Yoga case ruling appealed; religious indoctrination targeted

Monday, November 4, 2013
Becky Yeh - California correspondent (

A California-based legal group is appealing a ruling that allows a school district to promote a deeply religious form of yoga to students.

The National Center for Law & Policy (NCLP) filed a notice of appeal last week in a yoga case involving a San Diego school district. Attorneys say the "Ashtanga" yoga program for kindergarten through sixth grade in Encinitas Union School District promotes religion because it teaches students a deeply religious form of yoga. In July, San Diego Superior Court Judge John S. Meyer ruled favorably toward the school district, but acknowledged that yoga is "pervasively religious."

NCLP president Dean Broyles says children in public school classrooms aren't "religious guinea pigs" to be subjected to "misguided religious experimentation" by the state.

Broyles, Dean (NCLP)"Children are our most precious resources and do not deserve to be indoctrinated when they attend public schools," he tells OneNewsNow. "The EUSD trustees continue to breach their fiduciary duties to uphold the U.S. and California Constitutions. We will do everything in our power to achieve a legal and just result going forward."

Broyles says his firm is confident about its chances to be successful in its appeal, provided the court neutrally applies "well-established First Amendment principles" to the program.

"It is not the job of government to pick religious winners and losers," he states in a press release. "We must not allow the cultural elites to decide by fiat which politically correct religions, such as Hinduism or Islam, are acceptable for the state to promote to our children with our taxpayer resources, and which religions are not acceptable, such as Christianity."

Judge Meyer noted that EUSD did not violate the Establishment Clauses of the U.S. Constitution or the California Constitution. The district hired yoga instructors to teach yoga as part of the district's physical education program, but Meyer determined enough religious content had been stripped from the program that most students wouldn't perceive it as promotion of religion.

NCLP notes that the program is designed to be taught in schools across the country if it proves to be successful in the Encinitas School District.

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