Alabama lawmakers get stuck after lifting the law on yoga in Alabama schools

0

Alabama’s 28-year ban on yoga in schools for fear it would ‘convert students to Hinduism’ stalls after lawmakers reach a tie in Senate

  • After a tie vote, the bill meant lifting the decades-long ban on yoga in Alabama public schools that had stalled in the Senate
  • The bill continues to face opposition from Christian conservative groups who believe the practice will promote Hinduism
  • The Alabama Board of Education voted in 1993 to ban yoga, hypnosis, and meditation in public school classrooms
  • Yoga, a Hindu health practice that typically includes meditation, stretching, and breath control, has been banned in Alabama public schools for 28 years
  • If passed, the bill would allow yoga to be taught as an elective to students with disabilities focused on language and poses

A bill intended to lift the decades-long ban on yoga in Alabama public schools has stalled in the Senate as it continues to face opposition from Christian conservative groups who believe the practice will promote Hinduism.

The Alabama Senate Judicial Committee has not reversed the ban after a vote on the bill ended in a draw on Wednesday. The ban has been in place for 28 years.

Despite the setback, committee chair Senator Tom Whatley said he would bring the bill back for another vote if more members are present.

Yoga, a Hindu health practice that typically includes meditation, stretching, and breath control, has been banned in Alabama public schools since 1993

Yoga, a Hindu health practice that typically includes meditation, stretching, and breath control, has been banned in Alabama public schools since 1993

On Wednesday, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee failed to pass a bill that would allow yoga to be taught in Alabama schools when the bill's vote ended in a tie

On Wednesday, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee failed to pass a bill that would allow yoga to be taught in Alabama schools when the bill's vote ended in a tie

On Wednesday, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee failed to pass a bill that would allow yoga to be taught in Alabama schools when the bill’s vote ended in a tie

Yoga, a Hindu health practice that typically includes meditation, stretching, and breath control, has been banned in Alabama public schools since 1993.

According to the Associated Press, the Alabama Board of Education voted in 1993 to ban yoga, hypnosis, and meditation in public school classrooms. The ban was imposed by conservative groups.

Alabama State Rep. Jeremy Gray, a former soccer player turned yoga instructor, filed a bill in February to lift the yoga bid in the Senate, AP reports.

But conservative Christian groups are still opposed to the practice nearly three decades later, as the argument of yoga in schools would push Hinduism on the students.

“Yoga is a very big part of the Hindu religion,” Becky Gerritson, director of Eagle Forum of Alabama, told the committee in a public hearing.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Gerritson has argued against the commission that yoga would impose beliefs that may not match the children’s parents on students.

If passed, this bill would allow instructors to come into classrooms as young as kindergarten and lead these children through guided imagery, which is a spiritual practice and out of the sight of their parents. And we just believe this is not appropriate. ‘ she said.

If successful, the bill would allow yoga to be taught as an elective to students – but there would still be limitations, especially regarding language and postures.

All postures are limited to sitting, standing, leaning back, turning and balancing. All poses, exercises and stretching techniques will have English descriptive names only, ”the bill said.

“Chanting, mantras, mudras, the use of mandalas and namaste greetings are expressly prohibited,” the bill specifies.

Advertisement