“Prohibition” of yoga in the public schools of Alabama continues despite an agenda item in the February 14 Work Session of Alabama State Board of Education—”Amend Alabama Administrative Code Regarding Yoga Rules”.
According to reports, the Board took no further action, nor did any related item appear on a business agenda or work session agenda in any subsequent meeting. Alabama State Department of Education Administrative Code (290-040-040-.02) continues as the current regulation, which includes: “School personnel shall be prohibited from using any techniques that involve the induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, meditation or yoga”.
Memorandum from State Superintendent of Education dated June 21, 2006, is still posted on the Department’s website, which stated: “Our best advice and guidance from the Department of Education is that yoga not be offered during regular school hours or after regular school hours to public school students on a public school campus in Alabama”.
Instructional Services FAQs on the Department’s website modified on July 9, 2014 state: Yoga may not be offered during regular school hours or after regular school hours to public school students on a public school campus in Alabama.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said 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 been offering yoga in some form to their students and some Alabama churches had also reportedly offered/announced yoga programs. If yoga was rewarding for the students of Alabama public universities, why Alabama was keeping it away from its K-12 public school students; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, wondered.
Rajan Zed urged Alabama Governor Kay Ellen Ivey, Alabama Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric G. Mackey and Alabama State Board of Education President Pro Tem Jeffrey Newman 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, Zed pointed out.
Rajan 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, Zed added.