Is yoga a tool of the devil?
Officials in the West Siberian city of Nizhnevartovsk think so. Marianna Parfena, head of the city’s social and youth policy, has sent letters to public and private yoga studios ordering them to cease yoga instruction and classes.
She wrote that she’s doing so “in order to prevent the spread of new religious cults and movements,” according to United Press International.
The move is strange because yoga is popular in Russia and in the area around Nizhnevartovsk, which is in one of the country’s major oil-producing areas.
Asked about the situation, Jim Yax, owner of Hot House Yoga in the West End, says that the idea that yoga is a tool to spread dangerous cults simply isn’t true.
“In this fast-paced world of emails and Twitter, people need to have time to slow down and focus internally,” he says.