targets yoga sessions as 'cult'
ban on yoga
officials have banned yoga in the central city of Nizhnevartovsk
in an effort to counteract 'occult practices'.
least two studios - the Aura and Ingara, where Hatha yoga
is practiced - have reportedly received letters from Nizhnevartovsk
officials, according to The Moscow Times.
two studios hold their classes in a city-owned stadium and
a public meeting hall called Samotlor. Officials are banning
Hatha yoga courses from being taught in municipal buildings
in an effort to curb the popularity of new movements and religions
cults in Russia.
of the letters from Nizhnevartovsk's first deputy head Sergei
Levkin to the head of social and youth policy, Marianna Parfenova,
requests that she take every step available to prevent Hatha
yoga from being taught in the stadium.
departments for physical culture and education reportedly
received a second letter discussing the 'occult character'
of Hatha yoga.
yoga is the most widely practiced type of yoga in America
and focuses on meditative breathing and asanas, or poses.
Pimenova, the teacher at Ingara Yoga, said to Russian news
outlet Kommersant: "Everyone is shocked and already giggling
as we are compiling documents to prove that we are not at
all a sect but a health course."
December 2014 India launched an international resolution to
the UN General Assembly, to make 21 June international yoga
day and Russia was one of 177 co-sponsors. The Russian &
Indian Report said upward 33,000 people participated in the
event, spanning 60 regions and 80 cities across Russia.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the UN General Assembly
27 September 2014, "Yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient
Indian tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought
and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man
and nature and a holistic approach to health and well-being.
Yoga is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness
with ourselves, the world and nature. By changing our lifestyle
and creating consciousness, it can help us to deal with climate