The following comes from a November 7 story in the Los Angeles Times.
Parents in this seaside town are in a twist over yoga, saying that adding the ancient practice of meditative exercise to the school curriculum is tantamount to religious indoctrination into Hinduism.
School officials never thought that yoga, practiced by roughly 22 million Americans, would be controversial when they accepted a $533,000 grant from a local yoga studio to include Ashtanga yoga in a program where students also learn about healthy eating and cultivate small gardens.
“We’ve got a ton of yoga in Encinitas,” said school board member Carol Skiljan, an occasional yoga practitioner.
Encinitas has several yoga studios, particularly along the stretch of Coast Highway 101 that runs through the retro-funky Leucadia neighborhood. Yoga is taught at the local YMCA; at nearby Camp Pendleton, it is used to help Marines who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after having been in combat.
But soon after yoga teachers began leading students at five elementary schools in twice-weekly sessions of stretching, breathing and relaxing, four dozen parents protested to the school board, saying yoga is a system of spiritual beliefs.
School officials quickly announced that parents could choose to have their children excused from yoga class.
But attorney Dean Broyles, representing the parents, said a lawsuit may be necessary to oust yoga from the school district.
“I think school officials are confused about Eastern mysticism,” said Broyles, president and chief counsel for the Escondido-based National Center for Law & Policy, which deals with issues of religious freedom and Christian values.
“If this were a program letting children sit silently and engage in Christian prayer, the district would never allow it,” Broyles said.
So far, school officials are standing firm. The yoga classes are set to expand into the district’s other four elementary schools in January, while researchers from the University of San Diego and the University of Virginia study whether yoga helps improve attendance at the schools and reduces fighting and bullying….
The grant comes from the Jois Foundation. Yoga teacher Krishna Pattabhi Jois, whose followers included Madonna and Sting, lived in Encinitas before returning to his native India, where he died in 2009 at age 93. Many consider Jois’ stay in Encinitas to be the beginning in the U.S. of Ashtanga yoga, which emphasizes vigorous exertion.
The foundation is supported by hedge-fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II and his wife, Sonia, who were followers of Jois.
Eugene Ruffin, chief executive of Jois Yoga Corp. in Encinitas, said he hopes the program in the Encinitas schools becomes a model for schools throughout California once officials see “the good benefits both for kids and the school system.”
Ruffin said he is flummoxed by the criticism and the threat of a lawsuit.
“It’s hard to know how to respond to someone who says if you touch your toes, you’re inviting the devil into your soul,” Ruffin said. People who go to his yoga studio on Coast Highway 101 are predominantly Christians and Jews, and none have felt their religious faith shaken, said Ruffin, a self-identified Catholic.
Under the grant, the district has hired 11 yoga teachers at $35 an hour; students get two 40-minute sessions per week. “This is not five-day-a-week yoga,” Ruffin said.
Broyles accuses officials of “circling the wagons” to protect a generous financial grant. He said the yoga poses that the teachers are now leading the children in performing are, at their base, prayers to Hindu deities, which makes them an inappropriate addition to the curriculum….
To read entire story, click here.
NYTIMES 2/27/2012 ”YOGA & SEX SCANDALS – NO SURPRISE HERE”: ” Hatha yoga — the parent of the styles now practiced around the globe — began as a branch of Tantra. In medieval India, Tantra devotees sought to fuse the male and female aspects of the cosmos into a blissful state of consciousness….”
Come on parents.. Don’t give up. It is part of an Eastern religion and does indoctrinate them into such forms of religion.
Yoga is pagan prayer. It is that simple. That people do not realize what they are doing makes the spread of this more efficacious. God bless these people for fighting these indoctrinators into occult theology.
Thinking of yoga as just a simple exercise routine is extremely naive. The word yoga in Sanskrit means “yoke” or “union”. In Hinduism it stands for away to join a person with the divine. Obviously they are not taking about the Holy Trinity here. Mitche Pacwa in his book “Catholics and the New Age” cautions that “Hindus did not devise these exercises for athletic limbering or muscle building. All were meant to lead the practitioner to enlightenent and the awareness of his or her inner divinity”. That should raise a red flag. Seems like everyone wants to be a little god these days.
