A school district in California is doing a great thing: They are including yoga classes into the schedule for the kids to get some movement, stretching, and focus before diving into their studies. The problem is, a group of parents want yoga banned from school because they believe it teaches hinduism (which, for the last time, it does not).
According to NPR, some parents from the Encinitis, CA school district don’t want their children participating, as one mother, Mary Eady, explained to NPR:
They were being taught to thank the sun for their lives and the warmth that it brought, the life that it brought to the earth and they were told to do that right before they did their sun salutation exercises.
These things, she believes, are spiritual teachings that reflect the Hindu religion:
It’s stated in the curriculum that it’s meant to shape the way that they view the world, it’s meant to shape the way that they make life decisions. It’s meant to shape the way that they regulate their emotions and the way that they view themselves.
Eady is so upset over yoga in her son’s school that she and a group of parents are actually working with Dean Broyles, president and chief counsel of the Escondido-based National Center for Law and Policy. Broyles also equates yoga to religion:
And then the question becomes — if it is religious, which it is, who decides when enough religion has been stripped out of the program to make it legal? I mean, that’s the problem when you introduce religion into the curriculum and actually immerse and marinate children in the program.
To aid in their fight, the group of parents opposed to yoga in the classroom have launched an online petition that has roughly 260 signatures.
It’s puzzling, really, that parents don’t understand what yoga is all about. Sure, there are parts of this practice that allow us to focus on our world and our surroundings, being grateful and being present in our daily lives. But does that make this a religion? Hardly.
It seems to be the people who don’t practice yoga are the ones opposed to it. Have they even tried it themselves? Do they even understand how beneficial this practice can be for the mind and body? Kids, in particular, can really benefit from this. They are forced to sit in an indoor classroom for six or more hours a day, being told to sit still, pay attention and do their work. Without adequate time to relax, de-stress and calm their bodies and minds, this is nearly an impossible task (just ask any elementary school teacher).
Luckily, not all parents are opposed to yoga in school. The ones who are for it responded with their own petition, which now has over 2,700 signatures.
Tell us what you think. Should yoga remain in the schools?