President Vladimir Putin vows he’s ready to add yoga, the ancient discipline of mindfulness and gentle stretching, to his repertoire of strictly macho sports.
MOSCOW — Maybe somebody told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin that yoga was all about the warrior poses. Or maybe it was just part of his Asian charm offensive.
Whatever the inspiration, Putin vowed Wednesday that he was ready to add yoga, the ancient discipline of mindfulness and gentle stretching, to his repertoire of strictly macho sports.
“I have tried many things, but never yoga, but it cannot fail to attract,” Putin told Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India during a meeting in the southern Russian city of Ufa, according to a transcript on the presidential website.
Putin expressed admiration for yoga after Modi thanked him for the enthusiasm with which International Yoga Day — which Modi helped inaugurate June 21 — was greeted in Russia.
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Putin, 62, has not been shy about sharing his athletic prowess with the world.
He holds a black belt in judo, has been photographed driving a Formula One race car and has worked assiduously to improve his hockey game since becoming president.
He also swims, once reportedly downed a charging tiger with a tranquilizer dart and has been photographed hunting and horseback riding while bare-chested.
Whatever is behind his embrace of yoga, Putin apparently missed the memo from the central Russian city of Nizhnevartovsk last month announcing that it was booting two yoga studios out of municipal space. City officials explained that they were doing so for reasons of public order, “to prevent the spread of new religious cults and movements.”