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Alabama legislature stalls bill to lift ban on yoga in schools over Hinduism concerns

A bill in the Alabama state legislature to lift a ban on yoga in K-12 schools over concerns that yoga promotes Hindu practices has stalled.

Conservatives groups opposed the measure in a public hearing, saying yoga is a religious practice and promotes Hinduism, The Associated Press reported.

The state's Senate Judiciary Committee voted not to advance the bill but will bring the measure back for another vote in the committee when more members are there to vote.

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The bill, which allows schools to authorize yoga, passed the state House in March in a 73-25 vote. The bill provides strict rules for schools to teach yoga, saying the practice would need to be limited “exclusively to poses, exercises and stretching techniques.”

The name of the poses in yoga would have to be "exclusively English descriptive names” and “chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, and 11 namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited.”

”This whole notion that if you do yoga, you’ll become Hindu — I’ve been doing yoga for 10 years and I go to church and I’m very much a Christian,” said Democratic Rep. Jeremy Gray, who introduced the bill, the AP reported.

Becky Gerritson, director of the conservative group Eagle Forum of Alabama, criticized the bill during the public hearing.

“If this bill passes, then instructors will be able to come into classrooms as young as kindergarten and bring these children through guided imagery, which is a spiritual exercise, and it’s outside their parents’ view. And we just believe that this is not appropriate,” she said, according to the AP.