May 15, 2018

The Voices of Cayman’s Endless Summer

Introducing… Janine Martins, Yogi Extraordinaire

When you meet Janine Martins, you can feel the positivity and love radiating from her. Known for her adventurous spirit and style, the ‘barefoot and buzzcut’ yogi can be found around town either guiding a yoga class at the newly opened Cayman Yoga Club or teaching a sunset paddle board yoga session on the shores of Seven Mile Beach. And her impressive repertoire doesn’t end there. She also offers meditation, is a certified Reiki practitioner and will soon be setting off to Croatia in September to lead a Sail and Yoga retreat on a boat in the Dalmatian Coast.

Here we speak to Janine about her love for Cayman, her fondest summer memories growing up in paradise and learn more about the journey that got her to where she is today.

When asked why she loves living here, she admits that it is a hard question to answer because there are so many reasons. She explains: “It is the connection to the people, because Cayman is not just about the sea, the sand and the salt which is great but it is also about my grandfather in West Bay, my uncle and his house and boats which are still being built in his backyard, my mother out in Bodden Town – it is about all these people. It is also about the connection to the ocean. My family has a really strong connection to the sea. My grandfather was a captain, my uncle is a captain, my brother is the first man in my family to not be a captain but he free dives and works at a beach bar right next to the ocean! So ultimately it is just the sense of being connected to something bigger than yourself. It is the family around you, the ocean, the land and my family is really big into farming. There are 100-plus mature fruit trees on the property that I grew up on. Therefore, this connection means a lot to me and that is why I always look for that in my life. That is why I love being here because I always feel that sense of connection and I think that if you don’t you aren’t really living here – you are staying closed off in your own little space.”

It was not always sun, sea and sand for Janine. She spent four years working in Marketing for the finance sector in Toronto before realizing that her true calling involved healing and yoga. She elaborates: “You have to have the contrast sometimes. You need to have the rainstorm to see the rainbow. I had to sit at a desk for a long time. I had to have the 12-hour work days, live in the big city, take the one-hour subway commute each way and trudge through the snow. I got to the point where I realised that just because you are good at something, does not mean that you should be spending all your time doing it. At the end I decided to come home, that was in 2013 and I have been home now for almost five years. In those five years I have become yoga certified, I have done my Reiki 2 and I am hoping to be at the Reiki Master level next year.”

Janine loves what she does so much that she doesn’t consider it work. She says: “I don’t even call it a profession, it is not even what I do for a living, it is what I live. Yoga, meditation, Reiki and healing are fused into my being because it feels so natural and organic and these things allowing me to have an apartment and to eat is just a bonus. It is more of an offering for me and that is what I feel is a big part of my purpose in life, which is why it feels so good to be able to do these things. Being able to give really lights me up. I love being able to provide yoga to people and see how much one yoga class can shift a person. Or just one meditation session can open someone up to find a bit more softness and find the answers that they already had within themselves to the problems that they are going through. It just feels good because I wasn’t always here. But this is definitely my calling. The more feedback I get the more I know that I have to go down this path. We are constantly getting information from our environment and people around you that are reassuring you the directions you need to move. This is the path for me and I am going to keep on following it until I get direction otherwise.”

When asked what her fondest memory is of a summer’s day, Janine takes us back to a precious childhood memory of her family going out to Rum Point when she was around 10-years old. She describes: “Before Hurricane Ivan, Rum Point used to have a lot of conch shells. You would walk out into the water and there would be tons out there. There was one giant tree that was knocked over and you could see the roots exposed on one end. You could just climb up there; it was so beautiful. My dad took a picture of my mom, my brother, my sister and me on top of this tree. It was our ritual – we would all get in the car, drive up to Rum Point, bring a packed lunch and some fresh mangoes in the summer and we would hang out on the beach all day. We would have this fun time on the beach together as a family – climbing on trees, looking for conch, snorkeling and making some cracked conch in the water. We didn’t have to worry too much because it was shallow and there weren’t that many people there at the time. That night we all slept so soundly. Every time I saw that picture in my mom’s office when she was the Director of Tourism, I remember being at the beach on a Saturday – just us. It is just so simple but it captures the essence. It was just good old fashioned family time.”

