The Great Yoga Debate Update

Say that three times fast.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Soooo, you want an update pertaining to the (un)Great Yoga Debate?  Because I have one for you.  I went to the EUSD board meeting this evening and witnessed the events with my own little inquisitive eyes.

The board had their normal, official meeting and stuck to their agenda that consisted mainly of health and wellness for all students.  First, I’d like to state for the record that my kids are damn lucky to be in this district.  Granted, both The Surfer and I are both products of this district and that in and of itself is a touch frightening, but I digress.  We have some really great people that have our kids best interest at heart.

I know, I know.  You’re like, ‘Cut to the chase, SurferWife.  I have texted, FB’d, tweeted, and snail mailed you 15454152 times tonight asking for an update.  Give it now, please.’

UPDATE from SurferWife’s eyeballs and earballs:

After the board spoke, there were 19 concerned citizens that signed up to address the board–each given 2 minutes to speak.   The majority was definitely pro yoga, with maybe 8 or so speaking anti yoga.  I’m happy to say that 6 of the 8 spoke respectfully, passionately and it made me want to listen and try to understand where they were coming from.  You treat me with respect and talk to me like an adult, you’ve got me.  I will listen.  You walk up there with a bloated sense of self entitlement and speak to the board of trustees like they’re a bunch of unruly 4 year olds? Get. Out.

So, these 19 people got up and had something to say, some more powerful than others but all with their own message.

On the pro side:  Many spoke about their own kids experience with the yoga program, many spoke of their own experience with yoga.  Nearly all said that religion just wasn’t a part of their practice or experience.  Some said they were Christian and follow the Bible.  Some said they were Atheist and don’t follow a God.  I found that really interesting and profound that these two different lifestyles could come together and agree what a powerful impact yoga is for our kids.  Sans religion.  One current teacher spoke about how focused her class is after their yoga sessions.  Not only did it NOT cut into their academics, but on the contrary it allowed for more time, because the kids minds were calm, peaceful even.

On the anti side:  While one spoke of how polarizing this topic is in our community (and it is, but only because a small  group is making it so polarizing), most spoke of the inherently religious side of the topic — regardless of the westernized, religious-free practice being taught, that Ashtanga Yoga’s roots are indeed deeply spiritual.  A very common theme spoken by many of the anti yoga speakers was this:

You absolutely CANNOT practice Ashtanga yoga without religion.  There is NO WAY that you can separate the physical exercise from the spiritual practice.  No matter what anyone says is being taught in class, the two just go hand in hand. Period. The end.

Umm, what?  Are YOU, a complete stranger, telling ME that I cannot separate my physical yoga exercise from the spirituality aspect?  Ok, see.  This is where I get all twitchy.  Because YOU don’t tell me what I am and am not capable of.  And YOU don’t tell my kids what they are and are not capable of.  Maybe in your own insecurites YOU aren’t capable of doing a downward dog without second guessing your personal religion, but guess what?  I sure am.  And so are my kids.  You know why? Because I teach them to have strong minds.  I don’t let my kids think they can’t do something because they mentally can’t handle it.  Instead of filling these innocent minds with more contradictory and self deprecating information, let’s give them the tools to relax their minds.  Have open minds.

Or wait.  I know.  In the wise words of my 2nd grade Blondie, “Mommy, you went to a meeting where some adults said they didn’t think we should do yoga anymore?  But we mostly talk about breathing.  And don’t we need breathing to live?”

Yes, baby.  Yes, you do.  You need breathing to live and you are lucky enough to learn the best techniques to optimize that breathing to make you an even happier, fun-loving girl.

Good job, Encinitas Union School District.  You’re doing right by these kids.

**I have yet to mention how you can opt out of the program.  If you don’t want your children to participate in this program, they don’t have to.  Also, this yoga program is in addition to other P.E. being instructed by their teachers.  The phrase, ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire’  keeps coming to mind.  Let’s all breathe, folks.


5 Responses to The Great Yoga Debate Update
  1. Mary Imms
    December 5, 2012 | 4:26 am


  2. NotJustAnotherJen
    December 5, 2012 | 11:18 am

    If we can continue to reference God in the Pledge of Allegiance every day, I think there is enough room for breathing and stretching one day a week for 45 minutes that has its roots in another culture (but not referenced). Where’s the love, people?

    The one area where I feel like the anti-group has a point is that if students can opt out they should have a viable alternative. But then again, if I don’t want my kids participating in dogeball because I was tortured as a kid and I believe it teaches violence they would probably have my kid sit outside the room. It’s all a choice. Your choice if you want your kids to be an outsider. That alone would make me want to keep them in the program, but it’s all a choice.

  3. MiMi
    December 5, 2012 | 12:57 pm

    I would probably pray while I was doing it….”Dear God I’m bored, get me outta here.”

  4. Salt
    December 6, 2012 | 1:50 pm

    Um yes you can. I wasn’t religious when I started practicing yoga several years ago and I’m still not religious now. Since when is concentration, meditation, self-reflection, and (Blondie is right) BREATHING part of any one religion?

    I think it’s so fantastic that yoga is being offered to your children and I hope that it will continue and that we have these kinds of options around here when B is old enough to partake in them. Maybe I should start my own yoga crusade over here. 🙂

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    December 29, 2015 | 5:36 pm

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