“I am just helping people to feel energized, that’s me”

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Casa del Mar Beach Resort & Timeshare offers you paradise: an oceanfront location on the white sands of Eagle Beach, the amazing aquamarine Caribbean ocean, wonderfully luxurious oceanfront, or poolside timesharing suites with a world of amenities like a spa, restaurant, and a fitness center. Three times a week there is a special lady providing the guests with chair yoga. Meet the dynamic Cuban Gladys Margarita Duarte!

It is evident that the guests love her_ as the full class of chair yoga walks away with a big smile on their faces after Gladys’ energy hour. “She is the greatest, we love her, and she is so genuine and good in what she does,” one of the guests says. The patio in front of the pool at Casa del Mar Beach Resort is flanked by trees and makes up for a peaceful setting where your perfect start of the day happens. “I have been working here five years now, and at this resort the guests are like friends. There is a strong connection. The energy is very positive and it rubs off,” Gladys explains.

She was the first to introduce yoga on a chair and it has been a big success. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, her class starts at 8 AM. “Being seated on a chair helps you focus on the movements you do with your core, arms, legs, any part you are activating and bringing attention to.” Yoga_ in her opinion_ is not only about relaxing, but also about strengthening and activating your body. “Everybody needs it. The way you do everything in life is a connection between mind and body. I help bring awareness how you position your body.” Her class is full_ and even men love to participate.

Funny detail was that she had a group of golfers in stating her yoga created a stronger golf swing. “I was positively surprised that day to see half my class filled with men and asked them what is going on. Is this some kind of bet,” she jokes.

Hooked on Yoga
Yoga came to her at a point in her life when she was looking for some deeper sense. “My friend gave me a yoga retreat in Costa Rica so I went, not knowing what to expect. In the beginning, I thought everyone was crazy as they talked about deeper emotions and all were sitting still and meditating, and they even were vegans. I was used to physical action and as a Cuban, we solve problems with a bottle of rum and let it out,” she laughs. But she turned around and yoga vibes captured her. “I got hooked, this is it, and I felt it.” She travelled to Thailand to learn Thai yoga, Thai massage, took pain management courses, studied the anatomy of the body and attended personal trainings. “I love to learn, I wake up every day as if I know nothing.”

Gladys took another approach to life because of the yoga and with that change she is also vegan now. “I was raised with the perspective that animals are below humans in rank. When I got a little dog that idea was changed. I loved her with all my heart and she was my baby. Sadly she passed away, but she did make that change of mind happen.” She explains that she feels animals now and it is impossible for her to eat them. “I have chosen a path in life that I need to follow. Yoga and meditation helped me find my direction.” Gladys also works as massage therapist at Clinical Massage & Spa residing in the Casa del Mar Beach Resort.

Sixteen years ago Gladys came to Aruba because of love. Her ex-husband is Aruban and fell in love with her while she was a dancer at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. “I never heard of Aruba, but I thought, it is an island in the Caribbean? What can go wrong?” She soon had two beautiful daughters and took time to be with them, but when they grew up she felt the need to do something again. “I picked up the dancing in hotel shows, but it became too hard to combine with the kids, so I got into managing the kids club. It taught me a lot, I like to dive into things and absorb knowledge.” She became a diving teacher, waitress and learned English that way. Gladys is a self-made woman, determined to learn about the world and its challenges. “I would say it is best to live life with awareness, consciousness. Let it flow, do not force, it will come.”q