When asked what her current state of mind is, she says it is trying to stay present in the moment. She explains: “Being here as much as I can. Because the more I am adding to my plate, the more it is easier to be 10 minutes, 10 hours or 10 years in the future. In the past when I was focused on getting my yoga certification and moving forward, the tendency was to look back and think of all the things that were holding me back, being angry that I couldn’t get there and feeling resentful. My thought process would be: I don’t have enough of this thing because of the thing that happened yesterday. But I have to stop and say to myself ‘no I have to be here.’ So my state of mind is trying to be more present and realising that no matter what, even if I do or do not have the things that I think I need or don’t need, I am still living in this moment, I am still breathing in this body with whatever resources I have right here and right now.”

When asked about her greatest extravagance, her answer is telling of her beliefs and her great appreciation for nature. She elaborates: “The clothes and products that I put on my body. If I am going to put it on my body or it is going to be absorbed into my skin – it won’t have animal products, it has to be cruelty-free and even better yet, vegan. It is really important for me that the things that I put on my skin have come from a sustainable source and does not involve cruelty to the world. I will pay money for that kind of stuff. And food of course! I hardly spend money on make-up, even less on booze, I don’t have a fancy car and I don’t have a big fancy house, but if it is going to go in or on my body, that is where I am going to spend the money.”

When asked whom or what is the greatest love of her life, hands down it is her family, including her beloved pets. She says: “My sister, my brother and my dogs. My sister and my brother have such a special place in my life because no matter what, they’ve had my back 150% and that has worked all three ways. We are like this triangle of love and we’ve had each other’s back through so much. My siblings have always been there for me. We have a bond that transcends anything that I can ever explain to you in this short period of time. If God forbid anything happened to my family and I was only left with my brother and sister, I would be fine. And my two dogs, Louie and Wally. Look into Louie’s eyes and you see God. Wally licks you like an angel would breathe or whisper in your ear. Those two dogs have taught me more about how it is to love without condition, they have travelled with us to Canada and back, they have seen snow and stairs (we live in a bungalow in Cayman), they have seen pavement and rabbits – and they are both rescues. Within two weeks they both came into our lives. They were meant to find us. They have taught us more about love, patience and kindness then probably anything else.”

To conclude, we asked Janine what her idea of perfect happiness is. What she said got us smiling: “Having a day when you feel like you can blossom from the heart out. And ending it by feeling like you can sink down to something. Like how a flower folds at the end of the day back into its self. And having a really good meal. Food is so important to me. I love nourishing ethnic food – Indian and Mexican are my favourites. You know that every bone in your body is smiling. And again at the end of that day that sinking back feeling and letting go. Finally, that sense of knowing: I am exactly where I need to be. I have everything I need around me. Everything is going to be fine.” To us, these are the perfect words of wisdom!

Make sure to look out for Janine’s beautiful smiling face around town. You can also visit her website to learn more about her and what she is doing.

In a nutshell:

What is your motto? Trust yourself; you already know the answer.
Brand of sunscreen: Alba Botanica (It’s Reef Safe and Mineral-based)
Sunset drink:  Local Coconut Water or a Mojito
Summer scent: Sandalwood and Grapefruit
Brand of sunglasses: Peripheral
Summer Book:  Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Song of the season: Kygo – Stargazing ft. Justin Jesso
Flips flops or bare feet: Bare feet!

Photo credit:
Jenna Leigh Photography. Outfits are from Activ Angels and the leggings are a brand called Niyama Sol. They are made from recycled materials.

More info on Janine’s upcoming Croatia retreat:
Taking place on Sept 22nd – 29th 2018
Sailing from Dubrovnik to Split (stopping in one port each day)
Daily Vegetarian Meals 
Daily Yoga and Meditation
Click here for more details and to book

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