Eye Roll: Parents Sue Over Yoga In Public Schools Because It “Promotes Eastern Religions”

Sometimes I do not have anything deeper to say other than “Shut up.”

And those are my choice words for the California parents who are suing their children’s school district over yoga classes being taught in a class.  That’s not very Zen, is it? 

The parents claim the Ashtanga yoga classes which are being taught at the Encinitas Unified School District’s phys ed program are promoting “Eastern religions,” in particular Hinduism. Said their lawyer,”Ashtanga yoga is a religious-based yoga, and if we are separating church and state, we can’t pick and choose religious favorites.” The parents object to the “namaste” greeting said in class, yoga poses which represent different Hindu dieties, and posters apparently hung up in the school which show eight-limbed trees (the word Ashtanga is Sanskrit for “eight-limbed”). But that’s not all! They’re fretful that kids will be “bullied” for opting out of the gym classes that teach yoga. Talk about throwing everything against a wall to see what stiks.

Encinatis officials said the yoga classes aren’t teaching any particular religion, despite yoga’s connection to Hinduism. Ashtanga yoga just happens to be the type of yoga taught by the yoga instructors paid for by the Jois Foundation, whose $533K grant brought the classes to the district. According to their website, Jois works to bring yoga and meditation classes to underserved communities — i.e. teaching these skills to children who may not otherwise be exposed to it.

Look, I get the concern about religion seeping into schools. I sure as hell don’t want children being asked to pray in class or displaying the Ten Commandments in classroom. Separation of church and state, yadda yadda yadda. But just like I don’t think it’s a huge deal if religion is contextually discussed in an academic setting — like, oh, while discussing the Crusades! — it’s not a huge deal if it’s contextually discussed in a phys-ed class. That’s called “education.”

This is why we can’t have nice things, dummies.

[Jois Foundation]

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