Laurette excellent comments, I hope they do their research as you have given a few good ones here. You are so right about what you said “Seems like everyone wants to be a little god these days.” that is so true, or they want to be a big god.
Do the yoga pimps inform the people that one of the many hush hush tenets of yoga is to invite the serpent energy to come reside in one’s spine forever?
The Encinitas School District received a grant of $533,000 from a local yoga studio. I didn’t know yoga studios were that lucrative. Now the school district pays 11 teachers $35 per hour, for two 40-minute sessions, a week at five elementary school and hopes to expand the yoga program into four other elementary schools in the district. It sounds to me that in a short time the local yoga studios and their teachers will soon recoup the generous $533,000 grant and will begin making a profit from the program at the public schools. Yoga is a religion and should not be taught in public schools. The district claims yoga “reduces fighting and bullying.” Children also need to be taught kindness to animals and serenity. For this, I propose the district bring in Franciscan monks from the Oceanside Mission San Luis Rey to teach the children about St. Francis of Assisi and about being kind to animals and the peace and serenity that comes with his philosophy of love. The district could pay the monks $35 per hour, same as the yoga teachers. Do you think the open-minded school district and parents of Encinitas would accept this program? One more reason that we must get school vouchers so we can get our children out of the public schools.
Amen! Sarah. Amen!
Why not invest the money in a music program, classical etc…I heard if you play the piano you can learn math better, the flute etc.
come on, you folks are ridiculous. I have taken yoga classes for several years–it is a great way to exercise; and no “evil spirits” have ever been invited in! I think yoga in schools is a good, fun way to help children lose weight and get healthy.
Eucharistic Adoration and giving yourself completely to God is a great way to relax. Do you think we should allow this in public schools ?
Watching what you put in your mouth, is the best way to lose weight.
You don’t need the Hindi religion/Yoga to do stretching exercises.
I suggest you read up on what you are doing, before you continue doing it.
Betty Eucharistic Adoration! Excellent point you made! Maybe they can offer that at this school too. Why not? Watch them pull Yoga out.
Miriam you are the one who is ridiculous. You are an adult who chose to do yoga but you have no right to tell a parent that their child has to do what you already do…..their not your children!
Miriam, check into the writings of the head exorcist in Rome and what he says about such things.
Yoga (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग, /ˈjəʊɡə/, yoga) is a commonly known generic term for physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines which originated in ancient India.
Specifically, yoga is one of the six āstika (“orthodox”) schools of Hindu philosophy. It is based on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.
Various traditions of yoga are found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.
It is a religion. See Wikipedia.
On All Saints Day, at communion time the song called “Saints of God and Glory” in the 2012 Breaking Bread Book #213, they sang Mahatma Gandhi and a few other non-Catholics. (I did report it to the Paster and Diocese Bishop since it violates the CCC.)
C.S.Lewis lost a friend to suicide from his involvement in yoga which accesses dark powers through opening chakras and novices can be doing this thinking they’re simply doing exercises. Johnette Benkovic says to never do yoga at anytime ever. I don’t know about the rest of you but I am getting pretty tired of the constant hammering of pagans and satanists (aka aclu) against our schools. Why should we even pay taxes to support these institutions if they’re not only NOT teaching what students need to learn about our world and how to survive in it but are actually crippling their thinking processes.
These Parents are right! I applaud these parents efforts to stop this. You can still have programs that advocate healthy eating and exercising without adding the name Yoga in it. Just so they don’t meditate in their prayer form. It should be a parents choice anyhow….they shouldn’t be forced to have their children in some kind of meditation classes without a parents consent. While some parents see nothing wrong with Yoga, we have to respect the fact that some parents of faith may not want this for their child either.
Lots of Christians use yoga for its medical benefits without getting into the Hare Krishna movement. Transcendental Meditation came into its own in the 1970s and was even the basis of the famed medical study “The Relxation Response” that showed meditation to be medically beneficial in reducing blood pressure and stress. Look into these things. Anybody who can calm kids down should have our support. I medidate to relax and am a cradle Catholic. This controversy is over the top, folks.
goodcause, same advice as Miriam, look into what the head exorcist in Rome says about such things.
