Itâ€™s quite a popular belief that focussing on our breath helps us focus on the present, calms the mind and allows us to be more aware about our body. Since the beginning of time, yoga has been considered the practise to attain pursuit the state of calm in this always fast running world. Most importantly, mindfulness or the meditative state associated with yoga has been adopted world over to get rid of negative thoughts, and clear the mind. Administrators at Bullard Elementary School in Kennesaw, Georgia, implemented yoga and other mindfulness practices for their students to reduce stress and help them learn a thing or two about peace and relaxation in their future. But, sadly, they received numerous complaints from parents. The reason being that most parents felt yoga was taking them towards non-Christian beliefs. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bullardâ€™s principal, Patrice Moore, sent parents an email last week announcing changes to its yoga program. â€˜I am truly sorry that the mindfulness/ de-stressing practices here at Bullard caused many misconceptions that in turn created a distraction in our school and community. While we have been practicing de-stressing techniques in many classrooms for years, there have been some recent practices associated with mindfulness that are offensive to some.â€™
Two elements will be eliminated from the program. The first one being, the Sanskrit greeting â€˜Namaste,â€™ which involves placing hands â€˜to heart centerâ€™. Second, the coloring pages with the symbol of the Mandala (a spiritual symbol representing the cosmos).
Moore further observed that a rumor had also spread about using or teaching about crystals having healing powers. She concluded, â€˜We will ensure that nothing resembling this will be done in the future.â€™
Still, some parents were concerned about the connect between yoga and spirituality.
Christopher Smith, parent whose child attends Bullard, shared his opinion on Facebook.
â€˜Now we canâ€™t pray in our schools or practice Christianity but they are allowing this Far East mystical religion with crystals and chants to be practiced under the guise of stress release meditation. This is very scary,â€™ he wrote.
Cheryl Crawford, a yoga instructor who has taught at several Atlanta-area schools told the Journal-Constitution said that yoga can help calm students who are anxious about their studies or coping with anger and bullying issues. The exercise is not intended to endorse any faith.