With public pressure to keep religion out of public schools, a new phenomenon is making life more complicated: yoga in schools.
In July, California Judge Joe Meyer refused to block yoga from being taught in the physical fitness program in Encinitas schools. While he acknowledged that yoga is "at its roots is religious," Meyer ruled that the modern form of yoga "is a distinctly American cultural phenomenon."
Dean Broyles, the attorney representing parents whose children opted out of the school's yoga program, has appealed that decision. On HuffPost Live Wednesday, Broyles argued that the judge's decision assumes that those practicing the yoga are aware of its religious roots, but not subscribing to them. The reality, he said, is that the school children don't realize what they are doing and that they're "spontaneously" practicing poses in public places.
"Children throughout Encinitas, as a result of this being promoted in the public schools, are spontaneously at birthday parties, at playgrounds, on weekdays and weekends, getting into the lotus position, putting their hands in the jnana mudra and meditating," Broyles said. "Eight and 10-year-old kids typically don't get into religious or prayer positions in public sponteanously, so these kids themselves are associating the practice of yoga that they're being taught in the public schools with religious practices."