Shantell Martin

Interview with Editor in Chief of NY YOGA LIFE Iana Velez

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Are there moments in your life that you can recall when you suddenly felt awakened? Moments of clarity or inspiration that created an impact on your life?

I’m not sure I’d use the word awakened for myself – for me the word seems like a far-away destination. There have definitely been profound moments in my life where I discovered that I have been shutting off huge percentages of my senses, like the first time I did a 10-day silent meditation retreat in a remote town in Japan. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, so I totally dove into the experience. I found that after about eight days my hearing got so much better and I realized that I have dialed down my hearing just to survive. I thought wow, we suppress our senses that much to live in cities, and to get by.

A phrase that appears repeatedly in your work “Are You You” sounds like an invitation to awaken. What does the phrase mean to you?

ARE YOU YOU comes originally from thinking about the words WHO ARE YOU a lot. The words can be intimidating and stop us in our path. But what if we start to see questions like “who are you” in a new light. For example, what are the first three letters of who are you? They are W.A.Y., so now let’s look at the question as: how do I find my way in life ? how do I find my way today? what tools do I have at hand to find my way? What if I see myself going full cycle and seeing this question as ARE YOU...YOU?! Now this new phase becomes a seed, an adventure, an inspiration.

I loved the description of your work as “a meditation of lines” can you say a bit more about that?

Drawing for me is meditating – You need to allow the lines to flow, it requires you to be focused and present, while at the same time taking a back seat to the work that is unfolding.

Do you have a yoga or traditional meditation practice?

It’s interesting since that almost implies that drawing is not a traditional form of meditation. We have been drawing as long as we have been doing many other things in our time on our planet. We would benefit from seeing meditation as focus, and as a tradition that can branch into all areas of your life. That it can be integrated into work and play and practice. Meditation is EVERYWHERE, not just in yoga classes. Yoga means Union – make union and tradition and practice in the life you have and lead and let that lead you to where it chooses to.


Artists you admire (any kind, musicians, etc):

Ann Hamilton, Seinabo Sey, Niky Niky

Social media: friend or foe?

Friend. Laksmi_hedemark

One piece of advice you’d give to your younger self:

Create your own opportunities by using what you have access to.

NY or London?

Would not be fair to choose. The London I left 14 years ago is a very different place.

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