American Legal Body Attacks Schools For Teaching Mindfulness And Yoga
American Legal Body Attacks Schools For Teaching Mindfulness And Yoga

The American Center For Law And Justice [ACLJ] is suing public schools for teaching mindfulness and yoga to kids. [1]

The ACLJ says that teaching mindfulness and yoga in public schools is a violation of the U.S Constitution, which is against the states endorsement of religion.

This is the same counsel that recently sent out a tweet celebrating the fact that they have “rejected a lawsuit to have ‘In God We Trust’ removed from our national currency.” And in a country, America, where the word “God” is stamped on every dollar.

Is America trying to kill mindfulness and yoga?

America is a predominantly Christian country. And the ACLJ is a die-hard Christian counsel lead by a man (Jay Seklow) who hosts a talk show that advocates for the use of legal tactics to promote Christianity and to kill any other religion. Mindfulness and yoga are his latest targets and he is intent on preventing yoga and mindfulness from being taught in public schools.

This, despite the fact that science has proven that there are many health benefits of mindfulness and yoga for kids.

Around the world, public schools are starting to teach mindfulness to kids, such as in the UK, where public schools are introduction mindfulness as part of the curriculum [1]. This is largely because of the sheer amount of stress that kids face at school from a combination of peer pressure, tests and bullying. 31% of kids suffer from depression due to stress at school [2]. And it has been scientifically proven that mindfulness helps kids cope with stress.

On average, kids at schools where mindfulness is taught have lower stress levels and less mental health concerns.

The benefits of mindfulness for kids is apparent and thoroughly substantiated. Yet American legal institutions are fighting to remove yoga and mindfulness from public schools.

This controversy is not new to mindfulness and yoga. Both have faced substantial opposition because of their ties to religions other than Christianity—most notably to Buddhism and Hinduism. Indeed, the entire reason why “meditation” is more commonly referred to as “mindfulness” is because that title is less associated with religions [despite the fact that there are plenty of non-religious meditations].

Conservative Christian groups are threatened by the rapid rise of Buddhism and Hinduism in the West, which is largely thanks to the increasing popularity of meditation and yoga. They are aiming to cut off the snake’s head, so to speak.

And yet the link between yoga and religions, and mindfulness and religion, is relatively minimal and is no different to many other activities. Tai Chi, for instance, is a Taoist practice but it is not being targeted in the same way that mindfulness and yoga are.  

Plus, the majority of mindfulness instructors and yoga teachers will not refer to religion during practice. Attend your local yoga studio and you’ll find yoga taught much more like a regular workout than anything remotely religious.

And then there is the fact that many public schools in America have had school prayer sessions for years. Non-Christian students are marginalised because of the practice of this unquestioningly religious practice. But the ACLJ is not fighting to have this amended.

 The ACLJ is spearheading a movement to kill mindfulness and yoga, despite the countless scientific studies that have proven how immensely beneficial these practices can be to kids and adults alike. Because a percentage of America is threatened. Threatened that with the rise of mindfulness and yoga, and the subsequent rise of Eastern religions, the chokehold that Christianity has on America may be weakened.

 

Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential.

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