OK, parents, question time. Do you send your kid to school so they can learn? Have their minds broadened? Or would you be one of the parents threatening to sue your kid's school if they introduced a yoga program?
If you're the latter, get thee to California! You can get in on the ground floor and join the parents who are all aflutter because their little snowflakes are being subjected to a conditioning and strengthening workout they say is really a cover for indoctrination into Eastern religion. And get this: it's not even taxpayer funded!
The real crux of the problem seems to be that the Encinitas Union School District has accepted a $533,000 grant from the Jois Foundation, a nonprofit that specializes in spreading ashtanga yoga around the globe. The father and lawyer (because, of course) spearheading the protest insists that this is a violation of freedom of religion, and he will sue if they don't put a kibosh on all that Omming in the gymnasium.
Considering I've yet to meet a religious zealot who practices yoga to keep the belly fat at bay, I'm not surprised that the district insists that this program is totally devoid of religion. In fact, it's being taught by district staff. The only thing the Jois folks have done is put up the money and trained the staff to be yoga teachers.
Sounds good enough to me. Especially in light of the childhood obesity crisis they're always yammering on about. I'd like to see alternate forms of physical education, especially something like yoga that appeals to kids who aren't your prototypical jocks.
We need to give our kids options. And yoga is something kids can do anywhere, any time. It's something they can take with them and continue after they've graduated. Which I always thought was the point of physical education in schools to begin with: to create a life-long love of movement.
Learning, in fact, is why I wouldn't care if my kid DID learn that yoga was rooted in Eastern religions. I wouldn't want her being "indoctrinated" either, but I think it's fair to say that there is a difference between the two. Most of us send our kids to school to have their minds blown wide open, to have them find out more about the world, not just their backyard.
Where do you stand on this? Would you be joining the lawsuit or glad to see a school trying to expand kids' minds?
Image via tomas sobek/Flickr