Yoga is an exercise that is practiced by many people all over the world. It is often used to release stress and to relax. Many schools across the country offer Yoga as a form of physical education but not in Alabama. Alabama has banned this exercise in their public schools but why? The history of Yoga stretches back to the religion of Hinduism. One of the reasons Alabama has banned Yoga is because they believe that having Yoga as an option in the school system shows too much bias towards the religion of Hinduism. The school system is not supposed to promote one religion over any other and the government in Alabama believes that allowing Yoga to be a form of physical education in their public schools is promoting Hinduism.
Another reason that Alabama has Yoga banned is because Yoga fits in with other activities that affect a person’s mind. ‘School personnel shall be prohibited from using any techniques that involve the induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, meditation or yoga.” (Morris 1). Not only would the law want to prevent the students using these types of activities during school, they also want to avoid any of it being used in classes by the teachers.
Currently there is debate about whether or not that Yoga should be allowed back into the public school systems in Alabama. Yoga was banned in 1993 by the board of education in Alabama but was brought back up in 2018 for debate (Morris 1). One of the key factors that played a role in the yoga ban was that the schools were promoting a “non-Christian” religion in school. Today the country has come a long way from the Christian standards of the past and laws are willing to look past the traditions of the past to be more open and tolerant of people and other religions.
Medical professionals and therapist all over the world recommend using yoga for therapy or stress relief and describe the activity as a form of “alternative medicine”. Stress is a big part of life every day and supporters are recommending that they allow yoga back into the public school system in Alabama to do just that. If yoga were allowed back into the public school system then the teachers could use it as a class to show how students can use the techniques for stress relief.
One of the people who are fighting this ban on yoga is Jeremy Gray. Gray is currently the Democratic primary for the Alabama House of Representatives District 83. Gray pushes for yoga to be legal because he says that it is part of athletic culture and that he partakes in it normally to help him with his daily life. On March 10th, 2020 the bill to end the yoga ban was brought up for debate. The idea Gray wants to push is to separate the concept of yoga from the religious roots. He states that the stresses and activities are very beneficial to the human body and doesn’t have to be tied to its religion. Through the debate led by Gray, the ban on yoga in Alabama schools has been lifted and the schools are free to teach the stretches but not the religion.