Yoga: Religion, Exercise, or Stress Reliever? - U2 Feedback

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Old 08-23-2013, 01:02 PM   #1
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Yoga: Religion, Exercise, or Stress Reliever?

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A California judge refused on Monday to block the teaching of yoga as part of a public school's physical fitness program, rejecting parents' claims that the classes were an unconstitutional promotion of Eastern religions.

Judge John Meyer acknowledged that yoga "at its roots is religious" but added that the modern practice of yoga, despite its origins in Hindu philosophy, is deeply engrained in secular U.S. society and "is a distinctly American cultural phenomenon."

He also said the Encinitas Unified School District had developed its own version of yoga that was not religious but distinct and separate from Ashtanga yoga.

"A reasonable student would not objectively perceive that Encinitas School District yoga does advance or promote religion," he said.

While school district officials were pleased by the ruling, the lawyer for the parents said they probably will appeal.

"If yoga is a religion and has religious aspects, it doesn't belong in the public schools," said Dean Broyles, who represents Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, whose two children opted out of yoga for physical education. "There is a consistent anti-Christian bias in these cases and a pro-Eastern or strange religion bias."

Encinitas, about 20 miles (32 km) north of San Diego, began a pilot yoga program in one of its nine elementary schools in 2011. About 40 to 45 students - out of the 5,500 in the district - were taken out of the classes by their parents.

The Sedlocks filed suit against the district in February, arguing that yoga is inherently religious and asking teaching of the classes be banned. The parents claimed that children who opted out of the program faced bullying and teasing.

Their suit expressed concern that the school district had implemented the program with a $500,000 grant from the Jois Foundation, which promotes Ashtanga yoga.

The case was the latest twist in a broader national clash over the separation of religion from public education that has seen spirited debate on issues ranging from the permissibility of student-led prayer to whether science instructors can teach alternatives to evolution.

The plaintiffs objected to eight-limbed tree posters with Sanskrit characters that they said were derived from Hindu beliefs, as well as to the use of the Namaste greeting in class and several yoga poses said to represent worship of Hindu deities.

But by the start of the 2012-2013 school year, the Sanskrit and Namaste had been eliminated from the program, and poses had been renamed with "kid-friendly" descriptions, poses now called gorilla, turtle, peacock, big toe, telephone and other terms, according to testimony. The lotus pose, for example, is called criss cross apple sauce in Encinitas schools.

However, the plaintiffs' expert, professor of religious studies Candy Gunther Brown, testified that yoga practice indoctrinates Hindu religious practices whether the individual knows it or not.

Brown cited research suggesting yoga practice changes the user's brain and thoughts, a sort of gateway drug to the occult, Meyer said.

The judge did not agree with her, saying, "Dr. Brown has an obvious bias and can almost be called being on a mission against yoga."

School district Superintendent Timothy Baird applauded the ruling, and pointed out that the district had been represented for free by lawyers provided by parents whose kids take yoga in the district.

"We always want our parents to be happy and we try to work with our parents on everything we do," Baird said.
Yoga Not Teaching Religion In Encinitas Schools, California Judge Rules, Appeal Expected

I've been doing yoga on and off for eleven years, and my intentions fluctuate. I either go for spiritual purposes, a good workout/stretching, to release stress, or even to physically challenge myself because its fun.

I know some would think yoga is a religious practice because it has ties to Hinduism, but I think yoga can be what you make of it. That being said, I don't see anything wrong with yoga classes in a public school, as long as the angle is toward stretching and stress relief. Focusing on the spiritual aspect risks violating separation of church and state. But I don't think yoga should be banned altogether from public schools.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:11 PM   #2
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I certainly think that yoga is perfectly fine for public schools. Simply because the practice has Hindu roots, does not negate the fact that the practice increases flexibility and reduces stress (and it may also improve intelligence as a result of the increased BDNF).
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:40 PM   #3
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Exhibit A in support of teaching yoga in school: Parents so tightly wound they sue over the teaching of yoga in school.
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:56 PM   #4
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Exhibit A in support of teaching yoga in school: Parents so tightly wound they sue over the teaching of yoga in school.
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Old 08-23-2013, 02:37 PM   #5
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Exhibit A in support of teaching yoga in school: Parents so tightly wound they sue over the teaching of yoga in school.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:38 PM   #6
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I always thought he was just a little green Jedi master.
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Old 08-23-2013, 05:31 PM   #7
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these parents are right

everybody knows the yoga revolution got adherents mind controlled into wearing see-through pants
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:24 PM   #8
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Exhibit A in support of teaching yoga in school: Parents so tightly wound they sue over the teaching of yoga in school.



But god, this is pretty damn pathetic isn't it? Are they so afraid of their frail own beliefs that they have to ban all signs of others? Even in a friggin' YOGA class? That teaches relaxation and stress relief?

I occasionally do yoga as well at the gym, we have some interactive video yoga thing with a female trainer. And we don't have any religious interaction in there, but if she greeted us or if there was, I wouldn't quite care. It's part of the history behind it, and it doesn't interfere with my relaxation or excerises at any point at all. Maybe the parents should try some yoga or something.
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:41 PM   #9
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Americans have the tendency to take definitions too strictly, it would be a lot better to emphasize the benefits of Yoga instead of its origins and roots.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:55 PM   #10
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The strength of Plaintiff’s case was undercut by changes made to the program to eliminate the religious aspects of yoga. The case is really no different than those claiming that a Christmas tree is an impermissible religious symbol and should not be allowed on public property. Yoga can be taught with religious implications, and it can be taught as pure physical exercise. Anyone trumpeting a complete separation of church and state should demand sufficient safeguards to prevent the religious implications.
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:39 AM   #11
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Like I said, as long as yoga is taught from a stress relieving and physical angle, I have no problem with it being taught in schools. The kids could use it. Now if they start to research yoga and study Hinduism because of that angle, that's not the school's fault if no one mentioned the spiritual side of yoga.
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:37 AM   #12
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When you've already banned dodgeball, tag, kickball, and god knows what else from gym class...they're clearly just picking on yoga because they've run out of things to ban. And they've got those giant bouncy balls you sit on and stuff, surely someone could get hurt.

I hated gym class enough when I was a kid, I would have really hated it if I had to do yoga instead of throwing balls at my classmates.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:45 PM   #13
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When you've already banned dodgeball, tag, kickball, and god knows what else from gym class...they're clearly just picking on yoga because they've run out of things to ban. And they've got those giant bouncy balls you sit on and stuff, surely someone could get hurt.

I hated gym class enough when I was a kid, I would have really hated it if I had to do yoga instead of throwing balls at my classmates.
Given childhood obesity rates, forcing a child into a PE class may be too damaging to their self esteem.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:12 PM   #14
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Childhood Obesity Leveling Off? New Study Suggests Kids Engaging In Healthier Behavior
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