Yoga has often been described as a lot of things. For these group of parents in Encinitas, they call it “unconstitutional”.
Parents at the Encinitas Union Schools are threatening to sue the district for offering free yoga classes. The parents are concerned that yoga teaches Hinduism and is in fact, unconstitutional.
“There’s really a lot of unease among a lot of parents,” explained Mary Eady, one of the parents who supports the ban.
“Yoga practices and poses are not merely exercise; they’re religious practices,” added Marsha Qualls who explained that the practice was similar to a prayer.
Due to their deep distress over the classes, some parents have opted to remove their kids from these classes.
“They are getting indoctrinated by this Hindu religious program,” another parent angrily said. “Because of this, you’re forcing me to segregate my children.”
“There’s a deep concern that the Encinitas Union School District is using taxpayer resources to promote Ashtanga yoga and Hinduism, a religion system of beliefs and practices,” stated attorney Dean Broyles, the lawyer brought on by the parents.
However, despite the threats, school superintendent Tim Baird isn’t backing down.
“Yoga is a worldwide exercise regime utilized by people of many different faiths,” Baird explained. “Yoga is part of our mainstream culture.
“Our goal is that kids get a really healthy workout, that they get a chance to relax and reduce stress. And yoga’s perfect for that, ” he also added.
The Encinitas free yoga program is made possible by a $533,000 grant from the Jois Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes Ashtanga yoga worldwide.