Alabama House approves yoga offerings in K-12 schools – Montgomery Advertiser

Bringing yoga to Alabama public schools is a little less of a stretch. 
The Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill from Rep. Jeremy Gray, D-Opelika, that would allow yoga to be offered in the state’s public schools after a 27-year ban. 
The chamber approved the bill 84 to 17 after a brief debate. It goes to the Alabama Senate.
Every member of the Montgomery delegation — Democratic Reps. Kirk Hatcher, Thad McClammy, and Tashina Morris, all of Montgomery; and Republican Reps. Reed Ingram of Pike Road and Charlotte Meadows of Montgomery — voted for the bill.
Gray’s bill would allow local boards of education to offer yoga as an elective. The practice would be limited to poses, stretches, and exercises. The legislation forbids the use of “chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas and namaste greetings.”
More: Yoga has had Alabama lawmakers bent out of shape for 30 years. This bill could change that.
Gray, who has taught yoga in the past, stressed that participation would be voluntary. He also highlighted the benefits of yoga. 
“It also helps with stress, anxiety, depression, things of that nature,” he said.
The bill had broad support from Democrats and Republicans. Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham, did express some concerns about schools feeling pressured to offer yoga and using public school funds to offer it. 
The Alabama State Board of Education banned yoga from K-12 classrooms in 1993, along with hypnosis and meditation. Right-wing groups pushed for the ban, claiming that the practices could lead to psychological harm. The moral panic led to some dubious assertions: At one meeting, a speaker claimed that a relaxation tape made a student “visibly high.”
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brian Lyman at 334-240-0185 or


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