For most people, the religious aspects of yoga have been long since forgotten. I mean, most people are aware that yoga comes from a place not in America, but I doubt your average yoga class is stretching to reach enlightenment. For most people, yoga is simply a way to relieve stress and get in better shape while improving balance and flexibility. Not so for Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, who see yoga as a threat to their religious beliefs and are filing lawsuits to get the program stopped. The Sedlock family are suing the Encinitas Union School District to get yoga pulled from gym classes.
“EUSD’s Ashtanga yoga program represents a serious breach of the public trust,” said Dean Broyles, attorney for the family. “Compliance with the clear requirements of law is not optional or discretionary. This is frankly the clearest case of the state trampling on the religious freedom rights of citizens that I have personally witnessed in my 18 years of practice as a constitutional attorney.”
EUSD is the first school system to have full-time yoga teachers in each of its schools courtesy of a $533,000, three-year grant from the Jois Foundation, a group that promotes Ashtanga yoga. To their credit, the Sedlocks aren’t suing for money; they simply want the program halted. Superintendent Timothy B. Baird has said that the yoga program will go on as scheduled.
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