April 6, 2015

Court Rules Yoga Classes Not a Threat to Religion in Schools.

yoga in school

According to Stephen and Jessica Sedlock of San Diego, teaching yoga in schools as an alternative to regular gym classes not only promotes Hinduism but discourages Christianity.

The argument for how Christianity is threatened by some light stretching and balance postures remains unclear. It could be all that slow, steady breathing, or the way they focus on being in the moment or even the encouraged relaxation, but the issue remains an enigma.

Unfortunately for the Sedlock’s, the appeals court in San Diego did not agree with this rather presumptuous claim and stated that, “While the practice of yoga may be religious in some contexts, yoga classes as taught in the district are, as the trial court determined, ‘devoid of any religious, mystical, or spiritual trappings.”

In fact, according to Reuters, “by the start of the 2012-2013 school year, the Sanskrit and Namaste had been eliminated from the program, and poses had been renamed with ‘kid-friendly’ descriptions, poses now called gorilla, turtle, peacock, big toe, telephone and other terms, according to testimony. The lotus pose, for example, is called criss-cross-apple-sauce in Encinitas schools.”

With so many cuts to the traditional school programs like gym, art and music classes the additional option of yoga classes seems like a huge step forward in promoting healthy and creative outlets for our children.

It’s too bad that the Sedlocks see the new classes as a threat rather than a perk of living in the progressive state of California.

According to Fox News, attorney Dean Broyles, who represents the Sedlocks, stated, “No other court in the past 50 years has allowed public school officials to lead children in formal religious rituals like the Hindu liturgy of praying to, bowing to, and worshiping the sun god.”

Most of the yoga I’ve seen and participated in is either for relaxation and stretching or to build those long, lean yoga muscles. I’d have to deliberately seek out, just as I would with a church service, yoga classes as part of a specifically religious celebration. In that regard I have found Hinduism to be significantly less aggressive, in their recruitment tactics, than other more popular religions.

Even if this was part of some elaborate trick to get people to participate in Hinduism, I think the exercise portion alone, ironically enough, would turn them off. So, it would seem, for now anyway, that both Hinduism and Christianity are safe from any threat that might be posed by a flexible spine or the odd Warrior One.

The LA Times states that, “Under a three-year grant from the K.P. Jois Foundation, which promotes Ashtanga yoga, yoga exercises are taught in twice-weekly, 30-minute classes.”

Though yoga classes are now widely taught throughout the U.S., Encinitas Union School District will be the first to employ full-time yoga teachers at all its schools.

As it turns out yoga is just yoga and can be taught as part of a valid exercise routine. Way to go California!



Yoga in Schools Promotes Spiritual Development & it Has Nothing to do With Religion.


Author: Brenna Fischer

Editor: Travis May

Photo: creativedc/flickr


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