She realised early on that she would like to train as a teacher, but then became pregnant with her daughter and so had to put the training on the back burner while the early years child-rearing took place. In spring 2008 she completed the teacher training. Teaching has given her a greater appreciation of technique, the power of breath and immense satisfaction in being able to pass the passion on.
Lisa brings over eight years of yoga experience to her teaching. Having travelled extensively throughout the east, she teaches from her own evolved daily personal practice, guiding people to listen to their bodies whilst focusing on core strength, proper alignment and breath direction for healing and expansion. She studies yoga philosophy and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as a way to inspire her own practice and that of her students.
Nina started her yoga journey in Kerala, southern India, in the 90's whilst flying around the world as cabin crew for a major airline. She tried several different styles of Yoga-ashtanga/Iyengar before she discovered Bikram Yoga in London. By then the she had landed herself & was working on the ground at Heathrow Airport. Bikram yoga appealed to her as the heat, sweat & hard work gave great results, both physically & emotionally.
After having major surgery in 2004, she found the recovery & healing process made easier thanks to her regular Yoga practice.
She graduated from teacher training in Hawaii, fall 2007, leaving the airline industry after 21 years.
Still passionate about travelling, she will now take her teaching with her on her travels. Nina is also a certified YogaBugs teacher and massage therapist.
Jessica’s background is in dance. She was part of a contemporary dance company in Rome. In 1998 she left Italy and came to live in London to satisfy her desire to explore the world and learn another language. After a few years break from dancing, a friend persuaded her to come to a Bikram class. She had been always fascinated by the yoga world. Finally she awakened her body and her mind again. In Spring 2006 she went to Bikram teacher training and since then she has been teaching in Rome, Indonesia and London. She has also attended different courses in massage therapy and she has been studying with and inspired by many yoga teachers around the world, giving her the opportunity to deepen her practice and her teaching. Jessica believes in the incredible power of the body, that finding the awareness of the body brings peace and consciousness to the mind. She finds joy in helping and watching students going through their journey, encouraging them to find the connection with their body and their inner self through breath and grace, to be present every moment of their practice, so every moment of their life.
Razia started practicing yoga in the late 90's after her doctor refused to prescribe her sleeping pills and told her to do yoga or meditation. It worked! She continued to practice once a week and saw it as a stress-relief type activity and not exercise, which helped her return to being a relatively normal person.
Then, in 2004, Razia discovered Bikram Yoga. The once a week practice slowly grew, it became an obsession - she cancelled her gym membership and stopped running. She loved the holistic approach to health and the fact that she could still eat huge amounts of food without gaining weight!
Razia gave up her job in 2009, went travelling and took the Teacher Training in Palm Springs. Razia LOVES teaching. She would like to thank her teachers for their inspiration and guidance and she is eternally grateful to Bikram Choudhury.
Hortense moved to the UK in 1995 and become quickly involved in the
London Art scene. She spent the next 10 years studying, making,
organizing and collaborating in various projects all within the arts
including a quick stint in the Fashion Industry. During this period,
Hortense discovered Bikram Yoga, taking her first class in 2000 at
Michele’s initial London studio. When Hortense moved to Cape Town
on her 30th birthday for a change of pace, she had the opportunity to
build on her passion for Bikram to the point where she wanted to share
the physical, psychological and spiritual benefits with others. She
believes the Yoga is transformative and it helped her to find calm
while still living life to its fullest. In 2008 she graduated as a Bikram teacher and starting her career in San Francisco. She now
teaches and takes classes at all three studios.
Ayesha discovered Bikram yoga in 2004. She was recommended by a friend who suggested that it would be beneficial for her as she had severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. At the time, she was struggling to walk or use her hands because they were so painful and swollen. After years and years of medical treatment, using a walking stick and reliant on her family, she decided to make a big change by trying Bikram yoga. She pushed herself through the pain her body endured during class, especially Fixed Firm pose and Awkward pose and struggled though the rest. After years and years of sweating it out with Bikram yoga, she is now able to do all the postures. Also she is now able to play sports again, cycling and she can not only walk again but she can run.
Ayesha decided to leave Investment Banking in 2010 to become a Bikram Yoga Teacher and with this goal in mind, she graduated in Spring 2010. She then competed in the UK Yoga Asana Championships 2012 and came 3rd in the competition and in 2013 Ayesha won the UK Asana championships and went on to represent the UK in the International Yoga Championships in LA.
Ayesha would like to spread the word of all the benefits Bikram yoga has to offer and inspire as many people as possible.
Sarah has practised yoga for nearly 10 years, qualifying as a Bikram instructor in 2004. In her spare time she is Head of Production for a major television company! She enjoys travelling (particularly to New York and South Africa), cycling and running - completing the London Marathon in 2002 and various half marathons and triathlons. She believes balance is key and yoga has helped her body recover from pounding the streets so often!
Anna is happily married with two cats. She suffered with pain in the top C1 to C5 vetebra together with numbness/semi paralysis in her fingers which was identified as 'erosion. wear and tear' by a neurologist. She had three years of physio, but the condition did not go away. After two months of Bikram Yoga her symptoms disappeared and she has never needed another physio session. She loves her job, loves the yoga and loves what it does for people.
Kate’s love affair with yoga started long before she trained to teach it. She studied Eastern philosophy as part of her degree and her many travels for both work and pleasure included several extended trips to India. It was while acting in New York that her passion for Bikram yoga blossomed and that same passion drives her journey as both teacher and student.