Russians have actively taken to yoga to beat the stress of their cosmopolitan and fast lifestyles.
Hi-tech gyms and spas are not for them. What has captured the imagination of hard working fitness freaks in Russia is B.K.S. Iyengar's style of yoga, known the world over as Iyengar Yoga.
Take Natasha, a student at the Yekatarinburg State University and a part-time tourist guide. She says that Iyengar Yoga is extremly popular here and practicing dhyana, niyama and samadhi aasans are a real bliss.
Iyengar is considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world and has been practising and teaching yoga for more than 75 years. He has written many books on yogic practice and philosophy, and is best known for his books - Light on Yoga, Light on Pranayama, and Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. He has also written several definitive yoga texts.
Iyengar yoga centers are located throughout the world, and it is believed that millions of students practice Iyengar Yoga.
Iyangar yoga is propounded and promoted across Russia and former Soviet Union-ruled regions. It is a common sight to see thousands of Russians attend yoga workshops in metropolise's like St. Petersberg, Moscow and Yekatarinburg.
Although Iyengar Yoga is based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga, it uses different kinds of props like belts and blocks to perform various yogic postures.
Olga, a housewife here, says that she regularly attends yoga classes and is a student of Andry Lappa, one of the most renowned teachers of Iyengar Yoga in Russia.
Olga defines yoga as a way of achieving moral and spiritual satisfaction. She says that yoga is also seen as a method to heal the wounds of a turbulent past.
Irina, a veteran, says she offers prayers at the temple for the royal family that was massacred in Yekatarinburg in 1917-18 when the Communist Revolution was at its height. "Yoga helps a great deal to heal the depression," she says.
Former Russian President and now prime minister Vladimir Putin is also a follower of yoga.
Over 100 associations have blossomed to promote this science of religion. This global phenomenon is indeed spreading like a wild fire across Russia.