Court Rules Yoga Is Religious and OK in Schools
The Ashtanga Yoga program will continue for K-6th grade students in the Encinitas School District (EUSD) in California. Children will still do yoga during physical education classes after a ruling by the California Court of Appeals in San Diego, although the judges noted that the Ashtanga yoga performed by kids promotes “union with the universal or the divine.”
According to the National Center for Law & Policy, which represents parents who object to yoga classes, “the Encinitas Union School District prevailed in their argument that they had changed or removed enough of the religious elements from their yoga program, so that the physical education classes were purportedly not unlawfully promoting religion in the public schools.”
Parents and the National Center for Law & Policy will not pursue the issue further in court but have set up a website in hopes of educating parents about the religious and metaphysical aspects of yoga and the harm yoga can inflict on children. The website is TruthAboutYoga.com.
In 2012 at Encinitas schools, two-thirds of K-6 physical education classes were Ashtanga Yoga. The National Center for Law & Policy says that the sun salutation, Surya Namaskar, is “devotional sun worship, including bowing, praying hands and lifting one’s hands in worship to the sun [and] is objectively religious [so] should not be treated any more favorably than Bible reading or prayer, even if EUSD is not teaching the children the supporting theology behind the Hindu rituals.”
The Sonima Foundation, “a yoga-promoting organization with links to the activity’s religious history” (previously known as the Jois Foundation), gave the Encinitas School district $3.3 million to fund yoga in schools. The superintendent of the Encinitas School District is a member of the advisory board of the Sonima Foundation. The Foundation “is already targeting other school districts with grant money.” (WND.com, 6-12-15; TruthAboutYoga.com)