Hi there! my name is marty.
And this is my story.
As you may already know, I’m an artist, intuitive guide and yoga teacher with a passion for living a creative, heart-ledge life. But how did I find my way to living a multi-passionate life I truly love? It’s been a journey, to say the least, one that’s required a lot of surrender and healing. And it’s been worth every step.
Born in the southeastern United States, I recently returned to my southern roots, and now live on the North Carolina coast. In many ways it feels as if I’ve finally come home, but most importantly I’ve come home to myself and the kind of life I’ve been longing to live.
I started my healing journey in 2001 at the age of 22, when a back injury during a summer in Alaska led me to discover massage therapy and yoga. I flew back to the southeast just days after 9/11, and felt the anxiety I’d struggled with since childhood return. I turned to yoga and found refuge from my personal storm.
My early experiences with massage and yoga were profound. I refocused my life and returned to college to study massage therapy and photography. For the first time, I felt had a sense of direction. I had rediscovered my creative side, and felt inspired by my newfound interest in health and wellness.
I found my way to the Midwest in 2002, moving to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There I completed massage therapy school and enrolled in my first yoga teacher training program. I’d dreamed of owning my own business since I was a little girl, and opened a wellness studio in 2003, at the age of 24. At first, I was teaching yoga as a supplemental service for my massage therapy clients, but—much to my surprise—I fell completely in love with teaching. My yoga classes began to fill, and I began offering retreats and workshops. I dedicated the next seven years to serving my community as a full time yoga teacher.
But throughout those seven years, the anxiety and depression was still there, bubbling under the surface until I could no longer ignore what was stirring inside me. I poured myself into my work, keeping myself busy to suppress what I was feeling. Eventually, the pressure of running a business and tending to personal life struggles led me to close my yoga studio in 2008. Shortly afterward, I entered an experience that I can only describe as a dark night of the soul.
For the next 16 months, I was virtually paralyzed by intense anxiety and panic attacks. My depression hit an all time low and I barely found the will to go on. With the support of two incredible intuitive healers, I slowly found my way through—and underneath it all, I heard a calling.
It’s my belief that this calling was behind the anxiety and depression. I’d learned in childhood to stuff down this calling, and I’d stuffed it down so far and for so long that things got very, very dark. This calling was the real me, crying out to live a life that was true to me. And this understanding was the breakthrough I needed to heal at a deep level and create a life I truly loved. I had to listen deeply to what was happening inside of me and follow my heart on a journey home to me.
I was 30 years old, and for the first time, I actually wanted to live. I was ready to rebuild my life and start living on my own terms. I had no idea what that would look like yet, but I knew it couldn’t be the way I’d been living. My entrepreneurial spirit was still there, but I didn’t know what that looked like for me anymore. All I knew was I didn’t want to own another yoga studio, and it was time to write a new chapter in my life.
At the beginning of 2010, I left the U.P., leaving behind a community that I still deeply love and appreciate to this day, the community sparked the creation of my yoga podcast. I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and then work led me on to Milwaukee. I taught yoga classes and workshops throughout the Midwest. Those two years were a whirlwind, and I let myself get pulled back into old habits of people pleasing and over working, and again lost touch with my own heart. At the end of 2011, I found myself at another crossroads. I had just returned from India, broke off my engagement to an abusive partner and once again, started over. I remember sitting in a temple on New Year’s Eve and making a commitment to myself to only do things that bring me enjoyment from that moment forward. This was a huge turning point that completely changed the trajectory of my life. I started asking myself, what is it that I really want?
I had met my now partner in 2011, and we’d cultivated a friendship playing kirtan music together. In early 2012, we found our friendship had blossomed into something deeper. Love had grown between us. Saying yes to that love opened a path for us to serve our community together.
We toured the Midwest, leading workshops and concerts and growing a community. I returned to my love of art and began creating gemstone mala beads and painting for the first time since high school art classes.
It was upon returning from leading our second retreat to tropical Costa Rica that it hit us—it was time to leave the Midwest. Our urge to travel more and to leave the deep chill of long winters behind motivated us to set out on the road in search of a new place to call home.
At the end of 2014, we purchased a well-loved RV (aka Milly) and purged over 90% of our belongings and took to the road with no jobs and no destination in mind. And so we offered our yoga and music at yoga studios and festivals across the country—six times across to be exact. (See how our life on the road adventure unfolded via our mutual Instagram account, @lilakirtan.)
We found our way, but most importantly we found out what we really wanted. After two incredible years on the road, we put Milly in storage with my family in South Carolina and spent a year in the upstate figuring out where we wanted to put our roots down again.
During that time we taught workshops and led kirtan concerts on the southeast coast, and on one of those tours we revisited Wilmington, North Carolina, a city we’d felt a strong connection to a year earlier. And on that visit it was clear—this was our new city. Everything just felt right, somehow.
My dream of living on the coast was finally coming true! A part of me couldn’t believe it. For the first time in my life I was moving to a city simply because my heart wanted to be there. My joy had led me here.
We rang in 2018 in Wilmington, and just two months after settling in to our new home, we found out we were expecting a baby. This was news we had hoped for and couldn’t have been happier. My heart felt full and I was ready to become a mother.
In November of 2018, I gave birth to my daughter. She is the personification of my joy, and I know she wouldn’t be here had I not discovered how to live a heart-led life years ago.
But the truth is, I had this heart-led version of me inside all along. It just took some digging—and willingness—to uncover her. I dug deep using tools I found along the way including yoga, breath work, meditation and creative practices.
These tools I discovered over the past 20+ years are the same ones I share with you on this site. I’ve distilled them into easy to follow programs and courses that will support you in the ways that matter most. I’m so glad I have these tools in my life, and it’s my honor to share them here with you.
Let’s get started!
If you’re looking for my professional bio for a booked event, you can find it here.