The age old question of Yoga and Hinduism has reared it’s head again. Ironically, this time it is in my home town of Encinitas, California.
A group of frustrated parents complained this past Tuesday to the Encinitas Union School District that the school’s Yoga program is religious indoctrination. From North County Times:
“Yoga practices and poses are not merely exercise; they’re religious practices,” said Marsha Qualls, who has a student at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School, calling the techniques “a kind of prayer.”
“I will not allow my children to be indoctrinated by this Hindu religious program,” said Andy Vick, who has three daughters at Mission Estancia. “Because of this, you’re forcing me to segregate my children.”
The classes are held twice a week and were funded by a grant from the Jois Foundation which is located in downtown Encinitas. (Jois was actually founded by the grandson of Pattahbi Jois, the creator of Ashtanga)
The school board said it would be investigating the the Yoga program more thoroughly due to the complaints, but that ‘ There are no religious aspects to the lessons, which were put together by educators with the district’ said Assistant Superintendent David Miyashiro.
Not Religion in Yoga, but Rather Religion in Parents is Causing Controversy
I can’t imagine that a school district would allow anything overtly religious to be taught to children these days. There have been so many flare ups of religious controversy throughout the country, it’s difficult for me to see anyone teaching children to make offerings to Ganesh or anything like that in a Yoga class. I have a feeling that this might be the parents pushing their kids to embrace Christianity, and has nothing to do with Yoga per se.
In any case, I don’t think the neighborhood or other parents would be too thrilled with the program getting cut. That kind of stuff would be a hard pill to swallow for such a liberal Yogi town such as this.
But then again, you never know.
Do you think that Yoga is an inherently religious activity? Post your comments below!