Yoga taught as PE is popping up in schools across the country, raising viable questions about separation of church and state. With its Eastern origins and spiritual component, parents are not wrong to wonder if exposure to yoga is tantamount to Eastern religious indoctrination.
One school in a southern California suburb has found a compromise by changing Sanskrit names for poses and to Western, child-friendly names (like “airplane” instead of “Virabhadrasana III”), dropping chanting and om’s altogether and even going so far as to eliminate poses requiring hands in the prayer position.
Removal Sanskirt names and overt spirituality does not diminish the physical and mental benefits of a regular practice. Indeed non-denominational, general confidence-boosting mantras achieve the same end.
Or do they?
Researchers at the University of San Diego and University of Virginia have an eye on those kids downward dogging in southern California. We look forward to their precedent-setting findings.