Namaste: Court rules yoga classes in public schools do not violate freedom of religion
For many in this country, the practice of yoga is an entirely secular (non-religious) experience undertaken for reasons such as increasing physical flexibility, decreasing pain, and reducing stress. For others, the practice of yoga is a religious ritual, undertaken for spiritual purposes.
Some public schools offer yoga as part of their physical education program.The Encinitas Union School District in California is one of those districts. J.S. and F.S. Sedlock were students at Capri Elementary where Ashtanga yoga was offered. Their parents objected to this part of the PE program and sued the school district for violating their children’s freedom of religion. They claimed the yoga classes were in conflict with California’s constitution that protected students’ religious rights.
The question before the court was whether offering yoga classes at school constituted an impermissible “establishment” of religion. A California court of appeals decided that