Two responses to Encinitas parent fears about yoga’s influence on kids

On Friday, if you missed it, we highlighted a story from Encinitas — yes, as in the hometown (in America) of Ashtanga and the location of the famous Self Realization Fellowship retreat — about parents’ being all up in arms about yoga being taught in public schools.

The horror!

It’s clear from the piece from the local paper that what’s being taught is asana as exercise, with maybe a little meditation and breathing practice thrown in for good measure. Teachers and administrators make it clear: There’s no religion here. (A different argument to have on that. But this is yoga without any of the oming.)

So, aside from the simple stupidity of being afraid of something just because it’s different (as far as anyone with two brain cells can determine that’s all this is about), what we are talking about is parents’ being upset over something akin to their kids learning martial arts or, maybe, tai chi during P.E.

I repeat: the horror!

Well, here are two recent answers to those parents (and school board members). These are stories in essentially the same news cycle. Just so you know it isn’t all bad out there.

First, via NPR:

Researchers have found that kids with autism spectrum disorder who did yoga at their elementary school behaved better than kids with autism who weren’t doing yoga.

The researchers surveyed teachers at a school in the Bronx who said a daily yoga program reduced the kids’ aggressive behavior, social withdrawal and hyperactivity.


The Bronx school had the the kids follow a specific routine each morning, five days a week, for 17 minutes. The routine: mats out, breathe deep, assume yoga poses, tense and relax muscles, and, finally, sing. The researchers studied the program for 16 weeks and compared the kids in the program with a control group of kids doing a standard morning routine. Their finding? Teachers said that the kids doing yoga exhibited significantly fewer problematic behaviors overall.

Next from the Denver Business Journal:

At 61, Denver Nuggests Coach George Karl is at an age where he admits he’s more prone to thinking about retirement than helping to finance a new business.

Still, when friend and businessman Sherif Sakr approached him this year with an idea to open a yoga studio geared toward cancer patients, Karl — a two-time cancer survivor — said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Oh, and if you need a third, there’s always everything Eddie Stern is doing.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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