A historic first visit by Vishwaguru Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda is under way this week in Cuba, where he is receiving a warm welcome.
For the second decade, the teaching and practice of Yoga in Daily Life (YIDL) is growing in Cuba due to the tireless efforts of Vishwaguruji's disciple, Sadhvi Yamuna.
The official invitation for Vishwaguruji's visit to Cuba and to Holguin was extended by the Cultural Ministry of Cuba, the cultural center in Holguin called Casa de Iberoamerica, and the University of Holguin, to provide education in the science of YIDL.
In the past decade, YIDL has spread to many social and economic sectors in Cuba, especially to educational institutions. It is practiced by all ages, including children, college and university students, and seniors. The practitioners are also embracing the YIDL practice of protecting the environment and planting native trees. However, this was their first opportunity to experience directly the love and wisdom of the author and master of Yoga in Daily Life.
Upon Vishwaguruji's arrival at the airport in Havana, he was welcomed by Ministry of Culture officials with the protocol befitting a distinguished visitor, and graciously provided with transport, accommodation, and an escort.
After traveling to Holguin, accompanied by YIDL teachers and organizers from Europe, he was again greeted warmly, by a large group of YIDL practitioners.
At a welcoming ceremony the next day, Vishwaguruji and the audience heard traditional Cuban music, presentations about cultural history, and a special poem written by a Cuban practitioner. Vishwaguruji encouraged all in the audience to learn about the benefits of yoga. He emphasized the benefits of yoga for health, harmony, concentration, and inner peace. He said Yoga in Daily Life is unity of body, mind, and soul.
He said also that he admired how perfectly disciplined the Cubans were in their practice of YIDL.
Vishwaguruji also noted that the tireless work of the Prime Minister of India, the Honorable Narendra Modi, with the United Nations resulting in the declaration of the International Day of Yoga on the 21st of June.
The following day's program was attended by Cuban national government and Holguin district officials. In the program, the Dean, faculty and students of Holguin University presented a moving tribute to Vishwaguruji, expressing appreciation for his presence and for the system of yoga that was improving so many lives. Several students, some with tears in their eyes, described how YIDL helped them overcome obstacles in their studies, their health, and their families, and thanked the master for spreading his teachings to Cuba.
The university officials presented him with an award recognizing the worldwide impact of YIDL's humanitarian, environmental, and world peace activities. Following the presentation, at a press conference with Cuban reporters, Vishwaguruji answered questions about the worldwide extent of YIDL's activities and the simplicity and scientific basis of the system.
During the remainder of his visit, the cultural exchanges will continue with an introduction to ancient Hindu traditions and culture. The audiences will also be invited to experience the practices of Yoga in Daily Life. The YIDL teacher trainees will have the opportunity to take the teacher certification exam.