Ala. House passes bill to lift ban on yoga in public schools

Ala. House passes yoga bill

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama House passed a bill Tuesday that would allow school boards to offer yoga classes in K-12 public schools.

Rep. Jeremy Gray, D-Opelika, sponsored the bill that would allow yoga as an elective class in schools. Students are allowed to opt out of the class.

“Being an athlete, yoga was introduced to me,” said Gray. “I also taught classes at the local gyms, so I understood the concept of yoga for its physical and mental benefits.”

The bill said all poses should have English descriptive names. Chanting, mantras, and namaste greetings are prohibited.

Gray said teachers in other classes would be allowed to incorporate yoga in their curriculum.

“They call it mindfulness. Movement. You can do things like take deep breaths and count to 10. You can tell your neighbor that you love them," said Gray. "So there’s different aspects of yoga.”

Several Republicans and Democrats stood in support of the bill on the House floor. In the past, opposition cited the religious roots of yoga as reasons not to allow it in schools. However, no lawmakers expressed that view on the House floor Tuesday.

The bill passed 84-17 Tuesday in the House and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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