Is it just stretching or is it religion? Lawsuit seeks to stop yoga class in public schools

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  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    Re: Maudine

    Thanks for pointing out that Sigmund5 was jumping to a false conclusion based upon his prejudgemental point of view about a certain religious/social/political organization.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    raybies wrote:

    "I favor tolerance for all religious expression."

    Nice sentiment.

    But does "tolerance for all religious expression" = "public funding for all religious expression"?

    If so, how are you going to pay for all that religions expression at public expense?

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Feb. 27, 2013 6:40 a.m.

    justamacguy: Have you tried Greek Yoga? ;) (read comments above to get the context...)

    I don't have a problem with religion being taught anywhere and in any form, as long as all religious voices are allowed free expression. I think we rob ourselves of a lot of life because we're so scared that our precious little ones are suddently going to convert to some strange religion and blow up buildings or shave their heads and stop eating hamburgers...

    Honestly, let's let our consciences run free a little... we're all far too stifled the demagogues and fear-mongers. I favor tolerance for all religious expression.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Feb. 26, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    This will only get more convoluted before it gets clearer.

    Religious folks are enamored of telling us that "secularism" and "atheism" are being taught in our public schools and sustained in our halls of government - and that secularism and atheism are "religions"!

    They invoke such absurd arguments in an attempt to convince us that THEY should also have a right to teach their religious ideas in our schools and support their religious ideas in our government.

    "There is no separation of Church and State in the Constitution!" they naively insist.

    Then the same people seem to be split over whether Yoga is or is not a "religion" and should be allowed in public schools.

    Once you deny the separation of Church and State (which is like denying that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration), you open a can of worms that will corrupt the body politic from the inside out.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Feb. 25, 2013 11:56 a.m.

    @ sigmund5: Please read the article before commenting on a story. This school and the associated lawsuit are in California and none of the participants are LDS.

  • sigmund5 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 24, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    Only this could develop from a certain religious/social/political organization. The world is laughing at Utah.

  • justamacguy Manti, UT
    Feb. 24, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    I hate yogurt. Yogurt should not be allowed in schools. It's a disgusting food. Oh, wait. Yoga. That's different.

  • Scovy rexburg, ID
    Feb. 24, 2013 9:24 a.m.

    These parents are probably the ones that grew up during the 90's in families that viewed Disney movies as violent and not appropriate for kids. Now their grown up and with kids of their own fearing yoga might make them turn into some terrorist or violent person.

  • Ramdas Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 23, 2013 10:51 p.m.

    Yoga is not religion, it is a philosophy, a way of looking at life. Religion teaches a person how to interact with God. Yoga teaches one how to interact with oneself and reality. Religion has commandments given by God. Yoga has tenets teaching how to interact with others (non-harming, truth, non-stealing, moderation, non-hoarding) and how to interact with ourselves (purity, contentment, determination, self-study, devotion).

    Do the teachings of religion and the philosophy of Yoga have overlap? Yes but saying Yoga is a religion is like saying a hummingbird is an eagle just because they both fly.

  • JRJ Pocatello, ID
    Feb. 23, 2013 10:14 p.m.

    So since LDS have been taught to "Be Prepared" for
    at least forever, that means anybody who isn't LDS and prepares for the unplanned is adhering to a religious principle? Can we all just stay home, avoid each other, turn off all media, and have Chinese food delivered so we don't have to be influenced by ANYONE? How much more insanity can we take?

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Feb. 23, 2013 6:19 p.m.


    You misread my comment. I said Yoga=Eastern religion as Track & Field=Ancient Greek religion. I never suggested Yoga is Greek.

    To those arguing that it is very religious, keep in mind that you are certainly right as to its history. However, it is not, by and large, practiced as a religious experience anymore. It has far outgrown these religious roots and has become primarily a fitness program. Theeng is right to point to Karate, as it's a very apt comparison.

  • Swedish reader Stockholm, Sweden
    Feb. 23, 2013 1:50 p.m.

    We had the same thing happen here in Stockholm. The national School Board finally decreed that there were no religious aspects in the kind of yoga taught in this school, and that even if the word "aum" was used, it was not used in a religious context (as it apparently is in certain aspects of Hinduism) but in its more secularized, non-confessional usage. Kids were allowed to opt out if they wanted to. This, of course in a country where commencement exercises are traditionally held in Lutheran churches but are not allowed to have any Christian elements anymore. Personally, I see yoga as one of many forms of exercise and not as a religious practice. It's probably all about how it is taught by the teachers.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Feb. 23, 2013 1:20 p.m.

    @ OHBU

    Yoga is S Asian in nature not Greek.

    @ Eliyahu

    Agreed. That is the problem w/ Organized western religion IMO... its all about Conformity and guilt.

