Yoga in School
Should yoga be taught in schools? This question has raised hackles all over the world. The physical and mental benefits of yoga are undeniable. Yet, yoga in school troubles those who want to separate religion from education. The Hindu spiritual roots of yoga are unacceptable to many religious fundamentalists, atheists and others. This article discusses the pros and cons of yoga in school.
Yoga in American Schools
Tara Guber, a yoga teacher, faced opposition when she tried to start yoga practice in a public school in Colorado. Christian fundamentalists and some secular parents opposed the idea. So, Guber stripped her yoga classes of their Hindu spiritual connections and modified them to suit American kids. Today, Guber’s yoga program is practiced in more than 100 schools in over 25 states. Education experts say yoga in school helps kids with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and concentration issues.
Surveys reveal that students who practice yoga in school regularly are better behaved, score higher grades and in better physical condition than those who do not.
Yoga’s Religious Roots are Controversial
Despite its benefits, yoga in school still remains a touchy issue. Critics say even if you remove yoga’s spiritual links, it may still motivate youngsters to explore other religions. But, this has not prevented the growing popularity of yoga in the U.S.
Benefits of Yoga in School
- Yoga increases awareness of mind and body
- Yogic discipline instills the importance of proper eating habits including intake of fresh vegetables and diet. This is particularly useful as childhood obesity is a scourge in the U.S.
- Kids learn about the importance of hygiene and cleanliness
- Pranayama breathing techniques relax body and mind, helping the kids cope with academic stress
- Yoga develops positive thoughts and builds self-esteem in kids
- Yoga helps overcome negative feelings, fears and inhibitions
- Kids learn to focus their mind and reduce mental agitation
- Yoga helps improve strength and flexibility in kids
- Obese and overweight children can use yoga to lose weight in a healthy manner