Alabama Votes on School Yoga Ban



There was some yoga news this last week that made national headlines that blew my mind: The Alabama House of Representatives passes House Bill 246 that would allow yoga to be taught in schools in the State. I have been teaching yoga in Utah since 2010 and a huge part of my career has been teaching yoga in schools, from elementary all the way up through college. I have taught students in term long classes, after school programs, on sports teams and at summer camps. I had no idea that a state legislature had put into law the prohibition of teaching this subject to students.


My first significant yoga experience was a class I signed up for as a college student at U.C.L.A. That class was life changing. I was nineteen years old working through insecurities and anxieties and every time that I left that yoga class I felt relaxed, calm and connected. I wish yoga had been there earlier on in my education.

It has been both a challenge and a reward as an adult to teach poses and breath techniques with funny names to kids of various ages and backgrounds. In an hour I have watched a group of hyper and fidgety second graders calm down and at the end of class tell me that it was the first time in their day when everything was quiet and peaceful. I have watched high school students over the course of a year transform the way they hold their bodies, showing up confident, grounded and ready to take on the future.

I am of course thrilled to hear that this bill has made it through the Alabama House and is now on to the Senate. I hope it gets passed and some awesome teachers are able to step out into their communities and turn kids on to yoga. Every culture has something to teach us and we cannot let fear of the unknown keep us from expanding our knowledge of ways to live better. The cool thing is that when we do open up to new and different ways of being, we can actually add to and strengthen our existing core beliefs and values and ultimately recognize the shared humanity in each and every person out there, from all races, ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds.


I salute you.


James

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