    @ eastcoastcoug

    Building on your thoughts... There too many people who are too repressed and/or self-absorbed that just won't accept anything outside their myopic & subjective view off the world.

  • JanSan Pocatello, ID
    Feb. 23, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    We are counseled to be in the world but not of the world. There is no difference here in taking this class then in taking a martial arts class. Yes, Yoga came from religious roots, but there are many classes of yoga where the religion aspect is totally gone from the class and only the physical portion of the class is taught. As long as that is all that is taught then there is no problem teaching it in a school as it is just another form of physical exercise. If the teacher brings the religious aspects into the class and tries to gain converts then that is a totally different story!

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Feb. 23, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    The real danger here is BOTH sides of extremism. Neither side allows diversity and are so uptight (i.e. the plaintiffs claim this is the "worst case...") that they make life miserable for the rest of us.

    As much as I love the US, I prefer the culture in Europe, where they are more secular but also gather in town squares at Christmas to sing carols. They observe all kinds of Christian and Pagan festivals throughout the year. Even the secular Northeast where we live still has Christmas concerts in the schools. Just live and let live. The problem is when we are hypersensitive and constantly offended by everyone. Both ends of society just need to chill and let the rest of us breathe.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Feb. 23, 2013 10:34 a.m.

    I would personally not be opposed to yoga as an educational program as long as children with opposing religious views were allowed to opt out. And yes, in spite of some comments above from those who have a superficial knowledge of yoga, yoga is VERY religious in nature. But so what!

    The real issue is that so many, driven by a flawed interpretaion of the First Amendment, want to attack programs, activities, arts and music or popular culture solely because they are religious in some nature form or possess religious roots. Secular thought police attempting to drive anything "religious" completely from the public square is the real danger. All religionists need to watch out for each other!

    Americans need to come to terms with the pluralistic nature of our society, grow up and learn to tolerate perspectives and practices that differ from their own.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 23, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    Curiously, the parents who are opposed to anything with a tenuous connection to any Eastern religion are often the same ones who complain that "God is being kicked out of our schools" and who demand the right to have school start with prayers and are unhappy about the absence of teacher-led Bible study. It's not that they don't want religion in public schools. Rather, they don't want any religion except their own in public schools.

  • PGVikingDad Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 23, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    Folks, we need to look up the definition of "Yoga" before taking up arms in its defense. Take a moment and do it. Yoga is most certainly a religious practice that has been adopted and adapted for fitness purposes. No available definition does not contain a religious element. If it's stretching, call it "Stretching Class" and side-step the religious connotations. Otherwise, expect the *very necessary* lawsuits to keep religion out of official school curriculum.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    It would be interesting to note whether this group also opposes fluoridation, immunizations and other legitimate programs which the conspiracy crowd opposes.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Feb. 23, 2013 7:36 a.m.

    This separation of church and state stuff is overboard. It will get to the point where we can't even talk about Greek mythology or Egyptian history. "Why did they build pyramids?"

  • luv2organize Gainesville, VA
    Feb. 23, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    The article states "The plaintiffs are Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock and their children." I highly doubt that the children are truly plaintiffs. Let's call it something else - how about meditation, stretching, etc. I'd be interested to know further what the teacher says that bring religion into the yoga - perhaps there is something. Who knows.

  • Theeng2 Holladay, UT
    Feb. 23, 2013 6:00 a.m.

    It's not really any different than a kid taking a Karate class.

  • Rynn Las Vegas, NV
    Feb. 23, 2013 5:56 a.m.

    These parents are entitled to their opinions. But if it were my kid doing yoga at school I would not have a problem with it. I really doubt the school is doing it to indoctrinate the kids into a belief system. I'm sure they just thought that yoga would be a healthy physical activity.
    Some people are so worried about being exposed to other ways of thinking. I remember being in 4th grade and learning about Christmas around the world and the different ways that other countries celebrate. I remember being a teenager and learning about different cultures and religion. It was interesting to learn about different ways of life. How boring it would have been if I grew up only seeing the world from one point of view.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Feb. 22, 2013 9:47 p.m.

    Yoga is about as religious as track and field, which has its history "firmly rooted" in Ancient Greek polytheistic religious ceremonies. Music is used in religious to elicit a spiritual experience, but that does not make music itself religious. Likewise with Yoga, while it may be used in religious practice, and can just as easily be utilized in a secular manner.

  • Crocker Mesa, AZ
    Feb. 22, 2013 9:45 p.m.

    My experience with Bikram yoga did not occur until I was 50 years old. However, the benefits for me were undeniable.
    Slept better, eliminated backache, increased muscle strength, and provided a clarity of thoughts. I only wish MORE schools would offer this type of meditation because the benefits would assist children to relax, stretch, and meditate more. How can that be a negative thing?

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    Feb. 22, 2013 9:19 p.m.

    I'm an active practicing LDS member and I love yoga. This is ridiculous