Gardenia Santos – Yogardenia

by Helena Jose

Gardenia Santos started her passion for Yoga and Bartending at the same time. When she moved to Miami, the Bar Scene gave her an opportunity to grow but also took more of her time.  When COVID-19 demanded to close the Bars, she felt the need of supporting the industry with her Yoga Classes. Today, she’s running weekly Yoga Events and Private classes.  

When did you start your bartending career?

I started about ten years ago in Fort Hood, Texas. When I first started, it was more because of the money. But then I ended up falling in love with the concept of serving others. I began to understand more about the industry. I decided to invest more of my time into it create my own cocktails, and learn more about different types of spirits. 

How did your journey as a Yoga instructor begin?

I was married to a Sergeant First Class. He was always working and being deployed. I started filling up my time by taking yoga classes and wanted to understand more about what was going on with my body and all its changes. I took the 200TT AT Breath and Body Yoga in Austin, Tx. After that training, I knew my life had changed in so many aspects. For me, knowledge is power. I took as many certifications as I could like 300TT at wanderlust, SUP yoga, and many more. During all the training, I was still bartending (to be able to pay for them) I was bartending, teaching yoga, and studying. Love and gratitude have been real for both worlds. 

Gardenia 9How do these passions inform one another?

I moved to Miami after a very difficult divorce. I moved here by myself. I did not know anyone. I just came with hopes and dreams and lots of faith. Every job I applied to as a bartender called me back, but I decided to take the job with the Falsettos Companie Ariete Hospitality Group. It was supposed to be part-time, but that didn’t happen. Bartending in Miami is a whole other level. I had to keep up with the industry. The next thing I know, I was already the General Manager of one of the most popular Craft cocktail bars in South Beach, The Scapegoat.  At The Scapegoat, I leveled up my skills with training and certifications such as BarSmart. BarSmart is where I met so many wonderful and very talented people who supported me and who still support me here in Miami. I didn’t have time to teach yoga. Then Covid-19 happened and all I could think about is how can I now give back to all these people who have been supporting me here in Miami?  Yoga was the answer. I started giving live classes online for free on my Instagram. I was also teaching free classes on Zoom. I wanted people to feel supported and loved, even though there were so much negativity and uncertain things going on. I wanted them to have a positive outlook, something to help them escape. Then a beautiful friend of mine, Juliana Arango from Bacardi USA, called me asking to do a yoga session at the beach. We had a conversation about it. Our first Yoga class was just for friends but it felt so good. We wanted to share with others.  20 people signed up for the next class. That’s when Yoga Happy Hour, Yoga Brunch, and all the other events started coming into place.

What kind of Yoga classes do you offer and who are they targeted to?

I offer all types of Yoga classes: Yoga for beginners, Chair Yoga, PTSD Yoga, Aqua Yoga, SUP Yoga, Guided Meditation, and many more. These classes are all focused on your breath; We call it Vinyasa Flow. It is a movement with consciousness, one breath one movement. The target audience is everyone who is looking for a better understanding of their body and who wants to have a better connection with their inner self.

What can we expect from your classes? Gardenia 5

I always start all my classes with intention. Intentions set us up for a better connection with the present moment. I finish the flow with a little guided meditation. We are offering positive energy, uniting us to what exists within the NOW, the present. At our events, we offer all that I just mention plus it’s a different way to connect. Rather than sitting at the bar and having a cocktail, you can enjoy one hour of yoga. You can also gather with friends, connect with yourself and others, and still enjoy a nice low abv cocktail afterward. In each class, I like to leave people feeling better than when they walked in, so I think that’s what stands out with my yoga class or events.

How has COVID-19 affected you personally and professionally?

Covid-19 has helped me come back to my purpose and align me with what matters which is helping people believe in themselves.

Where do you see yourself next?

I see myself in my own space teaching and helping people with yoga. I see myself teaching at my own yoga retreats and creating more events with other people that have the same mentality to help and outgrow people’s fears. I want to spread more love and light into our community because right now, we need to unite the good ones to make sure the negativity has no more room to grow. 

Where can we find your next classes?

You can always find all my classes and events at my IG @yogardenia. 

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