Mhai Yoga is the first yoga retreat hosting centre in Cuba and the only centre with a partnership with the Cuban Yoga Association. Our network with local entrepreneurs, yogis from coast to coast, and the Cuban people are what make up the fabric that we are so happy to be a part of. Our goal has always been to provide yogis the opportunity to see and experience Cuba with a yoga lens.
Mhai is not what people expect when traveling. It won’t be your marble floor, silk sheet, and bamboo bedspread retreat. However, we provide an authentic experience that connects yogis with the island lifestyle. The trick is to be open minded, trustful, and to go with the flow. The island culture, organic food movement, and white-sand beaches are a few of reasons you may feel like you never want to leave, but what will end up capturing your heart is the people.
The lesson to take home from Cuba is that happiness in the present moment is an active choice that Cubans make everyday. While here, you will see that with little, Cubans are always laughing, dancing, and making the most of every situation. Our hope is that after a week with us, you will too.
What we eat
The most common thing said of Cuba is that the food is bad and we are more than happy to prove otherwise. We want to change the all too common misconception about Cuban food because it simply could not be further from the truth. Cuba is one of the world’s biggest cultivators of organic produce, and this is attributable to the lack of access to fertilisers and pesticides
When the Soviet Union fell, Cubans had to act quickly as they were lacking many food staples. Their untold creativity coupled with a fierce social awareness has created an organic food movement that not only promotes pesticide-free produce, but upholds it as the heart of a healthy people. Small, urban, organic gardens (huertos) kept springing up across the island until huge swathes of urban land (organoponicos) were officially dedicated to sustain entire cities. Today, there are over 35,000 urban gardens throughout Cuba that supply over 90% of its produce.
When you support these kinds of initiatives it goes much further than supporting a local farmer – you drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Even today, food is not easily accessible in some parts of Cuba. To uphold our commitment to reducing Mhai’s carbon footprint, we only work with local farmers to source all of our produce. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we can pluck it right from our garden behind the kitchen.
What is Mhai
Mhai, in Arabic, means water. At Mhai, we strongly believe in the importance and symbolism of water in our lives. Water makes up most of our bodies, and it covers most of this planet. Most importantly, we look to water as a reminder to let go of what can’t be controlled.
In life, we can’t really control much except for how we react to things. Going with the flow ties into expectations within Cuba: in a place where a lot of stuff is outside of our control, if we remember to be still like water and move with the current – and that doesn’t mean we accept everything with our hands behind our back – we can learn to embrace an attitude that is easy going. With this approach to life, you free yourself of the weight that comes with expectation. We hope that a week with us at Mhai will instill within you this kind of philosophy.