When Is Yoga, Yoga?

Commentary by Roger Oakland

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, students in public schools cannot be indoctrinated with any specific religious belief. Education must be religiously neutral. However, it can be documented that when children are being introduced to yoga and witchcraft in public schools, parents are told not be alarmed.

For example, imagine the following scenario. You are a Christian parent and your six-year old son is attending a public school. When he arrives home from school, he enthusiastically tells his mother what he learned in school that day. He sits down on the floor and takes a yoga position. He then places his hands together at the center of his chest, as if he is praying. He tells his mother he has learned how to be “centered” at a class he was taking in school.

A mother who attended a seminar I was speaking at in South Carolina told me this story. She also gave me a newsletter that was sent home to her from the school with her child. This is what the note stated:

Our students are learning yoga. Here’s some information about this form of exercise. Yoga is not a religion. It is a scientific system of exercises designed to strengthen bones, stretch muscles, massage internal organs, increase blood flow, and develop flexibility of the joints, tendons, and ligaments. Overall, the result of both adults and children is a pervading feeling of peace, of wholeness, and a general sense of well being.

The mother, a Christian, was dumfounded that her child, a public school student, was actually being indoctrinated into eastern religion. When she addressed the school officials, they insisted that yoga was scientific, wholesome, and definitely not religious. The mother decided to do some research. When she searched the Internet, she found information about the teacher who was teaching her child yoga techniques. As well as teaching her child during the day, the teacher also instructed yoga “philosophy” seminars for adults. The teacher’s web site stated that the evening seminars were taught “outdoors around the sacred fire just as the Ancient Yogis before us!” While yoga classes for public school children were classified as science during the day, at night, her yoga classes enhanced “spiritual” enlightenment for adults.

Now, please reason with me. How can the same instructor tell parents in public schools that yoga is science, when her web site explains that yoga is sacred and spiritual? Isn’t this contradiction absurd?

I am Roger Oakland. This has been a biblical perspective to help understand the times.