March 24, 2016

WaPo seems surprised that people regard yoga in school as an Establishment Clause problem.

The headline is: "Ga. parents, offended by the ‘Far East religion’ of yoga, get ‘Namaste’ banned from school."

In my opinion, it's cultural appropriation and otherizing not to perceive that this is religion.

Commenters pick up the cue and say things like "Georgia hicks object to 'mindfulness.' Why am I not surprised?"/"They opt for 'mindlessness.'"

Wow. Double otherizing.

61 comments:

James Longfellow said...

OK. I'm stealing that. "Double otherizing".

LOL.

YoungHegelian said...

So, can we bring Catholic Mortification of the Flesh spiritual disciplines into school & call them secular, too?

We can introduce varsity flagellation teams into every school in the country! Smells like Team Spirit to Me!

Michael K said...

You need a PhD in eastern religions to understand this.

If you don't have one, common sense works about as well.

Bob Ellison said...

I can't see the article. WaPo disallows, because I do not subscribe.

You linkers must realize that WaPo is fencing itself out of discussion.

Don't link to WaPo or WSJ. Where did Taranto go? Long time passing.

Sal said...

I went in search of the meaning of Namaste and got, 'I bow to the divine in you.' Sounds kind of religious. Also, I know chants of Om are common in yoga classes. 'Om' is certainly religious.

Instead the kids should yell "Allahu Akbar!" and make explodey sounds with their mouths. That's more current.

MikeD said...

Namaste, "I recognize the divine in you". "Yoga", pretty much a non-theological physical work out in the Western world. "Yoga" also a pricy clothing accessory which, for some reason, inflamed feminists as well as puritans. Go figure? For my part, in my dissolute youth I joined the nefarious "Book of the Month" club & one of my freebies was a boxed set of the "Religions of the World", five of them. Hindu was the most fun, (fantasy hadn't yet caught the fancy of boomers) & Islam was the most depressing (predestination has always been the monster under my bed).

YoungHegelian said...

If they teach yoga in gym class, maybe they can teach Tantric sexual techniques in Sex Ed class.

Just don't stand in the doorway so you won't get crushed in the stampede that occurs when you explain to the boys what "Retaining the Chi" involves.

CachorroQuente said...

"You linkers must realize that WaPo is fencing itself out of discussion."

Delete your wapo cookies and try again. Unless, of course, you consider that to be cultural appropriation.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

Open private window.

traditionalguy said...

Breathing exercise to tune you into friendly spirits is ok if you are possessing them and not the other way around. But when you can no longer desire eating beef or reading the Bible, it's time to change exercises types and just muscle stretch a few minutes and then run/walk and lift free weights. Then read Paul and eat a ribeye.

Yoga is total spirituality. Everybody knows that.

Adamsunderground said...

I'm not religious, but I'm very spitetual.

pm317 said...

Damn those Cruz voters.

MaxedOutMama said...

It's the yoga pants, folks. Southern Baptists and yoga pants do not go together.

Unless, of course, they are the official version:
https://www.spiritshop.com/school/kentucky/mcquady/pleasant-view-baptist-school/pants/yoga

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QltPmNxbDss

n.n said...

The precedent is given by the State-established quasi-... or rather, selective religion or moral philosophy, dictated by progressive liberal justices, which states that any religion, or even faith in emanations or "gods" from a penumbra, can be rejected or accepted as is politically expedient, or sincerely believed by its secular followers. Not surprisingly, this is contrary to the mandate requiring environmental stability and green lawns, and invites everyone and the press to become confused about its variable and variant standards.

Beaver7216 said...

Ahh, my pet peeve. So many want the wall of separation of church and state yet jump to Judeo-Christian definitions of religion (and prayer, devotion, and god). Religion is simply an interest followed with great devotion (Oxford). God is simply ultimate reality (Merriam-Webster). Prayer is an earnest hope or wish (Oxford). All secular stuff. Or any value system, exercise program, or health regime is religious stuff.

