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.
I taught yoga and mindfulness for eight years, helping new Canadians manage the stress of adapting to a new culture with mindfulness strategies and creating ESL Yoga. Currently, I am a French Immersion teacher at an elementary school in Surrey, BC and continue to develop content for 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 study and teach English than to simply follow a textbook, because an integrated approach does not only provide a meaningful context for learning, but also life skills which help to manage stress and emotions. This is especially important in our current time where the needs of students and teachers have so dramatically changed.
My journey as an educator
In 2018, I 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 I returned from studying in Bordeaux, France.
Since 2016, I have worked in the school district of Surrey as a primary school teacher.
My perspective on education is shaped by the numerous professional development opportunities my school district provides me with. My interests include the decolonialization of education, SOGI, inclusion, trauma-sensitive teaching, social-emotional and inquiry-based learning, leadership, online instruction and the development of metacognition.
I serve my school community as a representative for the French Immersion department, leader of staff wellness challenges and mindset in education staff initiatives.
In my time outside of her online French Immersion classroom, I continue to grow her School of ESL Yoga.
My journey as a yoga teacher
In 2007, I 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, I taught yoga in most of Vancouver’s yoga studios.
In 2010, I was awarded the “experienced” designation from the Yoga Alliance, and I am certified by Yoga Ed. and completed trainings in Yoga for PTSD with Yoga Outreach. In the spring of 2021, I completed a Yoga Nidra teacher training with Kirsten Maccarthy.
My 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. I also was invited to present at conferences supporting new Canadians in Vancouver.
After teaching my first yoga class in my living to a handful of friends and teaching countless public yoga classes, I 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 my books have found their way into many ESL classrooms in 23 countries.
My journey as a linguist
Before moving to Canada, I graduated from the University of Manchester in the UK with a postgraduate certification in education. I taught German in Japan and English in a Secondary School in the UK. After making the leap to Canada, I taught English as a Second Language in Whistler and Vancouver.
While transitioning between countries, cultures and schools, I completed a degree remotely in Translations with the University of London, UK, which lead me to working in her home office as a translator for English and German for over 10 years.
As a lifelong mindfulness practitioner, I continue to deepen my 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 I actively maintains four languages: German, English, French and Spanish and practice my love of language through Meetups, book clubs and the French Toastmaster group of Vancouver.