People who live in the asphault jungle have it the worst. a. every step they take is on a hard, flat surface; b. how relaxed can you get while walking around the block while holding your can of mace at the ready?; c. the visual environment of beautiful concrete and glass buildings must bring you to a state of nirvana; traffic fumes are so wonderful to gag on constantly and are no doubt beneficial to the lungs and heart; d. but not to worry, because you can take a weekend off and drive into the mountains, where after hours of intense freeway terror and more traffic fumes and factory smog you eventually reach your motel where you can begin to relax … by the concrete pool with plastic trees just off the highway where you hear the sounds of nature in between the puffs and chortles of truck traffic; e. but after a night of bliss in the motel room watching TV and learning of the great benefits that await you from your government which exists to help you, you then rise early the next morning, assume the shape of a pretzel, meditate on God and creation for twelve minutes, until roosters begin … rather, the diesel trucks begin to thicken on the highway once again … so you chug your complementary decaf coffee while hurrying so you can sit outside and watch the sun come up, but miss it by only minutes but manage to seat yourselves on the veranda in time to greet all the other motel guests jabbering about where to drive for breakfast, all the whle prepping their psyches for the sardine can diners with happy and fully recovering city slickers. Only hours later you will be prepared for the drive home where dealing with gridlock freeways and then insane street traffic will now be easy for you after that weekend of bliss, where you were able to spot some birds while looking up in those momentary periods at the traffic signals which you don’t see in your city air; f., once back home you are now free to meditate in peace while your special tea steeps, because you forgot to bring it with you on your vacation; g. or you managed to save enough to stay in a luxury hotel in Vegas for two nights and gamble all day while occasionally walking the Strip and oggling the near naked women and wierd as all get out sodomites vying for your money and attention, and wading through countless illegal immigrants trying to hand you little business cards enticing you to call some number for some exotic and erotic sensual pleasures. Wow. But once back to your own home where meditation can be carried out, you can relax with TV, Stereo, neighbor’s leaf blower, lawnmower, school bus, trash collection truck, delivery van, neurotic dogs barking and kids screaming while being beaten by bullies and abusers … yep, pretzelesque meditation will take you to Heaven every time.
Sounds like the movie made a while back where a man goes berserk living a life like the one you described. I didn’t see it…was it ‘cracked up’? Something like that.
JLS you are funny….good comments
Or go to “Women of Grace” online…they cover all of these new age plagues posing as simple meditation. Also, Catholic Answers has good information about the dangers of yoga. Don’t kid yourself, goodcause…judging by some of your posts, I would say you’re not one to make that call that it’s over the top to question yoga in the schools. We can’t even say the pledge of allegiance anymore but we can have some far out yogis come in all smiles and good feelings (come into my house said the spider to the fly)…no wonder this country is such a mess. Show me a country based on hinduism that was ever a democracy. India would still be third rate, third world dump had the Brits not united them. It’s pathological for children to be taught to love anti-democratic ideals and learn to hate their own history! And I hate the way they’re stealing history and changing everything to suit their agenda. I digress, but it’s all connected.
I think our schools need to get back to teaching the students common courtesy and the basics and cut out all this nonsense. Physical education of the traditional kind can also teach good sportsmanship and takes up some of that extra energy that young people have to calm them down for the classroom. If Jews and Christians and others cannot have meditation time for prayer, the students surely do not need yoga meditation. I can calm down far better reading the Psalms.or the Beatitudes.
Doctors also know now that young people who are involved in traditional sports, but not to excess, have better health even when they are older. It seems to help prepare the bodies immune system for the future. Just walking helps the immune system.
Anne T yes I agree, exercise and sports is excellent! kids need to burn off all that energy. I knew of a school who kept their students busy with sports during lunch recesses, they had a walking club in the morning before school started. I saw those kids fought less, they kept their minds in some kind of sport activity. For the ones who didn’t have the gift for sports, they offered music lessons, parents paid for that to keep that program. It think it was a small fee a semester.
Even though my very devout Catholic sister uses Yoga EXERCISES ONLY for her health, we certainly don’t need it taught in our schools that don’t even do a good job on the 3rs!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Kenneth I agree. My grandsons took Tae Kwon Do for several years and got their black belt, and I encouraged it because it teaches one to protect oneself without having to kill someone, but I do not think it should be taught in public schools. They shouted in another language, but no religious meditations were used. Yoga is all right if just the exercises are done, but it should not be included in a public school’s curriculum either. Certain types of yoga should be avoided altogether by Christians, especially the one that starts with a “K”, something like Kalinduni. I forget how to spell it.
