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Georgia School Bans Namaste… Will Shalom Be Next?

Ummmmmmm… I mean Ohmmmmmm…..

Yoga is supposed to reduce tsurris, not create it.

Bullard Elementary in suburban Atlanta has banned the use of the word “namaste” in school. It was used as part of their Mindfulness sessions, which promoted calmness, compassion, care, and mindful breath exercises. Some parents at a Kennesaw, Georgia school were so offended that they had it banned. They thought it was an illegal incursion of or promotion of non-Christian religions in public schools.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the school’s principal has apologized to parents, writing the she is truly sorry “that the mindfulness/ de-stressing practices here at Bullard caused many misconceptions that in turn created a distraction in our school and community. “While we have been practicing de-stressing techniques in many classrooms for years, there have been some recent practices associated with mindfulness that are offensive to some.”

Also banned is the use of coloring of the Mandala symbol.

The Christian Science Monitor reported that the school will create a parents advisory committee. Also it mentioned that a few parents complained that the issue was more about some ROGUE YOGA teachers who mentioned chakras, buddhist ideas, and healing crystals during a class.

Cheryl Crawford (ERYT- 500, RCYT, B.S.ED. CO-GROUNDER), a Yoga teacher who writes that she is grounded in compassion and elevated in absurdity, is dedicated to connecting children to the power of a seriously playful yoga practice in Atlanta. She mixes Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) with yoga sutras. She was a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and curriculum coordinator for over a decade, and started doing yoga when she was pregnant with triplets. If teaching yoga is something that interests you, click here for more information. She told USA Today that, “Namaste means the light in me sees the light in you. When we teach it in school it’s a greeting in India. It’s a greeting like hello. We tell them that the goodness in me sees the goodness in you.” She said that eliminating the Hindu greeting is not a big deal and she’s glad students are getting the benefits from yoga: breathing training, mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Students can still work on breathing but can skip Pranamasana in which where child presses hands together and bows.

School officials were not available for comment on whether they would replace “Namaste” with a more palatable “Shalom” or “Bonjour.”

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