YoungHegelian said...

Among the elements of the program that will be eliminated: the Sanskrit greeting “Namaste,” placing hands “to heart center” and coloring pages with the symbol of the Mandala (a spiritual symbol in Indian religions representing the cosmos).

I'm sorry, the mandala is religious symbolism. The yoga folks are trying to pull the wool over the kids eyes, but it is. Clear violation of separation of Church & State. Clear.

Moore noted that a rumor had also spread about using or teaching “about crystals having healing powers.”

"Rumors", my right nut! There's always someone in a yoga crowd going on about reiki crystals & what not. Oh! Oh! I've got an idea: how about a field trip to Sedona to experience the vortices?

Where's Crack Emcee when we really need him?, I aks you.

Archilochus said...

Best Althouse post ever.

J. D. said...

Getting yoga banned is ridiculous in the same way banning "Christmas" parties is ridiculous.

MaxedOutMama said...

Note - I was joking earlier, of course. Nice catch, Ann. From the article:
Among the elements of the program that will be eliminated: the Sanskrit greeting “Namaste,” placing hands “to heart center” and coloring pages with the symbol of the Mandala (a spiritual symbol in Indian religions representing the cosmos).

Teaching a physical technique of destressing is entirely different from teaching the practice and associating religious sayings and symbols with it. There are techniques of destressing/meditation associated with Christianity too, but I certainly would object if my local school were teaching them to children. I would hope we all would.

Amanda said...

Just don't allow any activity that could be even remotely associated with any religion of any kind. If we allow one we must allow them all. I wonder how all these uptight southern parents would take to the destressing techniques of Rastafarianism, or maybe the trance state that accompanies the chicken ceremony in Santeria.

Sebastian said...

"Wow" Whoa, wow, I can't believe: I mean, what else do you expect from those people? Time to Dis-Other Progs.

Laslo Spatula said...

The Great and Almighty God -- through Baby Nebulae and Meteors, through Dinosaurs and Sharks and Wars -- has simply waited for All of Man to Better Understand Him by Speaking English.

Good job, King James.

And for those saying " Clik-Clak Clik-Clak Ching-Chong" I say English is the Eye of the Camel you Must Pass Through.

Bless you All.

I am Laslo.

traditionalguy said...

Yoga is not banned. Just do it out by the Flagpole under student leadership like Christians do their religion or are arrested.

Have a nice day.

Unknown said...

Purity of essence.

Joe said...

The original intention of yoga was to help the gullible be better suckers at the religious mumbo-jumbo of India. As practiced in the west, it can easily be very bad for you if done slightly wrong.

I'd protest in school as being a giant waste of money.

Ken B said...

"Cultural appropriation " is twaddle. What other forms of learning will you disparage next?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Right back at 'cha, WashPo commenters!

I guarantee if the issue was something like the school promoting silent prayer (with some judeo-christian overtones) the same commenters would be outraged that such a thing was allowed in an American school.

Titus said...

I go to Vinyasa Hot Yoga 3-4 times a week and say Namaste when I am done because I feel a sense of accomplishment and I am sweating my ass off. We are like seals in the place literally on top of each other with our downward facing dogs. Sometimes i can smell vagina which smells like a large mouth bass or walleye.

I am a little surprised that they even have yoga in the deep south.

How to load a gun or fuck your cousin, natch, but yoga? Really?

In Cambridge you can't swing a cat without hitting a gym, yoga studio or meditation center. We even have acupuncture trucks.

And we were rated 7th in the country with the highest paid millennials making over 350k a year!

The economy is adding jobs like crazy and luxury skyscraper buildings are springing up everywhere. You can get a brand new micro-studio for only $2500 a month! 350 square feet-total bargain.

And our hotel rates are number 3 in the country!

During graduation and the summer you can get a cute room at the Sheraton (gasp) for only $800.00!

GE Global Headquarters is now relocating here...for the talent, natch.

