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Re: [bostonatheists] Yoga Lessons in public school

From: kenneth a. t.
Sent on: Friday, October 26, 2012 7:57 PM
The subject of yoga being offered to school children is of modest interest to me, as a member of the atheist community as well.
Something that I regard a smuch more important is the thins being brought to my attention as I read " Moral Combat: Black Atheist, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars", by Sikivu Hitchinson. I'm just in the beginning of the book. However what she's writing about is of compelling importance. Hutchinson expresses the opinion that black atheist, ( and moreover black male atheist, and even more so white atheist),on the east coast enjoy a noticable degree of stability, and security that is not available to the very few black female atheist, and to a less extent the black male atheist on the west coast.
With the consequence that there are more black female atheist, who don't declare that identity due to isolation, and marginalization.
I'm a black male atheist who regards himself very isolated, and marginalized on the east coast. And that is the reason that when I meet other atheist I often comment on the absence of a supportive atheist community. Which to me needs to include legal services, job referrals, couples counseling, child care, schooling, housing, and more.
Until then there is no real atheist community. Just a bunch of isolated atheist. Which is better that nothing, yet far from what is likely available when intention is applied productively.
An example of something that I think is more deserving of conversation in an atheist community.
Best regards Kenneth Thomas.

 
From: Kiel Lazarski <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Friday, October 26,[masked]:14 PM
Subject: Re: [bostonatheists] Yoga Lessons in public school

I agree with the previous email. The atheist community surely has more important things to focus on (e.g. Rep. Paul Broun being on the House Science Committee) than the hidden theological agenda behind our children's physical education.

On Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 6:42 PM, Anthony Medel <[address removed]> wrote:
Any kind of yoga, even Ashtanga yoga, can be separated from any religious practice.  It's like saying that since Halloween started out as a superstitious Keltic practice of human sacrifice, there is a direct link between our celebrating of it and blood ritual.  It's simply dishonest.

When I was in 2nd grade, we had a Japanese teacher who taught us how to make ceramic bowls decorated with cherry blossoms, rice cakes and other things of Japanese origin.  Whatever the symbolism of cherry blossoms might have been at other points in history, we weren't being "taught" anything more than a fun skill.  Renaissance art is almost always religious in content, but that doesn't mean kids shouldn't learn to make frescoes or learn about single vanishing point perspective.  The Olympics originated in Greece and concerned its pantheon of gods and goddesses, but that doesn't mean kids shouldn't have goals of competing in them.

Unless it can be shown that anything other than yoga poses are being taught in these schools, there is nothing to worry about.  The fact of the matter remains is that, whatever its context may have been, the part most of us are concerned with is the physical benefit of it.  If kids are only engaging in a fun, healthy, non-competitive activity, what's the harm?  My little cousin loves doing the poses and trying to get better at holding them longer and longer.  It seems to help him focus which is good as he has a form of ADD.  There are far more benefits to kids than negative effects.  To think that doing yoga must lead to any kind of religious belief system is simply erroneous and frankly a little paranoid.  Doesn't help the cause of atheism at all.  It makes us no better than the conservative Christians who are dismissing it for similar reasons.


[masked]
AIM: 
anthonymedel
Skype: anthonyjmedel

On Oct 26, 2012, at 4:11 PM, Raja <[address removed]> wrote:

I think we have drifted far away from the real discussion. It was about the constitutionality of Asthanga Yoga teaching in a public school. Two things that I think is very critical and need serious attention:

1. "Students at half of the Encinitas district’s nine schools started the yoga program last month, and the other campuses will get the classes beginning in January. The effort is being paid for with a $533,000 grant from the Jois Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes Ashtanga yoga across the world."

2. "The district is in charge of writing the curriculum and hiring teachers, though the contract stipulated that the instructors must be trained by the Jois Foundation."

First of all, I am not certain how Jois Foudation is a non-profit organization. That needs explanation. Second, apart from the obvious woo woos about this specific yoga style (Ashtanga Yoga) that is suggested as ".... an ancient system that can lead to liberation and greater awareness of our spiritual potential," there is a directly link between this Yoga and Hinduism. On their web site they describe the chanting as:

"Learn the fundamentals of Sanskrit chanting with correct pronunciation and intonation through recitations from texts such as the Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. Donations go to the KPJ Trust in Mysore, India. (not my emphasis)"

Bhagavad Gita (and Upanishad too) is essentially the Holy book of Hinduism. I do not think it is too difficult to link Ashtanga Yoga with religion. My point is, do yoga or whatever if you like, but keep it outside public school.

Subject: Re: [bostonatheists] Yoga Lessons in public school
From: [address removed]
To: [address removed]
Date: Fri, 26 Oct[masked]:04:22 -0400

<<AHhh, don’t hit me, Zack. It wasn’t confrontational.>>
I... I pardon you.




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