Aspen Parents Fear Yoga Class Teaches Religion

Yoga Ed Halted At Aspen Elementary School
The Denver Channel, Aug. 28, 2002

ASPEN, Colo. — A yoga program at Aspen Elementary school has been put on hold while administrators and parents determine whether the meditation would bring religion into the classroom.

Some families say the chanting that accompanies a selection of yoga techniques creates a challenge for separation of church and state.

Principal Barb Pitchford said the program was proposed as a way to help kids cope with the return to classes. Rowdy students could be calmed and readied for classwork after recess using a series of relaxing breathing and stretching techniques.

“In this day and age, children, I think, are overstimulated visually and auditorally,” Pitchford said.

In response to parents’ concerns, school officials will hold a meeting Sept. 4 to answer questions about the yoga pilot program, called Yoga Ed.

“If there’s a significant number of parents, after gathering information, that are still concerned about it, we don’t necessarily have to go forward with it,” Pitchford said.

The Aspen Center for New Medicine, with help from the Aspen Youth Center and Aspen Education Foundation, is sponsoring the program. The idea of introducing yoga to Aspen youth grew out of an expert’s presentation at the center in February.

“We had a large response from people interested in getting more yoga into the Aspen community,” said Betsy Fifield, chair of the center’s Children’s Health Initiative. “There are no yoga classes available for the kids.”


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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday August 29, 2002.
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