Sad news for yoga fans living in the Russian city of Nizhnevartovsk. Government officials are trying to stop people from engaging in the practice of Hatha yoga, citing it as having “an occult character.” That downward facing dog pose you’re doing? Total sorcery. Hatha yoga originates from Hinduism and is used to increase strength, stamina and flexibility.

Two yoga studios in the city have received letters from officials asking the centers to cancel classes “in order to prevent the spread of new religious cults and movements,” reports the Moscow Times. Another letter, which was sent to the heads of the city’s departments for physical culture and education, refers to Hatha yoga as being “inextricably linked to religious practices.” If they think yoga is cult-like, there probably won’t be any SoulCycle classes offered any time soon, either.


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