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History of Yoga in Cuba

Be a part of the Cuban Yoga Movement.

As early as the 1900’s theosophical ideas were beginning to emerge in Cuba, thanks to Spanish versions of Dr. Annie Besant books, such as “Introduction to Yoga”. Cuban libraries and bookstores started carrying Yoga related books shortly after. Works from Swami Vivekananda and Romain Rolland that discussed Bhakti and Karma Yoga, where available to the Cuban people.

By the mid 1950’s, groups were slowly being established to practice Hatha yoga and applying the teachings of Swami Paramahansa Yogananda. In 1957 the “self-realization Association” was officially established in honor of Yogananda.
In the early 1970’s, Hatha yoga was being enjoyed by many, thanks to Ramón Aristes Guinea, who taught for over a decade until his death. Eduardo Pimentel started training in 1971 and began teaching according to the B.K.S Iyengar method in 1980. The Cuban Yoga Association was officially founded in 1990 by Pimentel. Interest in Yoga grew rapidly and by 1994 weekly classes were being held with over 200 students at a time.

International Interest in the Cuban Yoga movement started to spread and workshops and festivals started taking place with world famous Yoga instructors and gurus. One of the most celebrated was the “Festival of Yoga and Music” in November of 1999, a Yoga exchange between the United States and Cuba. Eduardo Pimentel along with his students and the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers hosted this week long event. It was a fusion of different cultures, music, and spiritual healing methods. The event was a great success and drew big names to Havana, such as Krishna Kaur, Mary Paffard, Konda Mason, Chuck Miller, Jyoti Vernon, Mary Ezraty, Purusha Hickson and many more.

Currently the Cuba Yoga Alliance is a member of the International Yoga Federation, Latin American Union of Yoga, the Cuban society of bioenergetics and natural medicine, the Cuban ministry of health among others. There are 7 professors, 25 instructors, who have all had a three year intensive teacher training program and are lead by the founder and master Eduardo Pimentel.

Today, yoga lovers from around the world come to practice in Cuba, to enjoy the tranquility and serene sites and to be humbled by its beautiful citizens. You can be one of them too.


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