A group of parents in Encinitas , Ca. is worried that free yoga classes in their schools are indoctrinating their youngsters in Hinduism. Dean Broyles , an attorney representing the parents , said “There’s a deep concern that the Encinitas Union School District is using taxpayer resources to promote Ashtanga yoga and Hinduism, a religion system of beliefs and practices.” Calling the yoga program unconstitutional , he said he may take unspecified legal action unless the classes stop.
When I read this new story , I thought to myself , ” Oh no , not again !” I remembered, all too well , the furor some forty years ago when the schools tried to introduce Transcendental Meditation . Then , as now , there were worries that the schools were trying to promote Hinduism . The issue went to the courts and in 1977, a U.S. district court ruled that a curriculum in TM and the Science of Creative Intelligence that was being taught in some New Jersey schools was religious in nature and in violation of the First Amendment. TM wound up being pulled from the schools . But that was only a temporary retreat. Since then , TM has become one of the most widely practiced meditation techniques , practiced by millions of Americans of all faiths . I even know of Catholic priests who travel to India to learn it’s techniques.
Within four hours of this story appearing on Yahoo there were over 2,ooo comments on the message boards . I checked them expecting to see the usual misanthropic responses I’ve come to expect in such forums. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found them to be overwhelmingly against the parents stance and for the teaching of yoga.
Here are some of the responses :
So does serving lasagna in the cafeteria turn kids into Italians? Or Catholics?
You might as well claim karate indoctrinates people into Japanese religion. Or pizza indoctrinates people into Italian culture.
I wish schools would indoctrinate students with math.
So does this mean that yoga pants are a religious expression? .
The mothers of these kids go to their yoga class, but not the kids.
Yoga is promoting Hinduism? Man, my yoga teacher ripped me off. All she taught me were these cool stretching exercises which helped me drop 15 lbs in 10 weeks. Chris Jericho (wrestler), Ray Lewis (NFL), and Vin Diesel (actor) all practice yoga for health reasons. Haven’t heard one of them promote Hinduism. These people need to get a clue. Nice to see the schools promoting a healthy lifestyle.
I like to surf. This is obviously an expression of Polynesian religion……
Seems the parents are bent out of shape – isn’t that a form of yoga?
Yoga is not a religion ,you idiots. Football however is, but no one has a problem worshipping the teabagger Tebow.
One of the best responses was from “Laura” who wrote “ Part of what makes America great is that people are free to practice whatever belief system they want, including freedom FROM religion. Stop hating ,Jeff and the rest of you haters out there. If your belief system is strong, then it shouldn’t bother you if someone believes something different. Why don’t you go out and take a yoga class and see for yourself how relaxing it can be?”
Right on , Laura . It is Americans like you who make this country great and the antithesis of those theocracies in the Middle East.
P.S: Contrary to what the parent’s attorney alleges , the yoga classes do not use government funds . They are funded by a Three year $ 533,000 grant by the Jois Foundation , a non-profit group that promotes Ashtanga Yoga. The board of directors of the foundation has people of different faiths.The classes involve traditional eastern breathing techniques and poses. The district chooses teachers and sets the curriculum while the foundation trains the teachers.
School District Superitendent Tim Baird said “Yoga is a worldwide exercise regimen utilized by people of many different faiths .Yoga is part of our mainstream culture. Our goal is that kids get a really healthy workout, that they get a chance to relax and reduce stress and yoga’s perfect for that….”
Amen to that.