Story at a glance
- AL.com reports the Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill in a 73-25 vote to allow boards of education to offer yoga as an elective.
- The bill, however, does away with any religious overtones, prohibiting the use of chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas and namaste greetings.
- Yoga was banned in public schools decades ago due to its connection to Eastern religions.
A nearly 30-year ban on yoga in Alabama public schools may be soon coming to an end.
AL.com reports the Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill in a 73-25 vote to allow boards of education to offer yoga as an elective. Local school boards would get to decide on the frequency and duration of the classes. The measure is now headed to the Alabama Senate.
In 1993, the Alabama Board of Education voted to ban yoga and meditation from K-12 schools due to its connection to Eastern religions.
The bill passed this week aims to allow students to learn and practice poses, exercises and stretching techniques, but does away with any religious overtones, prohibiting the use of chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas and namaste greetings, according to the news outlet.
State Rep. Jeremy Gray (D) has pushed to remove the ban for the past three years. A former football player at North Carolina State who’s been practicing yoga for several years, Gray said the exercises benefit the students mentally and physically.
“Concentration. Breathing. A lot of young people deal with their temperament. Anger. And so, yoga helps with that,” he told AL.com.
As 25 representatives in the House voted against the bill, Gray said he believes a lot of people may be miseducated about yoga.
“A lot of my colleagues just got a lot of emails about it being a part of Hinduism. If you can do it at the local YMCA, you can do it at churches, why is it a problem when it comes to K-12 public schools? Some people, you can never change their minds,” he said.
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