Alabama lifts yoga ban in schools, but meditation remains banned
Southern State Governor Kay Ivey on Friday repealed a 30-year-old law that banned the popular practice, allowing public schools to teach and practice yoga, albeit stripped of its cultural, spiritual and religious.
âAll yoga instruction will be limited exclusively to poses, exercises and stretching techniques,â says the new law. These poses should use English names, such as the “down dog” and “the warrior”.
During this time it is said: “Chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, induction of hypnotic states, guided images and namaste greetings will be expressly prohibited”, which means that meditation , Hindu / Buddhist style, is prohibited.
The state, dominated by conservative Protestants, banned yoga in public schools three decades ago, saying it could not be separated from its Hindu beliefs.
Albert Mohler, theologian and president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote that yoga was inherently Hindu and that it contradicted the teachings of the Christian church.
âThe yoga embrace is a symptom of our postmodern spiritual confusion, and, to our shame, this confusion reaches the church,â he wrote.
This view has still not left Alabama schools. The new law requires parents to sign an authorization letter to allow their children to learn yoga in school.
âI understand that yoga is part of the Hindu religion,â the letter must say.
In addition, local school boards will have the choice of allowing yoga or withdrawing from it.
The effort to allow yoga in schools was led by a young African-American lawmaker, Jeremy Gray.
The new law “puts the health and well-being of our children first and brings Alabama schools into the 21st century,” the state’s Democratic Party said in a statement.