Since 1993, all K-12 public schools in the state of Alabama have forbidden yoga. Its connection to Eastern religion and its Hinduism influence have led the lawmakers, decades ago, to prohibit this activity. But recently, attempts have been made to lift the ban.
Jeremy Gray, an Alabama state representative, stated that the change to the law should be made. He has also been encouraging yoga classes in schools. According to the democratic District 83 representative, yoga could have a real impact on the youth in Alabama.
This past legislative session, he has proposed legislation, but the efforts have failed.
The State Board of Education has been against the lifting of the ban. The board has stated that yoga as a practice is “a method of religious training” and a Hinduistic philosophy.
However, Gray is not giving up. He is planning to propose a new bill regarding this issue in the next legislative session. The representative believes that yoga is beneficial in many ways and states that it can alleviate anxiety, depression, stress, and help with behavioral problems. Gray also points out physical health benefits, including better posture and balance.
His statements have received support from a yoga instructor and a national champion student.
Liam Luce, a 9-year-old Alabamian, has been learning yoga for more than a year. He said that the practice had improved his health as well as his success in other sports. Liam, the winner of the national championship, believes that if yoga was available in public schools, all students would benefit greatly.
Dell Watkins, an experienced yoga instructor, claims that people have misconceptions about this practice. According to Watkins, yoga is a sport. It is science and not a religion. She believes everyone should practice it more and not believe it is “just one way.”
Before she started yoga, Watkins was an athlete for many years. She says that this practice heals the body and allows you to “run, play, jog, or work out.” Watkins believes that mindfulness yoga develops in people can help with focus, balance, and strength in all areas of life.
The national champion and the instructor say that healing both the mind and the body would help all students excel in school. Liam believes that even those who are strictly focusing on studying could benefit from yoga, as it helps with focus.