"Mean": Adj. - 'humble, obscure, or lowly'

O Thou Who camest from above,
The pure celestial fire to impart,
Kindle a flame of sacred love,
Upon the mean altar of my heart.

Spiritual thoughts by
Daniel J. Clausen, author of HOW GODS ARE MADE

A division of Codex Spiritualis

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Yoga In Schools Violates No Prayer in School

I recently saw this segment on the Early Show:

It is a unabashed endorsement for the practice of Yoga in schools. The segment shows the apparent virtues of this practice: higher test scores, better behavior, and a general sense of well-being from the students. The students claim to love it, and it is lauded by superintendents and non-profits, whose goal is to incorporate Yoga into school curriculum.
I am bringing all of this up only as a matter of principle for this one reason: Yoga is prayer. It is true, Yoga is not conventional western or familiar in its form - but make no mistake, it is prayer.
The word "Yoga" itself is a Sanskrit word meaning "yoke", from a root, "yuj", which means to "join, unite or attach". Hence the inherent spiritual goal is a joining, a uniting or attachment to the divine. Now, there are various disciplines and schools of Yoga, but all of their practice is for spiritual attainment or unity to Brahman with Atman. ie, experientially realizing the oneness of Atman(self) with Brahman(pantheistic diety).
Now, I am not ignorant to the fact that many people choose to practice yoga simply as a "good exercise", but it is a form that cannot truly be divorced from its spiritual connotations. There is even an upswell of anger from the Hindu community at the secularization of the practice. See below:
[This video is important to my point, and only 2 minutes. Please watch!]

So, I'm not picking on Hindus. They may all practice yoga to their hearts content. The issue is that in America, in 1962, prayer was taken out of the public schools. I am only saying as a matter of principle and fairness that if these are the rules we, as Americans must abide by, it should apply to all traditions of prayer and not only to Abrahamic religions. It should certainly not be endorsed by school boards or superintendents. If we all agree to allow prayer back into schools, may we all pray and practice our faiths respectfully - but as it is now, we ought not to play favorites. And out of simple respect for their ancient tradition, perhaps we should not try to secularize their "path to enlightenment." If stretching and a little muscle burn helps kids, lets find gym class. But lets not patronize the Hindus or disrespect other forms of prayer because of its benefits.
Mind you, if the issue were simply about the focus, grades and behavior of kids, conventional prayer provides all that and more - so all should be allowed. But as it stands today, with the law as it is today and the way America has chosen to separate its religious life, this should not abide.

Any thoughts?