A Russian prison is currently in a joyful mood after it reinstated yoga exercises for inmates, but you’ll laugh at why they were suspended in the first place.
According to Newsweek, yoga classes have been reinstated at the main Butyrka prison and a Moscow pre-trial detention center for women. The classes were first suspended after a theological professor wrote a document stating that yoga leads to homosexuality.
According to local news source Moskovsky Komsomolets, Professor Alexander Dvorkin’s document suggested that yoga could cause uncontrolled sexual arousal and lead to riots in detention centers. Then, a senator named Elena Mizulina used the document to get yoga classes at the two prisons suspended. Mizulina appealed to the Prosecutor General’s office, according to the paper.
That said, Valery Maximenko, the deputy head of the Federal Prison Service (or FSIN), has now reinstated the classes. He has also started qigong breathing exercises too.
Then while talking to Russian radio station Goorit Moskva (or Moscow Speaks), Maximenko noted how the classes had a “very positive” effect on inmates.
“We conducted a study, and among those people who practiced yoga, there was a sharp reduction in visits to doctors for help,” he said.
Photo by Indian Yogi (Yogi Madhav) on UnsplashIn a rare show of LGBTQ acceptance from a government official, Maximenko also noted how homosexuality isn’t illegal and how the rumor of yoga causing it was unfounded.
“The whole world is engaged in it [yoga], and no one is harmed by it and no one will be drawn to homosexuality. Even it did, we live in a democracy and everyone has the right to choose their own way,” he added.
In reaction to the reinstallment, Dvorkin has come forward to say his initial document was taken out of context. He says the document was more focused no religion than sexual orientation. He hypothesized that having instructors that follow Hinduism meant oppressing Christian prisoners.
Meanwhile, Senator Elena Mizulina says that Moskovsky Komsomolets’ reporting of her leading the suspension charge was “fake news.”