HAVANA, Oct. 9th Yoga is growing in popularity in Cuba, thanks to the efforts of one man, Eduardo Pimentel, a 72-year-old yoga teacher, who is credited with propagating the yoga practice in the country.
Though lacking in yoga studios, the capital Havana has a small but thriving community of yoga practitioners.
Cubans of all ages can be spotted in parks, rooms, and museums performing yoga, and a visitor from India cannot be faulted for almost thinking that he is back home in India. And the number of participants in Yoga activities in Cuba is growing every day.
According to information received from Indian Embassy in Havana, Cuba, Prof Eduardo Pimentel Vázquez, the President and founder of the Cuban Yoga Association, has been teaching Yoga in the South American country for 30 years and has trained 50 instructors.
This is a significant contribution to the sustainable growth of Yoga in Cuba, a country with a population of 1.13 crore.
In a recent interview, Prof Pimentel in Juventud Rebelde sheds light on how Yoga has become quite popular in the country. A chess player since the age of 12, his life changed when one day he has gifted a book on Yoga in 1972.
He started practising the Yoga techniques picturised in the book and has not stopped studying Yoga since then.
Prof Pimentel defines Yoga as a philosophy more than anything else. Yoga, he says, is of immense interest to the western world, especially its physical practice. He has taught Yoga lessons in the United States, Brazil, and Mexico.
In his last book published in 2018, “Tu session de yoga” (Your Yoga session) he quotes that Yoga is a preventive system and that it has been acknowledged as a part of the Traditional and Natural Medicine Department of the globally acclaimed Ministry of Public Health of Cuba since 1995.
Prof Pimentel believes that a single posture doesn’t make a yoga session. He recommends practising a series. Two of his favourite postures which help in releasing stress are ‘Trikonasana’ which helps to reduce stress and anxiety as well as relaxes the hormones and the head ‘shirshasana’ which helps in improving core strength and blood circulation.
Every year the International Day of Yoga (IDY) is observed in Cuba with considerable enthusiasm. In 2020 also, they observed the 6th IDY across the country, with the active involvement of the Embassy of India in Havana.
A little late in the day but Cubans are borrowing a leaf from their powerful neighbour, America, where yoga is
the fourth fastest-growing industry.