In the first couple weeks of this school year, my son came home talking about doing yogurt in class with Miss Jean. In reality, he was trying to tell me he was practicing yoga in school. As part of a relaxation and exercise portion of their day, the class, chock full of three-year-old’s and one very patient teacher had been practicing yoga.
Which I thought was great! Super! He liked it, obviously it was working for the teacher, and I would have never had an issue.
Then I came across an article about some families obejcting to yoga in classrooms on the site Religion Dispatches. I was shocked and confused. The debate itself was about separation of church and state. For me this is a hit or miss thing. I don’t mind if my kids are saying “Under God” in school in a Pledge of Allegiance, as long as they aren’t being forced to take bible study classes or learn the Ten Commandments. I’m cool with all that. When it comes to religion I would prefer they learn it in home, church and their own Sunday school classes.
But there are apparently some people out there who believe if their children are being introduced to yoga in school, they are automatically being indoctrinated into Hinduism. Yes, this is actually happening and it made my head spin.
A elementary school in Encinitas, California has been under fire for offering this class to its students. An online petition to pull the class from the school altogether has also started to make its way around the internet, despite the option for parents to “opt out” their child from the program.
The superintendent of the school was quoted in the New York Times saying:
“That’s why we have an opt-out clause … If your faith is such that you believe that simply by doing the gorilla pose, you’re invoking the Hindu gods, then by all means your child can be doing something else.”
Amen! If you think that by teaching some physical activity and peace to your children will make them run off and join a Hindu church, well by all means, opt your child out of the class. But there is no reason to demand the entire school pull it. Ever stop to think there are parents out there who want their children to participate in a yoga class? It’s been found that it can help young children calm themselves and be more focused when it comes to learning.
Can you think of what the world would be like if our children, the entire next generation was able to meditate and peacefully learn how to meditate?
The Dalai Lama said it perfectly:
Image via iStockphoto/Olga Zorina Courtnage