Many Alabama city governments offer yoga, but it continues to be “prohibited” in public schools

Many Alabama cities, usually through their parks-recreation departments, reportedly offer/host/conduct or have offered/hosted/conducted in the past various kinds of yoga classes; but Alabama State Department of Education continues to prohibit it in state’s public schools.

Cities of Montgomery, Huntsville, Mobile, Hoover, Dothan, Auburn, Florence, Pelham, Fort Payne, Pell City, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Heflin either now offer/host/conduct or have offered/hosted/conducted yoga classes; an Internet search revealed.

But Alabama Department of Education Administrative Code 290­040­040­.02 continues to declare: School personnel shall be prohibited from using any techniques that involve the induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, meditation or yoga.

Yoga classes offered included Buti Yoga, Boom Mind Yoga, Yin Yoga, Meditative Yoga, Mindful Yoga, Artful Yoga, Power Yoga Sculpt, Yoga on your Lunch Break, Yoga by the River, Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Outdoor Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Intermediate Yoga, Beginning Yoga, Yoga Basics, Basic Yoga, Yoga. Meditation (also prohibited in public schools) was part of one such yoga class. Some cities even offered yoga classes free. City of Orange Beach website defined yoga as: “Yoga is a method of improving oneself in mind, body, and spirit”.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, urged Alabama Department of Education to wake up to the needs of Alabama pupils and amend its Administrative Code, permitting yoga in schools. Somebody needed to remind the Department that we lived in 21st century now.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that this “prohibition” was clearly doing a disservice to Alabama’s K-12 public school students and denying them the valuable opportunities the multi-beneficial yoga provided.

Various public universities of Alabama had also been offering yoga in some form to their students. If yoga was rewarding for the students of Alabama public universities, why Alabama was keeping it away from its K-12 public school students; Rajan Zed wondered; and added that many Alabama churches hosted yoga classes as well.

Zed urged Alabama Governor Kay Ellen Ivey, Alabama Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric G. Mackey and Alabama State Board of Education President Pro Tem Jackie Zeigler to seriously and urgently re-visit the issue and work towards formally introducing yoga as a part of curriculum in all the public schools of the State, thus incorporating highly beneficial yoga in the lives of Alabama’s students.

Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Rajan Zed indicated.

Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

According to a report of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Yoga is the most popular complementary health approach in the United States – used by 14.3% of the adult population, or 35.2 million people”. According to US National Institutes of Health; yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Rajan Zed added.

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