Bullying. Childhood obesity. Anger management issues. Intolerance. Poor school attendance. Teaching yoga in schools can help eliminate these ills and more. Yet, some parents in Encinitas, California want to oust yoga from their children’s curriculum. Why? Because they fear the program teaches Hinduism.
Yoga is a regimen of postures and breathing exercises that builds core strength, and physical and emotional balance. It is currently taught at Camp Pendleton to help Marines who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Encinitas schools received a $533,000 grant from the Jois Foundation to teach Ashtanga yoga in five elementary schools. The yoga instructors use kid-friendly names for the poses instead of Sanskrit. Parents may choose to excuse their children from yoga, but to some that isn’t enough. They want to shut down the program.
I am a firm believer in the separation of Church and State, but fail to see the “church” part of this equation. As Penny Peyser stated in her letter to the LA Times, “Yoga is a practice, not a religion.” To read Tony Perry’s LA Times article, use this link: