Yoga Is Not, In Fact, Mind Control

Back in October I wrote about a school district in Encinitas that had incorporated yoga exercises as part of its physical fitness curriculum thanks to a $500,000 donation from the K.P. Jois Foundation, which is an organization that promotes the Ashtanga style of yoga .  Shortly thereafter, the superintendent got a call from attorney Dean Broyles at the National Center for Law and Policy (see the above link for more details), claiming that the program was “unconstitutional” because it was promoting Hinduism.

Despite reassurances by school district officials that the program instituted in the school was just a regimen of breathing, meditation, and stretching to promote physical fitness, coordination, and a little mental focus, Broyles took the district to court to get the program removed.

And lost.

ENCINITAS, Calif. – The Encinitas Union School District is not teaching religion through its yoga classes for students, even though yoga is a religious activity, a judge ruled Monday.

In his nearly two-hour ruling from the bench, Meyer said that even though yoga dates back to 1500 B.C. and has its roots in Hinduism, the EUSD came up with a curriculum for its 30-minute yoga classes that emphasizes respect, proper breathing and posture.

“There’s nothing religious about that,” the judge said.

Basically, the evidence presented during the case supported the claims made by the school.  Yoga may have its roots in religion, but the physical health benefits of yoga can stand on their own merits.

I’m honestly not sure what the ruling would have been if, along with the exercise program, there were just some expository description of some of the history and religious background behind yoga and the poses they used … but my guess is that they didn’t want to take any chances and just left it out to be safe.

According to the judge, a reasonable student would not objectively perceive the advancement of religion in the yoga classes.

Some parents were genuinely worried that by adopting the yoga poses, they were inviting Hindu deities inside of them.  Others compared the treatment their children received after being pulled from the class similar to what occurred in Nazi Germany. Most of them were just worried about their children being indoctrinated into another religion before they were finished doing it themselves.

In other words … I honestly don’t think the kids are the ones we should be worrying about.

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9 Responses to Yoga Is Not, In Fact, Mind Control

  1. Jeez. I think you’re right–it’s not the kids we need to worry about. Yet. Give them a few years and they’ll have the same “misguided” (ahem) thoughts as they’re parents. Thank GOD the judge has some common sense. Think of the many customs/habits we all have that are grounded in religious (even pagan) roots. Christmas and Easter come to mind, but there are many more. Even the foods we make….

    A good friend of mine owns a yoga studio. She teaches yoga in schools and businesses. There are lots of benefits, as you know. Studies have shown that meditation can help calm kids and help them focus better in school. I even asked her to write up a meditation for my book because it has so many benefits. The poses, too, are a key component of fitness because they help with flexibility and balance. If you don’t have flexibility and you play a lot of sports, you’re prone to injuries (I know this one first-hand).

    OK. I’ll get off my soap box. I’m just so disappointed that we clog our courts with stupid litigation. You would have thought the parents would have been told all this info before-hand so that no one would run off to their lawyer when their kid came home and did a down dog.

    • Deb, look at my response below – you’ll see that politicians are afraid of yoga for the same reason. And this guy might be governor of Virginia one day. Only in America.

      • I hope to see a day when passages like the ones this guy wrote immediately kills someone’s political career without exception. You already know what priorities he will have when in office, and it won’t be the state constitution.

        • It was, at least, a relief to hear that some of his fellow conservatives think he’s a total fruit, as that one journalist showed. The Republicans really need to take their party back from the Tea Party. I didn’t agree with them before, usually, but at least they weren’t certifiably INSANE.

          • Yeah, I’m glad to see there’s a line that even the current generation of red meat throwing republicans are afraid to cross for risk of sounding *too* crazy.

    • Think of the many customs/habits we all have that are grounded in religious (even pagan) roots.

      Exactly. I don’t see any of us driven to strip off all of our clothes and run naked around a bonfire when celebrating the non-biblical parts of Easter or Christmas. Well, most of us anyway. Depends on how much I’ve had to drink.

      A friend of mine used to study martial arts and tell me the same thing. Each warm up exercise would have some brief description of what it was supposed to represent (i.e. bringing “energy” into your center, projecting it outward, etc.), but it was more just to give a little bit of education background on some of the traditions that have been passed down over the years. As before, no one was running to their local Buddhist or Shinto temple and giving up all of their belongings to start a new life of meditation and asceticism.

      You would have thought the parents would have been told all this info before-hand so that no one would run off to their lawyer when their kid came home and did a down dog.

      They were. They just didn’t care. They were convinced that this was some sort of religious indoctrination. You know, the kind they would completely ignore if this were some sort of fitness program with Christian roots … and biblical mantras for an added bonus.

  2. Oh, this is not a surprise. I’ve recently taken up yoga (I go to a place that claims it is “Christian” yoga -really they just read one Bible verse before you start and that’s it because people are so scared they might accidentally become Hindus or something – Bible Belt for you.) Someone sent me this article, and I made a blog post about it. It concerns a candidate for Lt. Governor of Virginia – you’ll never guess which party – who believes that yoga is of Satan. You can’t make this stuff up.
    http://aliceatwonderland.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/yes-virginia-there-is-devil-yoga/

    • they just read one Bible verse before you start and that’s it because people are so scared they might accidentally become Hindus or something

      I remember when I was six or seven we would do something similar with Cootie shots before we interacted with girls. Y’know, just as a precaution. The difference is that by about the age of eight or nine, we all grew out of it.

      Good lord, how did I miss that post of yours? I heard of that guy, and he’s a goddamned lunatic. Hell, in this day and age, I can understand if someone says they’re Christian and a “man of faith” because we’ve collectively been duped into thinking such a thing is a virtue … but this guy sounds like he should be on a street corner somewhere, shouting at parked cars.

      • Exactly. On what planet does someone like this, as you so aptly put it, goddamned lunatic manage to not only escape asylum, but run for office? And publish something people paid real dollars for? WTF? Even the the majority of Christians are taking BIG LONG steps away from this dude. I don’t get it.

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