Cum visit.

We are basically rich, highly educated at the best schools, white liberals.

But please don't ask for any directions, because we are going to walk right by you and stick our nose up at you rednecks....unless you are from Europe.

Southerners and Midwesterns come to the east coast for an elite education and good paying jobs. Northeasterner's go to the south to retire and than die.

You have to pay to live in fabulous areas. There is a reason non fab areas are cheap-no fab amenities!

Happy Easter, praise our Lord and Savior.

Titus said...

Remember those 4 Quatemalan's in Framingham who were excused of rape?

The charges were dropped.

The couple accusing them would not testify.

MayBee said...

Yoga is wonderful. Of course for children in school take out any religious aspect. The focus on breath is a wonderful meditation technique. The postures as practiced today are for the most part crated long after and separate from the older more religious aspects. The Sun salutations were modeled on the exercise of British soldiers after all (notice how they are like super slow burped?) Take out the om (aum), any symbols, and any discussion about divinity. Then it is exercise separate from religion just like singing can be separate from religion.

chickelit said...

Titus wrote:
The couple accusing them would not testify.

Does that mean "catch and release"?

We know you're partial to "brown hog" Titus...would you do Guatamalan hog?

chickelit said...

Titus: I mean, I believe that the written Althouse record has you fantasizing about doing Dzhokhar_Tsarnaev (It's been a couple years now so correct me if I'm wrong).

Amirite?

Patrick said...

Titus wishes he were half as good as Laslo.

Namaste, bitches.

dwick said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/opinion/sunday/the-hidden-price-of-mindfulness-inc.html

Xmas said...

Titus,

It's not that the couple wouldn't testify. Additional witnesses came forward and some video evidence has been found which clears them. They're still being held for immigration violations.

Paul Zrimsek said...

People in Georgia don't worship Shiva. They worship Bubbha.

Bruce Hayden said...

Weird. Was watching tonight a Forensic Files episode on the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack, and then saw this blog entry on Yoga. Not as close as I initially thought though, because the teachings of Rajneesh were apparently more just a mishmash of Indian theologies.

MaxedOutMama said...

Nichevo - techniques with the rosary, for example, which concentrate on breath rhythm. There's a Greek orthodox breathing/prayer thing. I would think just about any culture has some of these.

When I was a child I was taught by my mother a technique with animals that is used for healing/calming others. It does work - it works very well. I am pretty sure that is fusion Amerind/European Pietist.

When I was a kid in grade school, lo these many decades ago, our teachers used to make us get up and run around, then sit down and breathe deeply and slowly. We didn't have Ritalin back then - the hyper kids were given coffee!

I think there is great merit to teaching kids self-control/self-calming exercises, but the point is that you have to strip the religion/spirituality out of it in a public school. Breathing/stretching/mental focus is neutral - mixing the specific tags in with it is not.

Mr Wibble said...

So, can we bring Catholic Mortification of the Flesh spiritual disciplines into school & call them secular, too?

They already teach it. In San Francisco. They just call it Sex-Ed.

Mr Wibble said...

Remember, if you spend a weekend in the mountains at a sweat lodge doing yoga, crystal healing, and "becoming one with the universe", it's because you're an enlightened person.

If you spend the weekend at a monastery praying the rosary and reading the bible... you're an evil Christian nutter who obviously hates science.

R. Chatt said...

The problem is not with meditation but with the way it was being taught to the children. Really unfortunate for the children that the instructor imposed a trendy mood making aspect of the Yoga practice -- the Namaste greeting, the mandala, the crystals, etc. I don't blame the parents for reacting and rejecting all that.

Meditation has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve the ability to concentrate, and even improve the immune system. Meditation is a skill with lifetime health benefits and doesn't require mood making or a belief system to work, unlike religion. See: WebMD: Better information. Better health. Meditation Health Benefits and Stress Reduction In contrast you can go to church everyday but if you don't believe in the doctrines and don't have faith there won't be any personal benefit; and you won't gain belief or faith just by attendance or repeating prayers. That's the difference. If you do the meditation practice you will get the physiological effects whether you believe in meditation or not.

