A teacher, speaker, and mentor, Martel is known for using her story to help people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, much like herself. Her work and words guide others in reducing stress, reclaiming power, and reestablishing a loving connection to the self and others.
When I was 13 years old, I was told that I had something called Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic eye disease that was making it difficult for me to see at night and in my periphery. It was also the reason that, as life went on, the world around me would get dimmer and my visual field would get smaller and smaller.
I spent the following decade in an exhausting marathon of disassociation, denial, and reactiveness. Most importantly, I became an expert at subconsciously crafting problems – ones that I could solve or mend – to distract myself from the real problem of going blind – one I couldn’t fix. From eating disorders to turbulent relationships with family and friends, I lashed out, put up walls, and refused to reflect on the truth. It was just too hard. Depression, anxiety, and constant stress seemed easier.
But when I hit the quarter-century mark, I realized that there was a subtle glowing flame inside of me. I did everything I could to dig deep and bring that light to the surface. I finally began to address how stress was controlling my mind, degrading my body, and contagious to those around me. I slowly became self-aware and conscious of the things that would trigger my anxiety and depression – different responses but both forms of stress.
With the help of teachers near and far, I trained myself to slow down the time between sensory inputs, and mindfully reflect before I reacted. And in doing so, I was able to accept my condition, break old patterns and create space for new, healthy ones. I overcame the chaos of my mind, which happened to settle a lot of chaos in my physical body, too.
Knowing that my story is like so many others, I recognized my calling to help people like me. Those faced with overwhelming stress due to hardship and limitations. Those who feel stuck with something they didn’t ask for, stuck in a situation that disturbs their peace, or just plain stuck. For those looking to let go of fear, anger, shame or sadness. It is my purpose to help you stop defining yourself by your problem, your illness or disability, and start defining yourself as the eternal source of love that you are.
300-hour yoga teacher training | Gopi Kinicutt, Govardhan Ecovillage, India
200-hour yoga teacher training | Jai Pure, Montclair, NJ
Level 1 restorative yoga teacher training | Ann Saffi Biasetti, Saratoga Springs, NY
Self-Reg foundations 1–4 | The MEHRIT Centre, Ontario, Canada
Intuitive wellness coach certificate | Deanna Nagel
MBA – Sustainable business | Green Mountain College, Poultney, VT
BA – Environmental studies, studio art | Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY