Sign the Petition to Protect Kid’s Yoga Program in Encinitas Schools

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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Petition to Protect Yoga in Encinitas Schools

Dear Dr. Baird,

[signature]

3,106 signatures

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yogamatt
Matt is an enthusiastic Yoga teacher and life voyager. He enjoys reading, writing, practicing and meditating. He is the owner and editor in chief of theyogablog.com, a site created with the thought process of bringing together the Yoga community in a collaborative way. Matt strives to inspire conscious living and conscious dialogue; not only for others, but for himself.

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  • LocalParent

    Why should my child have to miss instructional time set aside for core subjects like math to practice yoga? Other concerns with this program are that the kids are losing out on traditional PE because they must do yoga 2 times each week. Last year, the kids did watch videos about the history of yoga and were told the stories behind the poses and how they were given to yoga … the warrior pose came about when a god chopped the head of someone off and replaced it with a goat’s head. We were assured last year there was no religious component and now we are told that NOW they will strip it all away so that this program is different from last year’s program. Is this what I must accept for my kids in school and not stand up and say my 1st Amendment rights have been violated? And, please don’t try to say that other religious practices are happening; most classes do not recite the Pledge, there are no Christmas trees in the school, and no Easter eggs. Yes, there may be St. Patrick’s Day activities, but I’m OK if you want to eliminate them just to be fair. I respect the fact that we all are protected by the Constitution. To hear that the administration took time away from math to have the kids watch yoga videos and practice yoga made me really upset (especially since most of the kids failed the placement test for middle school math). And now people call the parents that are upset crazy? Also, you need to look further and think about the real motivation of putting Ashtanga yoga from Jois Yoga in the schools for over 5,000 kids. Also, putting kids in a $12 million major research study without parental permission clearly crosses the line in my opinion. Also, EUSD is paying an outside consultant almost $100K to develop a “Self Realize” curriculum … oh, btw we do have The Self Realization Center in Encinitas … coincidence?? I don’t think so. People I know call this their church, but yet there is no tie to religion? Further, I believe it is wrong for the schools to allow private business to come in and market its programs to our kids and families (last year paper flyers were sent home with kids specifically referring families to Jois Yoga of Encinitas). Where do we draw the line and who decides what products we will market to our kids?

    • Anotherparent

      You are deranged. Turn off the Fox News and try to re-engage your brain.

    • yogamatt

      Hi LocalParent. I understand where you are coming from. I know that Yoga may seem religious to you, because it has it’s roots in Hinduism. However, Yoga has always been about molding to whatever works and disregarding what doesn’t. In fact, the true traditional postures were never put into a consecutive sequence like they are today. They were prescribed in an almost doctor/patient relationship. It wasn’t until thousands of years later that a man named Krishnamacharya came along and created a sequence of postures that were linked together so that they could be called a class. The whole religion of Hinduism was never supposed to be a rigid thing. In fact, one could make a strong argument that it was never supposed to be a religion…it was just sorta a compilation or group or teachings put together and people cherry picked what they liked. There was even a whole sect within Hinduism that was atheist. Interesting huh? But my point is this: Physical Yoga, known as asana or posture, was meant to clear the body and mind for a specific purpose…usually to meditate or heal ailments. And it has changed dramatically over the centuries. Westernized Yoga can easily be stripped of any religious/spiritual connotation, leaving the practitioner feeling uplifted and safe. There is a measurable physiological response that has been proven to help people concentrate and remain calm….that is what we are going after. The term “Yoga” is only used to give reference to the rich culture and history of where it came from, just like Tae Kwon Do or many other martial arts. You don’t have to learn the philosophy or practice the spirituality; just use it as a tool to help you achieve what you are after: exercise that leaves you feeling calm, focused, and relaxed.

    • yogamatt

      And another thing: I don’t think you or anyone else that has issue with Yoga taught in schools is deranged. I just think that you don’t quite understand that Yoga is extremely adaptive to it’s environment. Just curious, if the name “Yoga” was taken away and replaced with the term “Deep Stretching and Conscious Breathing” would you have an issue with it? Even if the same postures were used.

      • Rob Taylor

        Thank you Matt.

  • john

    Ultimately this is between the parents and Encinitas School district to be decided in court if need be. This petition doesnt make sense. We’re not residence of Encinitas and dont have kids that attend the schools in question. Doubtful that the Encinitas school district would like to go that route.

    • Rob Taylor

      I’m a parent in the Encinitas School District. I learned about this challenge from this petition which was posted by another parent in the Encinitas School District.

      This petition definitely makes sense to me. I want to go on record as saying I am grateful for the gift that the Jois foundation has given our community. My child loves the time she gets to do Yoga at school. She is also doing great in Math and her other subjects.

      Need me to sign a paper petition, or show up at a school board meeting. I’m in.

  • Encinitas Mom

    LocalParent, have you set foot in a school lately? There is no budget for PE…that’s what this is. It’s not taking the place of instructional time, it’s not in place of math or any other academic subject. Without the grant for yoga, there is no PE. And trust me, these kids desperately need both physical activity and the mechanisms for calming themselves down. In addition, our schools do recite the pledge (yes, with One Nation Under God) each morning, sign Christmas songs at the holidays and practice other programs that could be considered “religious”. Perhaps we should just cancel every activity, so that way no one would find anything to sue about.

    And, by the way, our Encinitas school district school’s math scores are among the highest of schools feeding into middle school. You are entitled to your opinion but please speak from facts and not rhetoric that is designed to make people fearful and paranoid. Yoga is great exercise and a worthwhile pursuit for our kids; I am a Christian mom who has no concerns whatsoever that my kids are being “brainwashed”.

    • LocalParent

      Many of our schools fund PE with private donations. Yes, I have been on many of our campuses recently. I can only attest to my experiences and those of my children. You don’t have to believe me and I have no intention to cause fear or paranoia. But, I will stand up for what I believe in and our rights as citizens are protected even when we find ourselves in the minority. This is not a popularity contest.

  • MJ Preti

    I’m from Encinitas and my kids went through PDL elementary school. I put over 1000 hours of volunteer time teaching and training teachers in the SPARK PE (not yoga) curriculum they use. California mandates 200 minutes of PE every 2 weeks. It is the only subject with a time mandate. Recess does NOT (rightly) qualify for PE. I can attest that classes rarely achieve this 200 minute mandate. Yoga is not taking away from math time.

    Yoga offers a PE option that is great for the kids who don’t do well in traditional sports. IF we can get the kids who are uninterested in exercising to find a passion in yoga I’m all for it. We have a real obesity problem in this country. While yoga isn’t the complete answer it is one small piece that may help with this issue, especially with kids who haven’t been successful in other traditional PE activities. And of course the stress relief of yoga classes is invaluable as our kids enter the pressure cooker junior and senior high.

    As a fitness specialist, I welcome any help the schools can get in this
    area, as they do not hire trained physical education teachers. The schools rely on our overburdened classroom teachers to teach PE. Usually they have very little training in the area. At most one college class (sometimes an online class).

    The pledge of allegiance is said every day in the classroom. Frankly, since local parent was wrong about the pledge and yoga taking time away from math, I wonder how correct she is about the other areas she wrote about.

    My husband has done Ashtanga yoga for 15 years and hasn’t encountered ‘Hindu” indoctrination in any of the classes.

    I hope the schools are not scared off by extremist parents.

    MJ PRETI MA Physical Education USC,
    200 Yoga Alliance teacher, trained and teaching in Encinitas.

    • Sheri

      thanks for this post! I didn’t want to delve into the issue of not all children being able to participate in regular PE classes as it’s personal to me and I can’t be so objective, but it’s nice to know it is being recognized. I had joint problems all my life and it took till my adult life to find Yoga. I can only imagine how much less pain I would of been in as a kid if I’d had Yoga available to me in school & how much less shame I would of had to endure at never being able to participate in PE classes. I applaud you for all the hours you put in for the children of your community!

  • Brennan Savage

    This issue has the potential to really divide a neighborhood and get ugly. First thing we need to do is be honest. I have never heard that “most of our kids failed the math placement test for middle school” . My experience has been that most of Flora Vista’s kids go into honors math. Second I was not aware that “most classes don’t recite the Pledge , every time I go in to class they do. If we are going to have this debate we cannot act like candidates running for office and just trash the other side. We need true facts .
    There is documented evidence that students that start their day with yoga are more responsive and eager to learn than those who do not. Yoga is practiced in military hospitals now so our injured soldiers are more responsive to physical and psychological therapy. These are facts that can be checked .
    There has to be a way we can all come to a plausible agreement on this because right now we are on the brink of this getting blown out of proportion .

  • Enci

    The Encinitas Union School Board is derisive of online petitions signed by people who don’t live within Encinitas. They have publicly mocked online petitions at School Board meetings. Good luck.
    I let my kids do the yoga at school but I also know that my church, and many churches within San Diego County, are highly critical of Yoga. Some yoga is just peaceful stretching, and some is a spiritual practice. It’s how the yoga practice is implemented and who is doing it.

  • Mel

    I think it’s more spiritual than religious that is what creates yoga. It’s not promoting any form of religion. It’s a wonderful way to introduce physical activities and to reduce stress, stretch, and to have fun. In this day and age where we’re trying to get kids off computers and video games and to promote daily physical activity, yoga offers the kids a chance to do that. Also too, it depends on the instructor of yoga and what he or she has to offer. I love yoga and I think it should be included in physical activity and one that is growing everyday.

  • hrcorporateyoga@cox.net

    I am on the east coast and am sorry to see that you guys are having to deal with this sort of thing. I hate to see that so many people do not understand what Yoga is. Personally, I am a Christian and an avid Yogi. The fact that Yoga came from a country with a different religion does not matter. That is almost like saying baseball is Christian because it started in America. Yoga is strictly physical and mental for me and most of the people I associate with. Of course you can incorporate religion into Yoga just like anything else. Final relaxation pose gives me a change to pray but that is my preference. Practicing Yoga can be so beneficial for kids. They are bombarded with studies and homework and there is not enough time spent learning how to relax, deal with emotions and take care of their bodies. I think Yoga in public schools is a great idea. The small amount of time spent doing Yoga will be made up for in increase mind productivity and decreased stress levels. I have been teaching Yoga for 12 years, My kids do Yoga. I am going to do a short Yoga class at my daughters school but unfortunately, because of things like this, we will not be calling it Yoga. We will call it something like “get fit and stretch”. It is really sad that we have to do that. In the meantime, my kids will continue practicing Yoga and reap the benefits.

  • hrcorporateyoga@cox.net

    spreding the word here on the east coast!

  • http://www.facebook.com/redhatchilipeppers Karen Christian

    I’m a Christian and a yoga participant. Yoga is such an amazing and healthful activity. I sure wish I had had the opportunity to learn about it earlier in my life. For young children it can teach them tools to deal with life’s stresses (rather than other unhealthy alternatives). I’m 60 now and didn’t find yoga until I was 50. Peace.

    • Jen

      Amen to that. My kids love it and it’s helping my daughter breath deep and calm her nerves in the middle of her stressful class day. Peace.

  • JMc

    I am a parent in the EUSD school district and a daily practioner of Ashtanga and other forms of yoga. I am not Hindu, nor Buddhist. I think the article focuses on the negative aspects too much and forcing a petition is almost asking for a fight. Why can’t those who want to withhold this from his/her kids do so and those who want to participate do so in the manner indicated (as they are easily able to do right now). I feel there is a lack of information here about the program, the public’s true response and a general lack of understanding about “yoga” and a lack of explanation to those who don’t practice it. I feel this piece alone has created more of a stir than anything anyone else could have done to ignite frustration and confusion . The place to solve this is in education and talking with those in the know…not a blog of posts speculating and inciting fear and uncertainty. I am comfortable with how the yoga program has been evolving and many of the initial issues have now been worked out. Why is there no mention of this in your article? Why are there links to unsuitable material on this site as this issue pertains to children and I am more uncomfortable that you have placed it in a space on this site that is not in harmony with the topic. I think more thought could have been given to omit all the condensed overly negative aspects of the article and the placement of said and perhaps there would be a more favorable public response. Planning, timing, knowledge. Important, especially in these instances. Sometimes presentation is everything. This is not presented as nicely as it could have been and I feel it has made more of a lot of nothing. It was unnecessary just as this petition is as unless you are the parent of said child at EUSD it really doesn’t matter what you sign I am quite certain.

    • yogamatt

      Hi JMC! I had contacted the school and let them know that this petition was going to happen. Had they asked me not to do it, I would have never posted it. If you read the other articles I wrote, you can clearly see references of published news articles and studies. I even state I can understand where the frustration is coming from. I don’t know what the unsuitable material is, but if you have better links please feel free to post them. As far as I know, the parents are still threatening civil action against the school unless the program is all together discontinued. I have read many articles stating this, even ones from yesterday. The point of this petition is to spread word within the Yoga community that there are problems to be faced as Yoga expands it’s sphere of influence. If many of the initial issues have been worked out, why not encourage the parents or lawyer of the parents to release a statement that things have settled down? I was just reading yesterday that a law firm has offered to represent the district pro bono if things progress.
      I am all for admitting I am wrong…but I don’t see where that is the case.

      • http://www.facebook.com/sydney.solis Sydney Solis

        Here is an excerpt from a Blog Post I wrote March 8, 2010 during a school residency in which parents were upset about yoga in school.

        http://www.storytimeyoga.com/blog/body-centered-education-with-storytime-yoga/

        Typically, a few parents are misinformed that yoga exposes their children to Eastern religion and had them pulled from class. I gave the teachers this response to give to parents.

        Dear Parent,

        I understand your concern about unfamiliar concepts being taught in your child’s school.

        Storytime Yoga is a firm supporter of the first amendment and separation of church and state.

        The dictionary definition of religion is:

        • the belief and worship of a super human controlling power, especially a personal God or Gods
        • details of belief as taught or discussed
        • a particular system of faith or worship

        None of these definitions apply to Storytime Yoga and what your child will be doing in school.

        Storytime Yoga is an educational program based on scientific and factual methods of exercise combined with the art of storytelling intended to improve children’s health and literacy.
        Any meaning that an individual creates about the stories and postures and projects onto these factual methods is up to him or her.

        We invite you to come and observe or participate for yourself to better understand these facts and the benefits your child will receive from experiencing Storytime Yoga.

        best wishes,
        SYDNEY SOLIS

        • Evelyn Zeller

          As a long time yoga practitioner here in Encinitas I can not say enough about how positive Yoga has been for me. I believe it to be one of the best tools for a more peaceful, balanced, focused and productive life.

          The way I have seen it practiced here has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with mindfulness, calmness, flexibility and strength, in every sense of the way. This is a wonderful gift to give to our children.

          I can not believe the ridiculous controversy here.

          Sincerely,

          Evelyn Zeller

    • yogamatt
  • Anon

    Pattabhi Jois, the founder of the system taught at Jois Yoga was very clear that any devotional aspects (religious) of yoga should be based on the partitioner’s particular culture. He encourage students to follow their own religious traditions. If you are Jewish or Christian and have a cultural tie to one of those religions, they should form the basis of your devotional practice. He was a Hindu because he was born in India a Brahmin. His grandson, the current director of the Ashtanga Yoga Institute, encourages the same philosophy. The best part is, if you don’t prescribe to any religion at all, the yoga practice is still incredibly beneficial for the body and mind.

    Breath deep with sound…

  • cynthia moore

    absurd. this is surprisingly ignorant. i hope someone can allay parents’ fears that their children will grow up more relaxed, open-minded, focused, grounded, and healthy. yoga is frightening stuff!

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  • http://twitter.com/ryanrosenbaum Ryan Rosenbaum

    I am a parent in Encinitas and a Pastor in this community. I posted two challenges to both sides of this issue here http://www.ryanrosenbaum.blogspot.com. Our community needs to focus on the common goal of developing healthy, intelligent, and respectful children. It takes all perspectives to do this.

  • LocalParent

    I stand behind every claim and statement I have made. I can only share what my children are telling me is happening (or is not happening). Our district does have very high achieving schools, but there are also several in Program Improvement. And, yes, the majority of the kids did not pass the math placement test for Middle School. And, I have spoken to 2 kids that stated they did watch videos on yoga during what would have been math time. Also, they told me the kids would sometimes ask to stay and do math and not go to yoga. I was just told yesterday that a middle school teacher was surveying the class about what religions they had learned about and the kids from our elementary school had learned mainly about Hinduism and Buddhism with a little bit of Judaism and virutally no teaching on Christianity. The teacher made a statement to the class that they were supposed to have covered all of the major religions the prior year.

    You can say all you want, but I am entitled to my opinion and it is based on my direct observations and what my children have experienced and shared with me. This case will be about upholding the California and US Constitution. A public institution cannot promote or show preference to one religion over others. Through all of the articles, papers, and books I have looked at about yoga, the spiritual and religious ties between yoga and Hiduism are everywhere. But, this is California and I am surprised regularly at the decisions that come out of our court system.

    • TiredOfIgnorance

      Yes it is California, and once upon a time I went to Capri,
      and lived in Leucadia, (Encinitas) after high school I left went to college,
      traveled and returned and since have noticed the CHANGE that has been taking
      place in my home town. Once upon a time tolerance
      was a hallmark of the community, and it was great to see people come in from
      out of town to visit what many felt was a open and loving community. Many decided to make it a place they wanted
      to live and the first thing they want to do is make it just like the place the
      fled. One thing about California, for
      people that like to complain, is that you can always pack up and move.

  • New yogamom

    I have been practicing yoga for 1 year now and I absolutely love it. I have not encountered any religion at all in the many classes I have done. I’m in the best shape of my life, lost almost 20 pounds, and have no more aches and pains. My kids love it too so my 5 th grader is so excited to have it offered at school. Even if there was a touch of Hinduism taught, what’s wrong with teaching our kids something new and different about the world? I think people need to be more tolerant and worry less and trust our most excellent school district!

  • Christine Popoff

    My daughter is in this program at Capri. She LOVES it and says it really helps her with her focus. She is ADHD. I support this program. It is not a requirement, so those who don’t believe in it should just opt out. My daughter says she wishes she had yoga every day because it helps her concentrate.

  • Bethany

    A petition I will sign 10 times over and if I have children they will definitely be taught!

  • Bethany

    MJ I agree! Yoga keeps kids that are bored with regular sports physically active and I believe it greatly helps focus and learning! I wish I had been taught younger than I was personally as once I became a student it was the greatest help outside of medication for my adhd, which I always had issues in school bc of as a child. It’s also been much easier for me to be physically in shape since I became a yoga student, I was a chubby kid, and now I’m the best shape of my life….I would highly recommend yoga for kids and I plan on teaching my own someday…

  • Lori

    One day at Zumba class, a participant’s daughter was semi
    participating while her mom danced. During the cool down I noticed she was
    doing Yoga stretches. I asked her after class where she learned yoga, she told
    me her teacher at school, “We stretch before math it helps us settle down
    and stay focused” I was clearly impressed, as she gave me a knowing look
    she then smiled and said “I go to a private Montessori school”.
    She was about 9 years old. I believe yoga has had its place creating a lovely girl
    who is always happy and joy to be around. And super smart!

  • Sheri

    I have been reading though these comments and am to be honest a
    little baffled at how some obvious truth’s are being overlooked in favor
    of the usual amendment call out & focus on “traditional” subjects.
    So your kids are doing bad in math huh? How about sit down and do some
    math homework with them.. that’s called parenting. So your kid is
    learning Yoga? Scared he/she is going to come home telling stories of
    Ganesh & ancient battles between gods? First of all I doubt that is
    what’s happening in these schools. Second, maybe you should consider for
    a moment why you are afraid of your child being exposed to something
    that allows him to question & explore his own world view and
    reality.

    Let me give you a little back story on myself, I am an
    Australian raised in Australia by an American Mom & Australian Dad. I
    have lived in the states a number of times over the years, including
    about 5 years in North America from 18-23. This has provided me with
    some perspective on American culture that those growing up only in one
    country may not have. I was lucky enough to actually attend an American
    school while in 3rd grade and I have a little story for everyone.. now
    imagine this – a little Agnostic girl comes from Australia having been
    exposed to all manner of religions as a child.. Australia is NOT so
    uptight about religion as we have never really identified with any one
    national religion. This meant I actually took a religious studies class
    in school as a child and learned about a number of religions and was
    able to make my own decisions about it at only 7 years old!! Now that’s
    called respect for individual human intelligence. As a teen I even
    requested that my Atheist mother allow me to go to youth group at our
    local Christian church because I was curious. Was I denied this obvious
    human right because it did not agree with my mother’s ideas? HELL NO! I
    went for a few meetings, made my own decisions and moved on.. so back to
    my American school experience – my first day I was quite surprised to
    find that we recited a pledge instead of singing our national anthem. I
    was even MORE shocked (remembering this is 8 year old me) to be taught
    to say the line “under god”. I recited this pledge diligently for about a
    week but those words never started feeling right in my mouth so one day
    I informed my teacher I would no longer be saying the pledge as I did
    not agree with it. Simple right? WRONG! My mother was called and I was
    made to feel like a BAD child for refusing to say the pledge? My mother
    of course politely informed the teacher that I was allowed to make my
    own decisions about my beliefs & that if I didn’t want to say
    something that disagreed with me I most certainly didn’t have too.

    So
    that’s a long story I know but I believe it illustrates a very
    important point that we are all missing and that is that CHILDREN will
    let you know if they are uncomfortable with something (at least they
    will if raised in an environment that allows it). So I believe most
    everything that is being debated over this Yoga program at the Encinitas School is a moot point.. should it not be as simple as having a little more respect for our own children’s intelligence and realizing that if they were uncomfortable with what they are learning they will make this known? It sounds as thought a few children have already done so and were allowed to sit out anyway? Why should we take this program away from the children enjoying it because it disagrees with the idea’s of one or two? We would end up with nothing if we tried to please everyone. I call for a little bit of common since here – if you child (NOT YOU!) is uncomfortable learning to stretch & breath then so be it. Allow that child to have observed study time during this period & don’t take away from the other children all the amazing benefits they are receiving through yoga!

    In a time where childhood obesity is at an all time high & children spend more time than ever sitting in a chair why on EARTH is anyone being so petty as to attack a very healthy program that is being offered free of charge to their children because of their own religious fears? Why are we even comparing math to exercise in schools? It is indisputable that both are necessary skills to learn for life! It is a disgusting idea to me that our children’s physical health is considered of so little importance in our public schools & that we are raising a generation to place no value on physical health as a marker of personal well being in general. Yoga or not our children need to move their bodies & if it also helps them concentrate, promotes feeling of well being and positivity then wouldn’t we be out of our minds to ask for the removal of such a program?!

  • yoga dude

    Cool Inspiration

  • Leigh Binder

    First off, let me say that I am 1000 percent behind the practice of yoga. I teach an Ashtanga inspired flow class in Morro Bay, CA. I also studied Ashtanga in Mysore, India where the Jois school has its roots. I can say with complete honesty that yoga has changed my life for the better and in no way did I feel bombarded to (convert) to Hinduism. As a Jew (albeit non practicing) I am still against any form of indoctrination.

    Now having said that, it is important to say that one, I am an adult with a fully formed mind and can make rational decisions based on fact without emotional influx and reach a logical conclusion which not only will be the best outcome for me but also my family and the planet.

    After reading the article and ALL the comments, I don’t see where any parent has actually sat through a class. The reason I bring this up is because in my (Ashtanga) training in Mysore, each and every class began and ended with a prayer. Also, the full gist of Om is rooted in Hindu mythology as well. As an adult, I found it fun and a challenge to try to speak the language I was being taught in prayer form although I failed miserably at it. But, at no time did I ever feel like I was being indoctrinated, due to my fully formed adult mind.

    It has been proven that children do not have the same discerning capacity as adults and can indeed be influenced.

    Now, if it can be ascertained that all aspects of religion have been removed, i.e., prayer and Om and this class is being taught strictly about asana (posture) and pranayama (breathing), then I feel confident that not only does it meet separation of church and state issues, but that a wonderful program for life enrichment is being taught. Otherwise, any other element needs to be taught as a world religion class “elective.”

    Personally, I wish I had had this opportunity as a child but my path is my path. I have also signed the petition even though I don’t live in the area. But before everyone runs around speaking and writing half truths (didn’t this last presidential election teach us anything?) gather ALL the facts and present them honestly and unbiased.

    Is yoga bad or evil? Of course not. Do human beings have a tendency to twist a platform to benefit their own stance? Every single day! Get it straight and get it right, this isn’t about the parents, this is about the kids!

    Namaste

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  • Patches O’Houlihan

    Please implement a Strength & Stretching class, but remove the YOGA moniker. It is very scary. Let’s rename it to something more palatable : SS

    And bring back Dodgeball!

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  • L. Peinl

    I am a third generation Encinitas resident. Mother of a fourth grader at Ocean Knoll.

    I practice Bikram yoga and have found it helps with mental clarity, keeps me flexible, strong and healthy. I attended several classes with my Daughter at OK. The instructor made no mention of a religious figure, or doctrine of Hinduism or like wise. She explained the stretching position,(with my experience) were positions to promote strength and flexibility which we all loose with age and time. She encouraged the students as well as praised them. It would be a shame to discontinue this program. Maybe it can be renamed, or even offer another exercise class to students who have parents that disapprove. Finally,If we place a “religious label” on everything, Someone will ALWAYS feel their rights have been violated, My Question to you parents who do not approve yoga…”Are you planning to file a law suit against the “Pledge of Alligiance” been said everyday at our schools in Encinitas…

    Remember the words ” To the Republic for which we stand, One nation under God, indivisible”. thanks for listening…Third and Fourth Generation Encinitas Residence.

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