A CONVERSATION WITH JANINE MARTINS

Janine Martins is a yoga and meditation teacher based in Grand Cayman. She creates personalized, private yoga experiences for her clients in their homes and in outdoor spaces.


Introduction

Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Janine Martins has undoubtedly picked up on her profound yet subtle wisdom that manifests itself through stories, insight, and acute observations. Following a conversation with Janine you may find yourself feeling more centered and focused as her positive vibes permeate everyone around her. 

After Janine’s ayurvedic morning routine I was able to ask her questions about her business, her personal yoga practice, as well as her life growing up in Cayman. Just as in everyday conversations, her responses were deeply thoughtful, eloquent, and uplifting. Keep reading to get your fill of inspiration and good vibes!

How and when did your yoga journey begin? 

In the winter of 2008 I was living in my university town. I signed up for a 7 week yoga course at a shop that sold yoga and activewear.  I was walking home after yoga one evening and realized all of a sudden that I was smiling ear to ear… blissful. I saw the snow on the ground and the people around me. I felt so deeply present in the moment. I didn’t realize at the time what the class was doing to me… but a while later, January 1st 2009 to be specific, I began my 1-week intro-pass to Bliss Yoga in Cayman.  I went every day for 7 days. I fell in love. One day before class I was bending down at the water cooler to fill up my bottle and suddenly thought, “I could totally be a yoga teacher.” The thought went out of my head just as quickly as it came. After that week I continued to practice yoga 6 days a week for about 8 months. I was obsessed, I couldn’t stop going. It made me feel so balanced. I found a routine, I went to work, I came home, I had my tea out on the balcony. I was meditating but I didn’t realize I was meditating. I was doing a lot of things naturally that I didn’t realize until years later. 

“I’m coming back here. I know I am coming back here. This is my calling.”

Flash-forward to 2016 — I left Toronto again and was back in Cayman. I knew I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I had experienced burnout and other traumatic experiences that had hospitalized me. My soul was crying out.  I asked myself what it was I really wanted to do. “I want to teach yoga.” Within 3 months I had found a place to do my teacher training, but my passport did not arrive on time so I had to find a new place. That’s how I ended up going to Bali and Singapore. Two weeks before I was supposed to go I got into a car accident and again, thought I wasn’t going to be able to go. But it all came together. I completed my yoga and my reiki training at the same time with Tirisula Yoga. We were in Singapore for 4 weeks and Bali for 10 days. In Bali while driving from the airport to the property, I experienced déjà vu multiple times. “I have been to this corner; I’ve seen that person’s face – I feel like I have been here before.” The Balinese people kept asking me where I was from; they thought I was Balinese. I thought, “I’m coming back here. I know I am coming back here. This is my calling.”

What kinds of yoga do you teach?

I try to be open to many different styles of yoga and utilize different practices. I don’t pigeonhole myself to one. The several I do draw on are hatha, vinyasa, kundalini, yin, and restorative. I only teach what I feel drawn to but I customize those experiences to my clients. Everyone is unique so what my client needs is not necessarily what I need.

“I customize that practice for my clients based on their physical and energetic needs and what else they are doing in their life. I have to take into account the whole person.”

What kinds of practices do you find your clients typically need?

Many of my clients are already practicing very yang-centered practices such as CrossFit or working out at the gym. They don’t need to do Ashtanga or the very disciplined practices…they already have that. I find that what a lot of my clients need to do is to slow down. They need to feel, need to breathe. It is not so much about moving fast and doing 50 poses, but about being in one pose and feeling it and breathing in it. It’s not only about the physical practice but on honoring what the other practices are. Meditation is a big part of what I offer my clients and I think very quickly a lot of clients discover that is what they need a lot more of than movement. 

I try to stick to the practices that are a bit more traditional and a bit more energetic-focused as opposed to “here’s a system… go do it.”  I customize that practice for my clients based on their physical and energetic needs and what else they are doing in their life. I have to take into account the whole person. This is what Ayurveda says: you are a whole person, you’re not just this sixty minutes. What else are you doing? What else is going on in your life? 

What practices do YOU need?

For me personally, I need a combination. I need a vinyasa flow or a power flow to get my energy moving. But I also need yin… I need restorative, slow practices. I am very breath-focused. So if you practice next to me in a class I will sound like the Darth Vader next to you. You will know I am there. 

Having been raised in Cayman, what about this island have you come to love most? What makes you most proud about being Caymanian?

One would be the physical place — the landscape. I love how beautiful it is…the birds, the iron shore, the sand, how different Northside is from West Bay. And then the history…The sand front yards and the conch shells that line the driveways. I love this culture of small family living and people being so connected to the ocean and so connected to each other. I love having these traditions of making up songs and taking care of each other.

“Even if they didn’t always have the words, they always really wanted to take care of everyone. That sense of community, that’s what I love so much about Cayman.”

My grandmother and great grandmother…they were poor black women, they didn’t have any education. They raised my mother on their own. But they still told her, “Anne, go to the big school.” That was their way of saying go to university. Go before you get married. Make sure you can take care of yourself. They were two unmarried women who would die spinsters with no property other than their shop and their home. And even in the shop my grandmother was giving away things all the time. She had lists full of things that she gave away that people owed her money for. And that is what she was known for — being a very kind woman. There was so much love for each other  Even if they didn’t always have the words, they always really wanted to take care of everyone. That sense of community, that’s what I love so much about Cayman. We might not always say it the right way. It may not always come out in the right tone. But there is really a sense of “we have each other’s back.” 

When conditions are safe to travel, what are your top three destinations you would like to visit?

Spain, Portugal, and Cuba!

Cayman Fast Five:

  1. Favorite coffee spot: Jessie’s Juice, Americano
  2. Most peaceful place: Northside, Barefoot Beach
  3. Go-to lunch spot & what you order there: Tillies – Vegan Kale Salad, Tostones, or Snapper Ceviche
  4. Day-off activities: Paddle boarding with Vitamin Sea, breakfast at Island Naturals (Acai Bowl), or a massage @ No. 11 Spa
  5. “Guilty pleasure”: “I don’t feel guilty about anything I eat or do — everything I do is something that is a gift to my body. If I want to indulge I give myself permission to indulge. I am making the conscious decision to do it.”


READ NEXT:

AN INSIDE LOOK: JANINE MARTINS

AYURVEDIC MORNING ROUTINE

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MEET KATE

 Hi, I’m Kate! I’m a Wisconsin native who traded her snow boots for flip-flops in May of 2020 when I packed my whole life into two suitcases and moved to the Cayman Islands with my partner, Bryan.  I created Island Diaries as a way to document my island adventures and share about the Cayman lifestyle. A Midwest girl at heart, I bring a fresh perspective to Caribbean life, serving as a guide for locals and tourists alike on all things Cayman Islands. Whether you are local to Cayman, planning to visit, or just curious about island life, I invite you to explore Island Diaries and let this site guide you on your next island adventure!

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