Students in Alabama may soon have the opportunity to learn yoga poses in their public schools — they just won't be able to greet one another with "namaste."
Encouraged by conservative groups, the Alabama Board of Education voted in 1993 to ban yoga and meditation in public schools, The Guardian reports. Some schools have reported that parents complained yoga advocates a "non-Christian belief system," but state Rep. Jeremy Gray (D) hopes times have changed enough that his new bill lifting the ban will pass.
Gray's bill is expected to be debated Tuesday in the Alabama House of Representatives; if it passes with a two-thirds majority, it will move on to the state Senate. While the ban on teaching yoga in public schools would be lifted, the poses would have to have English names and the students would not be allowed to chant or say "namaste."
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A former football player at North Carolina State University, Gray told CBS 42 last summer that yoga is beneficial for a number of reasons, and it helps him with "my discipline and being able to focus and to accomplish my goals." The bill didn't gain any traction during last year's legislative session, but Gray hopes this will be the year that Alabama's kids can finally learn the child's pose.
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