Malaysia's top Islamic body on Saturday ruled against Muslims practicing yoga, saying it had elements of other religions that could corrupt Muslims.
The National Fatwa Council's non-binding edict said yoga involves not just physical exercise but also includes Hindu spiritual elements, chanting and worship.
"It is inappropriate. It can destroy the faith of a Muslim," Council chairman Abdul Shukor Husin told reporters.
He noted that clerics in Egypt issued a similar edict in 2004 that called the practice of yoga "an aberration."
Though the council's decisions are not legally binding on Malaysia's Muslim population, many abide by the edicts out of deference, and the council does have the authority to ostracize an offending Muslim from society.
The Malaysia fatwa reflects the growing strain of conservatism in Malaysia, which has always taken pride in its multi-ethnic population. About 25 percent of Malaysians are ethnic Chinese and 8 percent ethnic Indians, mostly Hindus.
Recently, the council issued an edict banning tomboys, ruling that girls who act like boys violate the tenets of Islam.
The Fatwa Council took up the yoga issue after an Islamic scholar last month expressed an opinion at a seminar that it was un-Islamic.