Yoga banned in schools?

Yoga Bears
Hands up if you feel that kids these days are over-scheduled, busy and possibly a bit stressed out? I know a lot of mums feel the strain of taxi-ing their kids to endless sports practices, music lessons and other after school activities.

On a parent's group discussion board I saw one mum had laid down the law of 'one activity per child per term'. We have a similar rule in effect here: Little Guy takes swimming lessons, Noodle goes to his tutoring school. Yet even with these restraints in place I feel our afternoons take on a hectic feel since tutoring is three nights a week, swimming is one afternoon and one morning a week. And don't forget I also take swimming classes myself in the evening.

With all the demands of modern life then I would think a little time in the school day for some gentle exercise, stretching and quiet reflection aka. yoga, would be a good thing. So I have been dismayed and a little shocked at this developing story in the USA: Yoga Programs in public schools face backlash. I think it's ridiculous that some parents have withdrawn their children from school based on what they perceive to be indoctrination into eastern religion.

Perhaps I am a little more open-minded since I live in the east? Or maybe I appreciate foreign cultures since I enjoy traveling, world exploration and am a expatriate? Admittedly I am not a religious person either.

Perhaps the parents mentioned in the article really only represent a very small percentage of the population and not general consensus at all?

Though I do take issue with some aspects of the education system here in Japan , so far I have not had any cause to object to the curriculum my children are taught. But that's not to say I might not be up in arms if something was taught that I disagreed with. I guess it all comes down to personal beliefs. But honestly, if it were called "Quiet Stretch Time" rather than "Yoga" would these parents have a different viewpoint?

Bears love yoga in my shop!


  1. Aah, fear of the unknown. Sounds like some brains that might need some gentle stretching and exercise! I remember when I first arrived in Japan and was searching for a yoga class, many of my students looked at me like I was weird as apparently it was associated with some strange cult. By the time I left Japan, there was a yoga class in every corner of the city! All about perception and education. I can remember a time here in oz when Italian food was considered foreign to some of us - now we can't live without it! Perhaps a name change might be in order if it helps those whose minds have seized up completely.

  2. It's bizarre isn't it? They do yoga at my daughter's school as morning exercise once a week and one day there was a kid from a different class visiting because his class was doing yoga and his parents objected to it on religious grounds. Religious grounds? You just have to shake your head at such bloody-minded ignorance and, as Claire above says, fear of the unknown. Way to admit you're so insecure in your religion that you can't come into contact with anything that doesn't bolster it. Not that 99% of yoga isn't done in a purely non-spiritual way. Possibly it's also fear of understanding your body? Maybe if it was renamed 'stretching for god' then they'd be all over it. :P

  3. From April I will be stopping most of my afternoon work, partially so I can focus on something new, but also so I can ferry my son to and from any activities he may choose to join. I find it really frustrating though - most sports here require them to participate for a minimum of 4 days a week... at primary school level! I want him to try as many different things as possible before he gets to junior high school and is stuck with one club activity, but it seems impossible here.
    As for yoga... I would be over the moon if they started doing it at school here. Narrow minded parents drive me insane!


I love your comments!
Thanks, I read each and every one of them!

I try to reply to all your comments, if you want to know what I and others say check :Email follow-up comments to ...

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.