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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Is yoga religious?

Because its schools offer yoga as an elective, some parents filed a lawsuit Feb. 20 against the Encinitas Union School District in San Diego County on the grounds that yoga is inherently religious and violates the First Amendment. The district's yoga classes meet guidelines set by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and have eliminated chanting and prayer positions. A California judge rejected the parents' claims July 1. Judge John Meyer acknowledged that yoga "at its roots is religious" but said the modern practice is deeply ingrained in secular U.S. society and is a "distinctly American cultural phenomenon." The lawyer for the parents said they would probably appeal.


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