US’s Alabama to lift decade-old ban on Yoga in public schools

Breaking a decade-old stereotype, the Alabama state is all set to end ban on Yoga in public schools.

The House of Representatives of the southeastern state in United States of America, voted 73-25 to approve a bill that will authorise school systems to decide if they want yoga to be allowed in K-12 schools.

The 25 representatives in the 105-member house who voted against the bill said they, “got a lot of emails about it being part of Hinduism.”

However, the bill, now moved to Alabama Senate, have mentioned that Yoga in school would be limited to poses and stretches and the use of chants, mantras and teaching the greeting “namaste” would be forbidden.

Back in 1993, pushed mostly by conservative groups, the Alabama Board of Education had voted to prohibit yoga, hypnosis and meditation in public school classrooms.

The Bill in 2021 has been sponsored by Democratic Rep. Jeremy Gray of Opelika. He said he understood some gym teachers had been teaching yoga in class before they realized it was banned, and others wanted to offer it, particularly during virtual learning.

Gray, a former cornerback at North Carolina State University, said he was introduced to yoga through football, and that the exercises can provide mental and physical benefits to students.

“I’ve been in yoga for seven years. I know the benefits of yoga, so it was very dear to my heart, and I think Alabama will be better for it,” Gray told AP News.

The 1993 Alabama yoga ban got new attention in 2018 when an old document circulated listing yoga — along with games like tag — among inappropriate activities in gym class.

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