Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday signed a bill that ended a decades-old ban on the practice of yoga in Alabama public schools. House Bill 246 was sponsored by state Rep. Jeremy Gray, D-Opelika.
Ivey said that the bill is “a step forward for Alabama.”
Gray said that the Senate amended the bill to require that any students participating must get a permission slip signed by their parents. Also, the Senate amended the bill so that only secular meditation was allowed, not spiritual meditation.
Grey questioned the second change to the bill but asked for the House to concur with the Senate on the changes during the last legislative day.
Hindus welcomed the passage of HB246 allowing yoga in Alabama public schools, saying that although it came with a lot of unnecessary and impertinent restrictions, it was still good for the overall well-being of Alabamians.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked Ivey and the Alabama Legislature for waking-up to the needs of Alabama’s pupils and bringing Alabama into the 21st Century at par with the rest of the nation. Multi-beneficial yoga was urgently needed to be incorporated into the lives of Alabama’s public-school students.
Zed is the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism. He indicated that Alabamians should not be scared of yoga at all. Zed pointed out that the overwhelming majority of yoga instructors and practitioners in the United States and Alabama were non-Hindus and they usually stayed non-Hindus sticking to their own respective faith traditions even after years of yoga practice.
The Foundation for Moral Law and Alabama Eagle Forum lobbied against the bill in the Senate committee, saying that holding the elective classes on yoga would be proselytizing for Hinduism. Zed said that traditionally Hinduism was not into proselytizing.
Rajan Zed further said that yoga “prohibition” was clearly doing a disservice to Alabama’s K-12 public school students and denying them the valuable opportunities yoga provided.
Yoga, referred to as “a living fossil,” is a mental and physical discipline that traces back to around 2,000 BC to the Indus Valley civilization.
No child can be required to do yoga if he/she or their parents do not want to participate and whether or not to offer this will be left up to the local school systems who can offer or not offer this at their discretion.