Oklahoma launches yoga as “brain-breaks” for students, while it is banned in nearby Alabama

Yoga has reportedly been introduced in some Oklahoma public schools as periodic “brain-breaks” for students.

On the other hand, Alabama State Department of Education Administrative Code (290­040­040­.02) states: “School personnel shall be prohibited from using any techniques that involve the induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, meditation or yoga”.

According to reports; “brain break” is a brief break in instruction, during which students are encouraged to get up from their desks and engage in yoga or other physical activity in the standard classroom environment, with the aim of improving concentration and learning. Oklahoma State Department of Education staff introduced yoga as an activity for brain breaks and for Physical Education and Health classes through presentations last school year.

Calling it a step in the positive direction, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, welcomed the incorporation of highly beneficial yoga in the lives of Oklahoma students.

Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out.

Rajan Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

According to a report of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Yoga is the most popular complementary health approach in the United States – used by 14.3% of the adult population, or 35.2 million people”. According to US National Institutes of Health; yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.

Yoga is mentioned under “Fitness activities” (means activities with a focus on improving or maintaining fitness) in Oklahoma Administrative Code Section 210:15-3-164. Yoga “is often embedded in a Physical Education and Health class, along with other methods of exercise; reports suggest.

Instructional Services FAQs on the website of Alabama State Department of Education modified on July 9, 2014 state: Yoga may not be offered during regular school hours or after regular school hours to public school students on a public school campus in Alabama. Another page on this Alabama website indicates: Yoga is prohibited and may not be taught on public school property to public school students, staff, or as part of community education.

Source: World Hindu News (WHN)