Annie Martinello a community-based yoga teacher, guide & therapist with a strong intuitive sense of people’s needs and desires.
Since as long as I can remember I have had a deep connection to people and want to support others in finding peace & happiness within. My mother asked me when I was a little girl (as most parents do) “Annie what do you want to do when you grow up?” I must have been around 5 when I answered with “ I’m not sure exactly but I do know that I want to help others find happiness and peace in their lives.”
My mother and grandmother are mental health caregivers and have been since I was a little girl. While I was in my growing years they ran two group homes and I ran the show as group home mascot (this is how the patients saw me). One group home was for mental illnesses where some were born with their disabilities and some had developed over various traumatic events in their lives. The other group home was for Head Injuries usually due to traumatic accidents and/or substance abuse.
So from the age of 3, I had learned a lot about people, how we hold on to things and how they manifest in our body, mind, and spirits in so many different ways; how different personalities express themselves, how we recreate ways to cope with our difficulties and how we can all find a sense of peace and happiness if we are willing. There are so many different ways we can access positive health and wellness and it is available for all of us to tune into and share with others. I also believe that our body is a gateway for our health and well being and if we listen to its messages we can learn a lot about our selves and find ways to heal ourselves with great empowerment. The key is to learn how to listen and be present with ourselves and this is how we grow and better ourselves. Through my youth and into my early adult life people who needed guidance have always been drawn to me for help, and to support them through there struggles. I feel I have always had this gift to support and guide others to experience greatness in themselves and find balance in their lives (physically, mentally and emotionally).
I have many other stories I could share with you over tea sometime. This is where I believe my journey as a teacher, yogi, healer, a spiritual & physical guide started.
MY YOGA JOURNEY
I took my 1st official yoga class at the age of 20 in Whistler. Before that, I was a competitive gymnast for 10yrs, skier, hiker, gym junkie, volleyball player, runner, climber, love sports and moving my body was always a great form of release and learning tool for me. I tried yoga because I was looking to find balance, mental clarity, and peace in my heart. After that first class, I knew I was in for the long haul and that it would be a practice for life. After 5 years of practicing, I decided to embark on a 250hr teacher training at Moksana Yoga in Victoria BC where I was able to take 2 months off work and live & breath the practice of yoga every day. What a life-changing experience it was. I often recommend anyone to go for this kind of training even if you don’t wish to teach, just as personal development. In 2003 I received my first yoga teaching certificate and started teaching a few classes a week in Whistler. I actually started teaching yoga a year before I received this training but that is a story I would have to share with you in person sometime (it’s a good one). However, it did guide me in the direction I was meant to travel in this lifetime.
After a few years, I met my husband and we decided to go to travel together through Asia and South Africa. Once again those stories we will have to share over another tea date sometime. I came back and got pregnant with my 1st child which naturally guided me towards the study of prenatal and postnatal yoga. This is when I started teaching prenatal yoga (2005) and I must say there is something to be said about experiencing it in your own body while you teach and share with others. I feel that it was a time in my life where I really felt being fully “IN MY BODY”. Once my son was born I then chose to teach postnatal (mom & baby yoga). Now, both of these classes are still some of my favourite practices to teach in my community today. People in my community know me as the Yoga Momma.
After my second child was born I started feeling the need to explore another avenue of yoga practice. I wanted what I did (apart from mothering) to be my career. Teaching 1-2 drop-in yoga classes weekly wasn’t going to pay the bills. This is when I found a 2week 80hr Yoga Therapy Intensive being offered with Ajna Yoga in Victoria BC. My daughter was about 2 and I still needed to be close to her and my parents lived only 5min drive from the location of this offering. Once again after this 2-week life-changing training experience, guided me to work towards my full Yoga Therapy Certification which I completed in 2014. It took me a few years but it was the right training for me to embark on while my family life is a priority. I have completed since 2003 over 1000+hrs of yoga pieces of training in various directions and forms of practice. I continue taking educational workshops a couple each year to continue adding more tools to my yoga toolbox and to maintain my certification as a Yoga Therapist through IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapist) where the standards of yoga therapy and training are recognized worldwide. I am also now part of the Ajna Yoga Faculty teaching there Pre/Postnatal Teacher Training http://ajnayoga.ca/teachers/
I am currently registered through CYA (Canadian Yoga Alliance) as a CYA-ERYT500 and as of May 2017 received my C-IAYT Certification as a Yoga Therapist.
As a yoga teacher, therapist and student for life I let my heart lead me and guide the way. It’s how I practice, it’s how I teach, it’s how I parent, its how I am with my family, friends and all those I cross paths with in life. I feel I have always been a yogi, its how I approach and live life. Being conscious and mindful in all I do, try hard to be a good person and help others in need and be mindful of the care of others and our environment. When I learned about the 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga in my early twenties, I found it to be so familiar definitely not a foreign concept in my mind at all because it is how I live. The Yamas (Ahimsa – non-harming in thought, word and deed; Satya – truthfulness; Asteya – non-stealing; Brahmacharya – ‘right use of energy’; Aparigraha – non-greed or non-hoarding ) and Niyamas (Saucha – cleanliness; Santosha – contentment; Tapas – discipline or austerity; Svadhyaya – study of the self; Isvara Pranidhana – surrender to a higher being or contemplation of a higher power). These are pillars of how we all can live life in an honest and healthy way. Yoga is a way of Living!
I Honor and thank all of my teachers over the years. Those who have taught me in person through classes, workshops, teacher training and LIFE. My Mother, Father, Mamy, Sister (+her children), My Husband and My Children, My Dear Friends, Students in my classes, Jess Gogol, Aase Lium Hall, Leslie Young, Kashi Richardson, Michelle Kahan, Jules Payne, all the wonderful faculty members of Ajna’s Yoga Therapy School I have had the pleasure to practice and study with, All the teachers I had in my school years who gave me direction and skills to help me along the way, Peter my gymnastics coach for 10yrs, all those who I met along my many travels around the world on my own, with my husband and my children. Since you can’t always meet your teachers in person you can be guided through their amazing literature such as ” Living Your Yoga ” by Judith Lasater; “Wheels of Life” and “Eastern Body Western Mind” by Anodea Judith are all books I re-read, practice and reflect constantly through the teachings in these books. There are others but far to many to write down but I love and appreciate all the discoveries I have made so far.
Thank you for all your teachings and guidance that will live in my heart forever and I hear your voices reminding me of what is important in life and in my path of practice. When I feel distracted or swept off my feet I take a moment to step into Nature, Breath, Listen to my Inner knowing and the voices of my teachers echoing in my mind, which always brings me back to the here and now and to what is truly important, love for self and love for all. Our teachers are everywhere! We learn our life lessons and then we re-gift them back and teach others. I believe that we all have something to learn and share from one another each and every day.
My Story continues to grow as I do. My personal practice also changes and evolves as I do. My first Yoga Teacher trainer Jess Gogol 2002/2003 once said ” Our yogic path/journey in this modern life will consistently ebb and flow, changing from being on your mat every day with an asana practise for months or years and then maybe you leave your mat for a while and you do selfless service or you focus on being a parent or meditate on your breathing for 10mins a day, the key is to BE PRESENT and ACCEPT what your practice is and where it is at in each moment of your life, as it will forever keep changing and that is OK life itself is impermanent.”