The correct spelling of the yoga to be especially avoided is Kundalini.
You hit the nail on the head – as ‘violent’ as that is. It’s one thing to ban religious education in public schools, quite another to redefine religions to selectively ban them. That is what is taking place. Meaningful, appropriate discipline in the schools would go a lot further in quelling the “bullying” problem. It’s behavior that is easily defined, recognized and dealt with. But it would mean establishing some common sense rules and guidelines. Of course in public education – common sense is far from common.
Same ol’ New Age-Old Age garbage. Our people are getting dumber by the day.
“Lot’s of Christians use yoga for its medical benefits without getting into the Hare Krishna movement.”…..said the spider to the fly.
Lots of Christians, namely CATHOLICS always use you’re same kind of logic and this is why they were able to be pulled into the web of voting for Obama.
I used my ‘spider to the fly’ and I hadn’t come to your post yet, Catherine. “Great minds’ and all that. haha
I personally believe that yoga, judo, and other physical/mental activities that have been imported from PAGAN countries are at least dangerous to the Catholic faith, if not down right occasions of sin. Recently I was assigned to a church by an archbishop, to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. The faithful were paying a fee to use the church, but the pastoral board wanted us out, so they scheduled these meetings for the youth in the church basement, WHILE MASS WAS BEING CELEBRATED upstairs. Even with the doors closed, all the during Mass everyone could hear the yells and shouts from the judo, karate crowd below, who did not bother to attend Mass, These exercises were also held on Sunday, and NONE of the children attended ANY Mass that day. Also a shrine to a Buddhist priest was set up, with a Japanese flag surrounding it. All this is taking place in a French speaking parish, where the majority of the people are/were Catholic. So, judging from my experience, if something drives a person away from Christ, that something must be avoided. The chants used at yoga can be used to call upon a false god or even the devil, so all these pagan practices must not play any part in Christian education.
That sounds like my version of hell on earth right there.
Father Karl you are correct, I’m glad that you as a priest is educated enough to have knowledge in this topic, I noticed that many lack that understanding. God bless you.
The posthumously published letters of Thomas Merton indicate the danger of getting involved in the far eastern religions. Merton evidently failed to recognize the spiritual severity of the issue. It seems to me that he was taken in by it. That was his last episode in life on planet earth.
Good example JLS A woman in our church just loves Merton, and I think he’s a pernicious influence only because his later writings are so off-center and totally twist Christ’s teachings. It’s similar with Nietzche, who though everyone quotes everything he wrote while sane, he ended up going insane the last ten years of his life. Would anyone believe in Jesus if he’d gone off the rails before he died? I will never understand the attraction this evil philosopher has for people nor do I understand why people seem to think they have to study Merton when there are so many better and faithful writers about faith and things that matter…Pope Benedict VI for one.
My sister takes Yoga, and there are NO chants, just exercises. I have told her to walk out if they ever start the chant crap which I know she a devout Catholic would do.
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Sadly many Catholic school teachers have no problem with yoga either. Some parishes even allow yoga classes in the hall. Most people have no idea what a spiritual influence yoga can have.
I have a proposal; how about all of us get involved somehow in catechesis. If this publication does not bear fruit; it’s useless.
After all it’s the era of the laity.
Mbuku Mbithuka, that is a good idea, but until most churches do get better catechists, and even after that, the best way for parents to catechize is to start of home. Many parents are catechizing their own small children at home. The three year olds already know the “Our Father” and the “Hail Mary”.in some families I know. There are pictures of Jesus and the Ten Commandments explained for children on their walls. The children are being taught to read good books, including religious classics by their own mother and father and grandparents. Married couples should not rely on the catechists at their local church when time for First Communion comes around as many of them are not good and the books watered down. Teach your children yourselves by good books, CDs, DVDs and your own virtuous behavior. If one is poor, there are free Catholic libraries at many churches and books are cheap, especially at second hand bookstores. Catholic parents also exchange materials with each other when their own children have outgrown them. “Where there is a will, there is a way”.Remember — it is the family that is the domestic church. I taught my own fifty-year-old daughter the Ten Commandments when she was a child, and she ended up paying for something she and her cousin had stolen after I read and explained them to her. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Yoga was introduced during the hippy-dippy days of the sixties. This orientalizing movement encompassed transcendental meditation and similar pagan practices. Many highly educated people fell into this trap. I fondly recall two dear people, now deceased, who quietly dropped me and my wife from their roster of friends for not sharing their new-found affinity for this fad. Both had been Catholics. The Trappist monk Tom Merton is still celebrated in Louisville for his dabblings in eastern religions, attempting some sycretistic fusion between Catholicism and Buddhism. One former colleague, after taking up Yoga, left the Church and became a Buddhist. These stories are real. Do not play with fire! If you need to exercise, join a Gym!
