- Martina Bell -
Certified Yoga Teacher - Translator - English and French Teacher
Maîtrise en Éducation (MEd)
I help dedicated English teachers and students who are looking for interesting content - such as Yoga - to make their teaching and learning more interesting and relevant.
If you prefer teaching and learning English in a context rather than through isolated grammar drills, then you have come to the right place. Learning a language requires context, a direct connection to our life, that matters! Yoga is a practice which benefits our health and ability to manage stress. Therefore, Yoga provides the perfect context for studying English and does not only shape our understanding and ability to communicate in English, but also our health and wellbeing.
Yoga is instructed through the art of "cuing", i.e. verbal instruction. Usually, the Yoga teacher cues the action of a certain yoga pose, and the participants follow the cues by performing the actions to get into the pose. For everybody to practice the pose correctly, the teacher requires a very precise repertoire of vocabulary. In this way, any Yoga class is made up of language. This is why Yoga provides the perfect context for rich and transformative language learning.
I believe learning a new language is the heart of personal transformation. For example, I would neither have the same life nor the same friends had I never studies the three languages that I speak today or if I had never started to practice and teach Yoga. To put it differently, by studying English through Yoga, students will not only transform their English, but also learn about an ancient practice that might transform their well-being and maybe even life.
I graduated from my first Yoga Teacher Training in 2007. I had no idea how exciting the next eight years were going to be: as soon as the first ESLYoga class appeared on the schedule in the largest Yoga studio in Vancouver, I was featured on TV; I taught in almost every Yoga studio in Vancouver; managed my own Yoga spaces; collaborated with many non-profit organizations on programs for women new to Vancouver and from different cultural backgrounds; I was offered contracts with ESL schools and agencies who offer programs and events for students of English as a Second Language; I developed an ESLYoga early childhood program for educators from Korea; I co-facilitated mental health and mindfulness workshops with clinical therapists to help students manage post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); and I have been hired by the Crisis Center for Suicide Prevention to develop and pilot a program on active mindfulness practices in primary schools.
Most of my students in these programs had little to no experience with Yoga, so I got to see what benefits even just one Yoga class can make to their well-being and mood! Nobody ever complained about my classes being too difficult or too hard to understand. This was because I know how to adapt the practice of Yoga so that is culturally and linguistically sensitive to the needs of students who are learning a language. This is also the most exciting part of my work. Imagine how stressful it would be to be in a Yoga class that you only partially understand.
I haven't always been a Yoga teacher. For many years, I worked as a freelance translator and high school teacher for English in the UK. I have moved my life to a new country four times, experienced culture-shock and homesickness and gone through the ups and downs of cross-cultural adaptation four times. I have also learned three languages from scratch.
Now, I teach French Immersion in a primary school in Surrey, near Vancouver, BC. It fills my heart with joy knowing that my resources have found their way into English lessons in over 23 countries. I want to make sure that teachers and students have interesting content and context to teach and learn English. This is why I continue to grow ESL Yoga.