I’m Martina Bell, founder of School of ESL Yoga® and the author of the The comprehensive ESL Yoga study book for ESL teachers and students and Planning your yoga classes with culture in mind.
Before teaching French Immersion in the public-school system of Surrey, British Columbia, I had been teaching yoga and mindfulness full-time for eight years, helping new Canadians manage the stress of adapting to a new culture with mindfulness strategies and creating ESL Yoga.
I help all educators, program creators and students who are looking for resources to teach and study English as a Second Language in a context that supports mental clarity, health and well-being.
I believe learning a language and practicing mindfulness are the heart of personal transformation. The integration of those two fields does not only lead to successful learning, but also to more happiness in life.
Through my lifelong work as a student and educator of modern languages and yoga I know that mindfulness is a more effective way to teach English than to simply follow a textbook or approach that does not provide a meaningful context for learning.
This is especially true in our current time where the needs of students and teachers have so dramatically changed.
My journey as an educator
In 2018, Martina graduated from the University of Simon Fraser with a Masters of Education in Diversity in Education and a Professional Certification in teaching French Immersion from the University of Victoria, BC, in 2016 after she returned from studying in Bordeaux, France.
Since 2016, she has worked in the school district of Surrey as a primary school teacher. First as a classroom teacher and since, spring 2020 as a blended learning teacher.
Her school district provides her with numerous professional development opportunities in the decolonialization of education, SOGI, inclusion, trauma-sensitive teaching, social-emotional and inquiry-based learning, leadership, online instruction, the development of metacognition and teaching modern languages through an integrated approach of content and language.
She serves her school community as a representative for the French Immersion department, leader of staff wellness challenges and mindset in education staff initiatives.
In her time outside of her online French Immersion classroom, she is continuing to grow her School of ESL Yoga.
My journey as a yoga teacher
In 2007, Martina received yoga teacher certifications from the Vancouver School of Bodywork and Massage and through Anusara Yoga, a therapeutic form of Hatha Yoga. For the following eight years, she taught yoga in most of Vancouver’s yoga studios.
In 2010, she was awarded the “experienced” designation from the Yoga Alliance, and she is certified by Yoga Ed. and completed trainings in Yoga for PTSD with Yoga Outreach. Currently, she is working towards her Yoga Nidra certification.
Her School of ESL Yoga has been featured twice on Shaw TV as well as in the Ooops Magazine, a magazine for the Japanese speaking community of Vancouver. She presented at conferences supporting new Canadians in Vancouver.
After teaching her first yoga class in her living to a handful of friends and teaching countless public yoga classes, she specialized in partnering with many non-profit organizations, program co-ordinators, clinical therapists, education agencies and ESL Schools in Vancouver with programs, resources, classes and events.
Since 2009 her books have found their way into many ESL classrooms in 23 countries.
My journey as a linguist
Before moving to Canada, she graduated from the University of Manchester in the UK with a postgraduate certification in education. She taught German in Japan and English in a Secondary School in the UK. After making the leap to Canada, she taught English as a Second Language in Whistler and Vancouver.
While transitioning between countries, cultures and schools, Martina completed a degree remotely in Translations with the University of London, UK, which lead her to working in her home office as a translator for English and German for over 10 years.
As a lifelong mindfulness practitioner, she continues to deepen her own practice through the rich online offerings of all her favourite local and international yoga teachers while living in the English Bay area of Vancouver.
As a lifelong linguist she actively maintains four languages: German, English, French and Spanish and practices her love of language through Meetups, book clubs and Toastmasters groups.