Yoga came into this country in the early fifties through a housewife in Cleveland Ohio. I kid you not. Read about it sometime. She had a vision or dream of one of those majarishee whatchamacallits (sic)
Correction: that should be “mothers and fathers” in the end of my seventh line.
Fight on parents! Yoga IS a religion, and why do people follow……..so they can pretend they are free as butterflies, live in la la land and chant…..to what? So many catholics have left our Jesus. It is the “in thing” just as in the hippie days, only now the hippies are yuppies and guppies and puppies and omgosh!! Yoga is boring anyway, give me military jumping jacks any day.
Yoga cannot be separated from its roots in Hinduism. Even if a Christian is doing the Yoga and thinking about Christian “things”, there is no way of knowing what the Yoga teacher is meditating interiorly (inviting demonic presence, etc). For excellent info on Yoga by a Catholic (Sandra Miesel) go to http://www.crossveil.org
I also suggest the entries on yoga at the WOG Blog (written by Susan Brinkman – she also has a good booklet out) https://www.womenofgrace.com/blog/?cat=11
sometimes yoga is just exercise…like tai chi.
people are so darned afraid of anything new, they see the devil lurking in protcter & gamble’s logo, blah, blah, blah.
next people will say being vegetarian is ba’al worship, because the cow god (ba’al) doesn’t want his fellow cows being eaten…
max you judge but it is obviously that you have not been in understanding of what Yoga really is. Sorry but you are the one who is wrong and using the vegetarian example did not even match this….plus this is a public school, parents should be the ones who decide not you.
Max, I read somewhere that the story about Proctor and Gamble being evil was started because one person, a CEO, investor or such did give some of their own money from their own pocketbook if I remember correctly, to the First Church of Satan in San Francisco. That was all it took to defame the whole company. Most of these urban legends have a grain of truth to them but just get exaggerated and out of hand.
You know, if A CEO or a Director of a company was giving money to the Church of Satan; I would not buy anything from that company. I want nothing to do with Satan, absolutely nothing, not even what he touches at six levels of separation..
Then don’t buy StarBucks
There’s an ostrich hole over there, Max. Have fun.
Brad you are so funny….lol
Considering the vow one takes to raise their child in the faith and care for their souls and see to their instruction in the faith during baptism, I am totally clueless as to why a Catholic child would be in a public school.
The answer is that not everyone can home school and not everyone can afford private school education…and are there any good faithful Catholic schools around their areas…so most likely public school education may be what they can realistically have.
It takes great effort and a great support/volunteer system from within a church parish or group to help parents out if they choose to home school….and I mean it takes that great effort and great support BIG TIME. I know when my two eldest were in Elementary, I tried home schooling for the first time, I hardly had support, I found some support with a protestant group but we felt like outsiders, they were called unschool or something like that….it was hard to start a group, I tried and wasn’t able to find other local Catholic kids our kids age at that time. As subjects got harder I didn’t have the extra money to pay for tutoring or find help. I remember those good ole days of suffering and struggling….I felt alone even with some friends who home schooled in the Catholic faith. My protestant friends had great church support, I tried joining in with their support but it was not Catholic and I didn’t attend their church so some of the people there weren’t very friendly. I tried my own small support group back then with the traditional Catholics but I think they considered us too NO and they weren’t very welcoming…yup those were the good ole days….I appreciate the charter school my kids attend part time now…One in 6th grade and another in high school. I praise God for this charter school, even though kinda far from my house but all worth it and I pray it stays that way……even though there are more protestants going there but I notice that their values are not in conflict with ours so we are fine and happy here thus far. Praise Be Jesus!