With new yoga teacher Melissa Lingo, Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel now offers two classes a week on Sundays and Wednesdays. Californian yogi and musician Melissa is a long-time resident of Siem Reap, and is well-known for her hard work, creativity and adventurous spirit. Recently returned from intensive yoga training in India, Melissa is overflowing with new knowledge that she’s sharing with us at Baby Elephant. Wellness is important to us and to our hotel philosophy, which is why we’re thrilled to see people like Melissa contributing to making Siem Reap a wellness hotspot in Southeast Asia. Read the interview below to get to know Melissa before your next class. We look forward to seeing you!
SUNDAY 9.30-10.30am $6 Vinyasa Yoga
WEDNESDAY 5.30-6.3pm $6 Yoga Basics Workshops
Hi Melissa! Tell us, what do you love about life in Siem Reap?
I often take for granted how simple life can be here if we allow it to be. In the beginning the slower, more relaxed way of life can feel frustrating or confusing to anyone used to the fast pace of the western world.. but after a while I’ve come to adore and embrace it, as it’s taught me patience and helped me let go of expectations for each day.
What’s your idea of the perfect day trip idea in or around Siem Reap?
I love a good motorcycle ride through the countryside, exploring all the little paths less travelled. Phnom Krom is always a nice hike!
What is your top tourist tip for those visiting Siem Reap and the temples?
The first thing that comes to mind is more of a responsible tourism tip. Ask first:) Ask before taking photos of locals just livin their lives, ask before assuming something about the culture, ask before doing a super cool headstand at the temples, etc. I think we get so excited to be in a new place that we forget boundaries, and it’s important to show our respect and love for the culture by investing a genuine interest in learning and asking questions. Ask yourself if your actions are benefiting or harming the place you’re visiting.
Can you sum up your love for yoga for us in one sentence?
Some people put their bare feet in the grass to feel grounded, my head loves the clouds so much that I find nothing makes me feel more connected and at peace than flipping upside and planting my head in the grass!
How can travelers benefit from yoga?
Practicing yoga while traveling will energize you for sightseeing, and it’s an awesome way to connect with other travelers, locals, and expats. Your body will thank you for stretching out after plane, train, or bus rides!
What can people expect from your classes?
My classes vary in intensity but the most important thing to me is that everyone feels welcomed and confident during the practice. I like to emphasize that yoga is for everyone, and just because you can’t touch your toes or stand on your head doesn’t mean you can’t get the full physical and emotional benefits from the practice. Every body is different, therefore it’s important to let go of comparisons or expectations for what we should look like when practicing and focus instead on how we feel. I design my classes with an equal desire to share physical postures that build strength and flexibility with yogic philosophy and science to deepen the understanding of what we’re doing on the mat.
What’s on your bucket list?
What’s your favourite plant/animal/colour/movie?
What is your next travel destination?
Siem Reap is home for now, but I’d love to go back to India. I’d also like to see Iceland and more of South America.
What is a cause you are passionate about?
I’m passionate about a lot of issues – falling under the umbrellas of human rights and intersectional feminism, animal rights, and environmental protection. I really believe they’re all connected, and that we can affect each of them with daily choices. I’m a long time vegetarian and went vegan 7 years ago to help minimize my carbon footprint and to demonstrate my respect for animals, and through that choice I’ve learned so much about the impact that agribusiness has on our precious planet and all of its inhabitants.
What is a fun fact about you?
I’m a fourth-generation female musician, coming from a long line of songbirds and ladies who just rock:) I play bass, guitar, ukulele, piano, and any other instrument I can get my claws on.
Catch Melissa for yoga at Baby Elephant Sundays and Wednesdays. Or drop in to Charlie’s on Hospital Road on Sunday afternoons to catch her playing acoustic sessions for Sangria Sundays!
Siem Reap’s Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel is an evolving premium independent hotel with a sustainable, ethical and responsible tourism business model. We offer a dynamic, creative, nourishing space for our guests. Baby Elephant is situated close to the centre of Siem Reap, down a unique lane which has its own stories and rustic style. Baby Elephant provides an inclusive, relaxing, family-friendly experience for people with discerning taste who appreciate good service, relaxation, health, good food and a cocktail or two by the pool!