Yoga Classes Ruled Not A Violation Of Religious Rights

A California appeals court ruled last week that Yoga taught in a public school is not a gateway to Hinduism and does not violate the religious rights of students or their parents.

“While the practice of yoga may be religious in some contexts, yoga classes as taught in the district are, as the trial court determined, ‘devoid of any religious, mystical, or spiritual trappings,’” the court wrote in a 3-0 decision.

The parents of two students at an Encinitas district school near San Diego said the yoga classes, which were taught as part of the school’s physical education curriculum, infringed on their children’s constitutional rights.

Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock and their two children had brought the lawsuit claiming yoga promoted Hinduism and inhibited Christianity.

Yoga is now taught at schools across the US, but the district is believed to be the first with full-time yoga teachers at all schools.

A three-year grant from the KP Jois Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes Ashtanga yoga, provides twice-weekly, 30-minute classes to the district’s 5,600 students.

About 30 families opted out of the classes begun in 2011.

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