Life

Elementary School Apologizes for Classroom Yoga

123RF

Last Updated on February 5, 2022

A school in Georgia issued an apology recently after parents complained about elements of classroom yoga designed to reduce stress.

Wow. School sure has changed since I was a student.

First, sitting “Indian style” became a thing of the past. (Well, at least referring to it as such is a thing of the past, out an apparent attempt to avoid offending Native Americans, even though it can reasonably be argued that “Indian Style” uses the “Lotus position” that dates back to the country of India.) Now, it has an annoyingly-cute little name I’m glad I never had to hear every day of my school life.

Now, it seems, students learn yoga. Can you imagine?

The controversy came after some parents believed that classroom yoga included religious overtones they either didn’t agree with or felt were inappropriate.

The principal responded via statement to USA Today, calling the yoga a “de-stressing technique.” I don’t know that teachers were that concerned with our stress level; or maybe it was that despite being in school instead of being outside playing, we didn’t ever get so stressed that “de-stressing techniques” — other than recess — were even necessary to begin with.

The school, however, has removed the word namaste, a Hindu greeting, from the yoga instruction. Namaste, in Hinduism, means “I bow to the divine in you:”

Namaste or namaskar is used as a respectful form of greeting, acknowledging and welcoming a relative, guest or stranger. It is used with good byes as well.

Though it is associated with a foreign religion, there doesn’t seem to me to be anything overly “religious” about it in such a context. Though “bless you” in response to a sneeze surely had a religious origin as a shortening of “God bless you,” I don’t see that as a religious message so much as a courtesy said to someone who sneezes; I’ve heard non-believers use the phrase. I doubt seriously if there is any attempt to convert students learning yoga to de-stress and refocus on their classwork to Hinduism.

I’ve never tried yoga myself, so I can’t speak to how well it helps you refocus or de-stress. I have seen some of the strange positions yoga people bend themselves into, and I’m afraid the work to get myself in one of those positions (and the fear I might not get out of them) would cause more stress, not less.

Have you tried yoga before? Did it de-stress you?

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

1 Comment

  • I love yoga; it relaxes the mind and stretches the body beautifully. This is, with muscular dystrophy, the ONLY exercise I can do. I very highly recommend it. And I love the way Hindus see God. “God is in me, as me.”
    I love other things about it: Om means “the sound of the breathing of the Universe.” And Namaste is beautiful, too.

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