CELEBRATE YOURSELF — Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your hard work & celebrate your accomplishments.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Miriam “Mimi” Ghandour, Founder of Mimi Yoga, an online global yoga platform.
Miriam “Mimi” Ghandour, is a 200 RYT certified yoga teacher, founder of Mimi Yoga, and mother of two. Born in Paris and raised in Saudi Arabia, she now calls Miami, FL home.
Mimi’s background is an interior décor and prior to founding Mimi Yoga, she co-founded a successful bakery as enjoys the sweetness of life. When life presented challenges, Mimi turned to yoga which she credits as changes her life. She went on to become certified and has since founded of the international yoga platform Mimi Yoga. Mimi Yoga has members from more than 50 countries around the world. She shares her life and her experiences in an authentic and inspiring way and has built a thriving community online where she inspires and holds space for transformation.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I was born in Paris and grew up in Saudi Arabia. I studied interior design in college and worked in that field for a little bit before becoming a mother of two beautiful kids. After the birth of my second child, we realized that she was suffering from a developmental disability and it was my commitment to getting her the best medical care that made me relocate my family from Saudi Arabia to Miami, Florida eight years ago, where I now live. During this difficult transition of moving to the United States and handling my daughter’s medical treatments, I became engrossed in yoga and the peace and clarity it provided me. I then became a certified yoga instructor and started teaching at studios all over Miami and building a community on Instagram. Once the pandemic hit in 2020, I decided to make the leap from teaching in-person to expanding my yoga community by launching my online platform MimiYoga.com that now has members from all over the world.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
When the pandemic hit last year, people from all over the globe were in the same situation of social distancing and lacking human connection and feeling of community. I knew that I personally missed my yoga community and seeing their smiling faces every day, so that’s why I knew I had to launch Mimi Yoga as a platform online and expand my yoga community to include amazing students all over the world. This situation taught me that we are nothing without community and that there is always a way to find your community, online or in person.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The biggest mistake I’ve made career wise was letting self-doubt and fear hold me back from starting Mimi Yoga sooner. I had an idea of expanding my yoga teaching to online students in the back of my head for a long time before I was able to believe in myself enough to take the leap of faith necessary to begin. Launching Mimi Yoga has made me realize the importance of everyone, but particularly women, believing in themselves and their abilities, and leaning on the amazing talents of the individuals in my yoga community when I encountered aspects of my business that I was unfamiliar with.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have found it very important to have a mentor in your career and more specifically a mentor that is someone who you truly aspire to become like. Although I also had several people who I viewed as mentors, but later came to resent my success, I have been lucky enough to find several mentors who truly want me to succeed. One specific mentor who has guided my path is Cathy DeFrancesco, founder of Sol Yoga. I vividly remember the moment Cathy gave me a chance to teach at Sol Yoga when it first opened and she looked in my eyes and said “Mimi, I believe in you and you are going to change the world.” I was truly inspired by Cathy’s confidence and belief in my ability. Recently, when I told Cathy that I am currently in the process of opening up a physical Mimi Yoga Studio in Miami, Cathy was extremely supportive and told me it was going to “explode,” rather than viewing my studio as a competitor to her studios. For that, I will always be eternally grateful to Cathy.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
My #1 priority and goal for my business and my life is to keep building and growing community, which I’ve been able to do through yoga. When you build community, you help people help one another, which has multiplying effect. I think yoga is a great tool to use to build community because yoga is a safe practice where you can be your most authentic self and open yourself up to be vulnerable to those around you. I have made lifelong friends through my yoga practice and I want to help others do that as well.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS — Stay in your lane, don’t concern yourself in other’s business.
- THERE IS ENOUGH SUN FOR EVERYONE — Don’t get jealous of other’s success, celebrate other’s success! We can all win.
- CELEBRATE YOURSELF — Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your hard work & celebrate your accomplishments.
- MOVE EVERY DAY — Even a 20-minute yoga flow or walk around neighborhood will benefit you because movement is medicine.
- HYDRATE — You can never drink enough water! Drink, drink, drink!
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
It would be Mimi Yoga and our global community! I feel truly honored every morning to wake up and be able to dedicate my life’s work to building community by spreading the gift of yoga with people across the world.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- You are not a prophet in your own land — you can’t rely on your own friends and family to sustain your business.
- It’s not a one-woman show — you can’t do it all alone! Build a trustworthy team around you.
- You will have a breakdown & it will all be okay — A few months after I launched Mimi Yoga, I had a breakdown and wanted to quit. Right when it gets hard, that is when the growth is happening. KEEP GOING!
- Resting is as important as working — Make time for you! Sleep is essential.
- Girlfriends are the secret to life — Socialize with your girlfriends regularly. It’s easy to get caught up in roles such as mother or wife and let your friendships erode over time. Make the effort to meet your girls for shopping or cocktails- you will never regret it!
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health is most dear to me as I have had close family members struggle with mental health and experienced my own mental health challenges throughout my life. It is just as important to take care of your mental health as your physical health, which is something that can be easy to forget in today’s fast-paced world.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
I post to my Instagram stories several times daily because it is one of my favorite ways to communicate with the Mimi Yoga community.
Thank you for these fantastic insights!