Opponents, supporters of yoga classes overflow Encinitas board meeting

Sounds like not much was decided at the Encinitas Union School Board meeting on Tuesday.

Opponents of the Jois Yoga-sponsored exercise program made the points we’ve all heard before: It is inherently religious.

Supporters made their points: Yoga is good exercise and the program is showing its benefits already.

The board — as we had mentioned — didn’t vote or decide anything. The issue wasn’t one about which they could vote. But there was the chance that someone in the audience would say something or suggestion a solution that might have moved the parties closer.

I think the issue to pay attention to — especially for us — is that the opponents say they aren’t against yoga. They are against Ashtanga Yoga. Here is a bit from the North County Times’ coverage of the meeting:

Attorney Dean Broyles, one of about 20 people who spoke at the board meeting Tuesday, has said people who oppose the district program are not against yoga itself, but rather Ashtanga Yoga in particular because people from the Jois Foundation have described it as spiritual.

“There simply is and cannot be any honest debate among informed and reasonable people as to whether Ashtana Yoga involves Hindu religious believes and practices,” he said, describing “worshipful poses” and mind-clearing meditations. “What is not religious about Ashtanga Yoga?”

Supporters, as well as school officials, say that all of the Hinduism has been removed from the yoga as it is being taught. That argument clearly isn’t flying with opponents.

According to reports, the crowd overfilled the board meeting room. About 20 people spoke.

There was, maybe, one ray of hope: The Times says there was talk about the two sides meeting and trying to find common group. After all, one supporter of the program said, they all have the kids’ best interest at heart.

Whether that is enough sounds like an open question.

I also should note another item from Encinitas: Tim Miller’s latest blog post. It is a cliff-hanger.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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