Om On, Little Ones
Yoga in public schools is exercise, not religion, says a San Diego judge. The ruling came after a few parents in the Encinitas school district sued the schools, demanding that yoga classes be removed from the curriculum because it violated their Christian values and would likely turn their children onto Eastern ethos and philosophy, on the grounds of prohibition of prayer and religion in public schools in America.
This ruling is important because the Encinitas school district in California is one of the first districts in America to employ full-time yoga teachers at each of it’s schools. Parents have the option to opt their children out of the program, which teaches yoga twice a week for thirty minutes each. Sanskrit and chanting were not included the program dialogue (for example, ‘Lotus’ pose was changed to ‘Crisscross Applesauce’ pose). For the school district, the program was developed to help students find new ways to exercise and relieve stress, and was not meant to be a spiritual program.