Governor of the US state of Alabama Kay Ivey has signed into law a bill that allows schools in the state to teach yoga in their classrooms, sans the use of namaste, ending a nearly three decades ban on the popular age-old Indian practice. The law signed on Thursday ends a ban on yoga adopted by the State Board of Education in 1993 because of yoga’s connections to Hinduism.
The signing of the bill comes days after the Alabama State legislature gave final approval to the bill allowing instructions in yoga in public schools. According to the local Montgomery Advertiser, the bill requires yoga exercises to be limited to stretches and poses; requires English descriptions for poses, and forbids the use of namaste. This has been done to accommodate the objections from several lawmakers and Christian groups who argued that yoga has ties with Hinduism.
The law goes into effect on August 1, before the start of the next academic session.The bill was sponsored by State Legislature Jeremy Gray who asserted that he learned the value of yoga during his athletic career. Governor Kay Ivey has signed the bill allowing K-12 schools to offer yoga as an elective. Thus, do we close the book on one of the stupidest moral panics in Alabama history, which is really saying a lot, Brian Lyman, reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser wrote. Representative Jeremy Gray, thanked Ivey for signing the bill and clearing the way for schools to begin offering yoga as an elective class or activity starting in the 2021-2022 school year, Alabama.com reported.
He said some schools are already doing yoga-like activities but use a different name, such as mindfulness movement. Gray, an athlete, discovered yoga through his athletic career. He played football at North Carolina State. Yoga can help children in early grades cope with difficulties they might have sitting still and focusing in a classroom, he said. Alabama is working to increase the mental health care available in public schools, and Gray said yoga can be a component of that and can be a tool in the fight against problems like teen suicide, the report added. This is a great way to help with mental health, being able to concentrate, Gray said. Find clarity. Stress relievers, those self-help tips you need dealing with anger and anxiety, Gray added.