In case you missed it, there has been a lot of controversy lately regarding a kid’s Yoga Program in Encinitas’ schools. (Click here and here for a full back story). A significantly large group of parents have voiced enough concern and frustration with the program that it is in jeopardy of being cut. They believe Yoga is inherently religious and pushes children to practice Hinduism in school. Large Media outlets such as The Huffington Post and The Associated Press have reported on this situation; it has received a significant amount of national attention.
Now the parents are threatening a lawsuit unless the program is cut.
As a Yogi and Yoga teacher myself, I have always believed in the universality of a good practice on the mat. Uniting both the body and the mind, Yoga has been shown to reduce stress levels by bringing a sense of calmness to the practitioner and produce a cascade of wonderful effects…including mental clarity and increased concentration. And in my opinion, the school board was most likely well aware of these proven effects when they decided to implement the program. After all, isn’t part of the job of a good teacher to provide students with the tools necessary to succeed in their studies? Especially when it comes to mental awareness and concentration.
Yoga is not inherently religious; it can be spiritual if you want it to be, just like anything…but that does not mean it is religious indoctrination.
I hope you will take some time to sign this petition and help me encourage the Encinitas School Board to keep this program. Perhaps if we get enough signatures we can make an impact on the back room discussions…and maybe even sway the opinion of some of the parents who are adamantly opposed to it. If there was ever a cause that the Yoga community should consider rallying around, it would be kid’s Yoga.
This petition goes directly to the email inbox of Timothy Baird, the superintendent of the Encinitas School District.
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