On the surface, teaching kids yoga in a public school sounds like a reasonable idea. It's a popular exercise activity and helps kids stay in shape. But nothing is ever as simple as it seems.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a family in a San Diego suburb "sued the Encinitas Union School District, saying that teaching yoga to their kids twice a week amounted to unconstitutional religious indoctrination."
Yoga has roots in Hindu philosophy and the family, who is devoutly Christian, argued that teaching yoga in public school violated the First Amendment and separation of church and state.
However, a California judge ruled in favor of the school district on Monday, saying despite its roots, teaching yoga as part of a school's fitness program does not amount to teaching children religion.
In an article by Reuters, San Diego Superior Court Judge John Meyer was quoted as saying:
"Yoga as it has developed in the last 20 years is rooted in American culture, not Indian culture. It is a distinctly American cultural phenomenon. A reasonable student would not objectively perceive that Encinitas school district yoga advances or promotes religion."
The family's attorney, Dean Broyles, argued that yoga "is religious and has religious aspects." He went on to say "There is a consistent anti-Christian bias in these cases, and a pro-Eastern or strange religion bias."
The lawsuit did not seek monetary damages, however it is expected to be appealed.