WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Government officials in a central Russian city are banning yoga because they believe the exercise is a religious cult.

The Moscow Times reports sent letters to two yoga studios in Nizhnevartovsk to halt classes in city facilities “in order to prevent the spread of new religious cults and movements.”

Another letter refers to Hatha yoga as “inextricably linked to religious practices” and having “an occult character.”

The yoga studios rent out space at a stadium and a public meeting hall.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that Hatha yoga “emphasizes postures, breathing exercises, and meditation.”