The debate on yoga in schools
At its nine campuses, the Encinitas Union School District recently got the ruling from a judge that teaching yoga in the local schools is a way to promote strength, flexibility and balance. While some parents believe that the classes are inherently religious, teachers at the school took out any cultural references, including Sanskrit names for poses. Although the practice isn't like other traditional sports taught in school, research has shown that it can be very beneficial for children.
According to a 2003 study by California State University, Los Angeles, yoga can improve students' behavior, physical health and academic performance as well as reduce feelings of helplessness and aggression. Paul Ecke Central Elementary School in southern California added yoga to its curriculum, and the district superintendent told The Wall Street Journal she noticed outstanding behavior changes.
"Every kid in the audience quieted down," David Miyashiro, told the publication. "It's a different language they all speak now."
The district in California is the first to have full-time yoga instructors that teach the practice two times a week for 3-minute sessions. Yoga is also taught in schools across the country, including ones in West Virginia and Brooklyn, New York.