Breaking: Opponents won’t appeal ruling in Encinitas schools yoga program

Breaking news for you — hot off the presses about an hour ago.

The National Center for Law & Policy — the law firm leading the suit against the Encinitas schools yoga program — will not appeal any further. From its release:

The legal team, led by attorney Dean Broyles of the National Center for Law & Policy, has decided not to pursue the Sedlock v. Baird yoga litigation further after losing the appeal in April.  Attorneys for the Sedlocks successfully convinced both the trial court and the appellate justices that yoga, including Ashtanga yoga is religious.  However, the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) prevailed in their argument that they had changed or removed enough of the religious elements from their yoga program, so that the physical education classes were purportedly not unlawfully promoting religion in the public schools.

“This was a very tough call to make under the circumstances,” stated NCLP president Dean Broyles.  “We knew from the beginning this case would be an uphill battle because yoga is so popular and so many people believe the pervasive myth that yoga’s ‘physical’ practice can be neatly separated from the metaphysical or religious elements of Hinduism.  On the positive side, the lawsuit forced EUSD to significantly change its written yoga curriculum and some of its classroom teaching.  However, as even the appellate court acknowledged, the children are still being led through the Surya Namaskara, which is a Hindu liturgy worshipping the sun god Surya.”

“This ruling was an aberration from well-established legal precedents. No other court in the past 50 years has allowed schools to lead children in ritual religious practices, like devotional Bible reading, prayer, or meditation,” declared Broyles.   “EUSD’s devotional sun worship, including bowing, praying hands, and lifting one’s hands in worship to the sun is objectively religious and should not be treated any more favorably than Bible reading or prayer, even if EUSD is not teaching the children the supporting theology behind the Hindu rituals.  EUSD’s position is deceptive.  The social science research clearly demonstrates that yoga’s purported mere ‘stretching’ and ‘breathing’ components, called asanas and pranayama in Sanskrit, are, by themselves, spiritually transformative.”

“I am very proud of the Sedlock family and for my outstanding legal team for being willing to stand up for the truth and religious freedom in the midst of the trying fires of a very difficult and unpopular case,” continued Broyles.  “The personal attacks endured by the family and the legal team were pretty outrageous at times.  But we consistently told the truth and fought the good fight.  As a result, we have seen more and more parents opt their children out of the yoga classes after learning the truth.  Unfortunately, because of the superintendent and board’s continued obstinacy after parents raised legitimate religious concerns, many good families have left the district.”

Not everything is all done, however. A little more:

“This is not the end of our broader principled campaign to tell the truth about yoga.  We will continue to look for opportunities to educate parents and fully expect to be engaged in future efforts to stop the deceptive religious indoctrination of our children by the state,” said Broyles.  The concerned parents in Encinitas have launched an informative website:  http://truthaboutyoga.com/

That site, which features a quote from former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, includes the following:

Welcome. You are reading this website, so maybe you wonder why a group of parents in the Encinitas school district are concerned about yoga replacing P.E. and why we are educating others to discover the true facts about yoga in our district and beyond. On the surface it may seem like a helpful way to stretch, breathe, and calm a busy mind; but is it just that? There are many pieces to investigate in this vast puzzle and here is where we started: For the first time in our nation, yoga entered all of the elementary schools (K-6) on a mandatory basis for the entire school district in 2012 (5- 12 year olds), and we parents had a few questionsMaybe you have some of the same questions. Maybe there is more to it than you ever dreamed. We were shocked by the answers we found and this website is our attempt to answer most any question you might ask if we were sitting together having coffee together right now. If you need more information after you read this, we are available for a cup with you.

It also links to Tim Miller’s studio and the Jois studio (although it has the old location).

My favorite thing is this:

Q: Would the EUSD Board have implemented the Ashtanga yoga program and replaced the majority of regular P.E. if there were no grant money provided?

What do you think?

I think you can think this: The battle is won but the war continues.

You can scroll back through all our coverage of the trial here.

Posted by Steve

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theconfluencecountdown

Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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