AlanKH said...

Namaste!

Guildofcannonballs said...

"... don't believe in the doctrines and don't have faith there won't be any personal benefit; and you won't gain belief or faith just by attendance or repeating prayers."

So was the entire concept of behaviorism absolutely wrong in every conceivable aspect and Jung a bigger fraud than Freud is considered by M.D.'s afraid that people just won't understand the mind's limitations compared to degree holding experts?

Is it only praying and going to church that has no psychological effect (compare to the processes of shooting heroin or smoking nicotine for example, if done when no drugs were present but solely because the process is better than not the process t the people engaging in it) and if so can we change divine to mean something like "scientifically proven to be valid as except from all other science proven, the exception that creates all the rules"?

Guildofcannonballs said...

exempt

tim maguire said...

Every religion practices mindfulness. If they follow the practices of a specific religion, then it's a first amendment violation. This is not a hard question and every liberal in that comments section would see it clearly if it didn't involve a religion they have the warm fuzzies for.

Bob R said...

You say "cultural appropriation" like it's a bad thing.

It is finished.

rhhardin said...

I'd have guessed that yoga in school is for picking up babes.

Kristian Holvoet said...

"MOM,
There are techniques of destressing/meditation associated with Christianity too, but I certainly would object if my local school were teaching them to children. I would hope we all would.

3/24/16, 8:24 PM


Please elaborate?"

A.K.A. Prayer

Bob Boyd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ddh said...

All civilization is cultural appropriation, but not all cultures are appropriate.

Anglelyne said...

Wow. Double otherizing.

I admit I sometimes read the comment sections at the WaPo or the NYT for the mean-spirited pleasure of laughing at herd animals who fancy themselves educated, intelligent human beings.

Does that make for triple otherizing? An otherizing vortex?

Bob Boyd said...

Ann Althouse said...."Open private window."

Sounds like some kind of inspirational yoga slogan.

policraticus said...

http://www.amazon.com/The-Goddess-Pose-Audacious-Helped/dp/0307593517

A very interesting read on the original "appropriation" of yoga by the West and how much of it isn't all that Eastern at all. By an old Althouse interlocutor.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Alternate headline: GA Parents, Wary of The Promotion of Religion in School, Push for change

But that wouldn't the the WaPo sneer at Georgians, so nevermind.

jimbino said...

Regardless of belief involved, Yoga, like a "moment of silence" is a religious practice. Religion need not involve belief.

My name goes here. said...

"We're goin do more stretchin, do you want do join us?"

"Namaste over here. Y'all have fun."

John Reece said...

"Cultural appropriation" is just multiculturalism being a two-way street. If I'm compelled to celebrate every aspect of every foreign or fringe identity group's diversity then I'm entitled to hang on to the parts I genuinely like.

Douglas said...

The comments at the Washington Post article are hilarious in their denial of the obvious. The most common claim is that "spirituality is not religion" and thus not subject to the Establishment Clause. I don't know, I guess I always thought that the quest for ecstatic transcendence is a religious one, but silly me.

Of course, you can strip away all the spiritual aspects from yoga and make it into a purely physical exercise. That means no "namaste," no hands to heart, no Om-chanting, no meditation. However, that's not what this Georgia school did, and if you did that, it would be a pretty dry exercise, and it wouldn't really be yoga.

Charlie Martin said...

Guys, come on. Hatha yoga is physical exercise with Sanskrit names. Hardly anyone goes for the whole Ashtanga, even here in Boulder.

Kazinski said...

The reason yoga is not a religion is because it's adherents aren't focused enough to come up with a coherent enough set of beliefs to make it a religion. Despite all their drivel about focusing, and spirituality, they don't muster enough of either to get over a pretty low bar.

A Barney cult would be more dogmatic and coherent.