Seriously?! In what could be the least namaste move of all time, officials in the central Russian city of Nizhnevartovsk have banned yoga, fearing that it could "spread new religious cults and movements."
According to the Moscow Times, the owners of at least two of Nizhnevartovsk's Hatha yoga studios have gotten letters from city officials telling them to stop their classes immediately.
The Russian newspaper Kommersant business daily had access to said letters.
One of the letters, addressed to the heads of the departments for physical culture and education, refers to yoga as "inextricably linked to religious practices" and as having "an occult character."
Hatha yoga classes today typically take a slower, more traditional approach to yogic breathing exercises and postures. I wonder what these officials would think of Vinyasa, then ...
Sure, yoga pants may seem like some kind of cult-like uniform, but it's quite a stretch to actually put the practice in that category. It seems like Nizhnevartovsk's leaders need to do, well, do a little yoga.