Question: I’m going to be in Havana later this year for a few weeks. Can I find a yoga class while there?
Answer: Since the 1950s, Hatha yoga has been practiced in Cuba, and in 1957 followers of Swami Paramahansa Yogananda founded the devotional Asociación de Autorealización (Self-Realization Association), which is still active.
Today, a national yoga television program coordinated by Eduardo Pimentel Vázquez, a well-known yoga master in Havana, has built up a large number of Cuban followers for this age-old discipline going back to the 2nd century BC in India. In addition, Pimentel and his wife, Elsa Hermida, have their own studio “Vidya Yoga” (Yoga Knowledge) in Havana where they teach yoga to all interested individuals. Pimentel, who began his training in Hatha Yoga in 1971, has been teaching since 1982.
In 1990, the Asociación Cubana de Yoga (Cuban Yoga Association), which is a member of the Latin American Yoga Union, was founded. Dedicated to teaching yoga at the community level, in 2007 it boasted some twenty-five instructors (five of them professors) with local branches in eight of Cuba’s provinces. At that time, Pimentel – who is the president of the Cuban Yoga Association – estimated that some 12,000 people in Cuba had taken three-month yoga courses, and there have been workshops, conferences and numerous meditation retreats.
Below, you will find the contact information for Eduardo Pimentel and Elsa Hermida. Both speak English.
Eduardo Pimentel Vázquez and Elsa Hermida
Studio Vidya Yoga
La Rosa #610, Apt. # 2, entre Boyeros y Ermita
Municipio Plaza de la Revolución, Ciudad de La Habana, 10600, Cuba
Telephone (537) 870 9237
At their studio, Pimentel and Hermida teach basic, intermediate and advanced courses, as well as private classes and yoga for women. Practices include postures (asana), breathing techniques, relaxation, meditation, intensive training, special workshops, and lectures. If you do a google on their names, you will find additional information in both English and Spanish.