Some parents in California are really disrupting the Om with their protest of yoga in school.
Today The Associated Press reported that parents in the Encinitas, California school system were upset about the free yoga classes being offered in the schools. They cited a fear of indoctrinating children into eastern religion as the reason for their protest.
The children in the San Diego County schools have been offered the opportunity to attend Asthanga yoga classes as a result of a grant given to the school. The $533,000, three-year grant was gifted to the school by the Jois Foundation, a non-profit that promotes and teaches Asthanga yoga.
The superintendent of the schools is Tim Baird. He has stated that the district has removed any religious aspects from the classes and that he simply wants children to gain the physical benefit from yoga. They are being taught traditional breathing techniques and poses. He also has stated that he thinks students need an opportunity to relax and relieve stress and he feels yoga is a good fit for that.
The parents who have protested have retorted that they believe the religious content is still being pushed and that their taxes are going to pay for children to be taught Hinduism.
Yoga in schools is not new. In fact the pilot program of YogaEd launched in Los Angeles back in 2001. Since then, the program has spread to 35 states and parts of Canada. YogaEd is so successful because the research from the program has shown that there are proven benefits from having yoga in school. Those benefits include better self-esteem for the student, better overall health, better grades, lower stress, and improved problem solving skills.
It seems the current case in California is not the norm when it comes to how parents, or the public for that matter, feel about yoga. DietsInReview.com’s yoga expert, Jill Lawson, backed these thoughts up as she shared her opinion on the issue.
“Religious differences aside, it is a shame that people need to be so closed minded with regard to health and wellness. Yoga comes from India, but by no means does the practice itself suggest, force, or persuade anyone to turn into a Hindu. Yoga for the majority of modern Americans is a means to relieve stress, gain self-esteem, and improve fitness. The health benefits of breathing, relaxing, and practicing yoga postures are insurmountable. It is unfortunate that many people avoid it out of fear that it will challenge their faith.”
When school budgets are tight and someone’s offering free enriching classes to students, it’s hard to support an opposition. To those fighting to get our kids healthier, we’ve got your sun salutation-posed backs!