After a nearly three-decade battle, students in Alabama
's public schools
can now practice yoga
However, they are not permitted to use the traditional Sanskrit salutation "namaste," nor are they permitted to meditate or make the sound "om."
“Chanting, mantras, mudras, the use of mandalas, the induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited,” states the new bill, which GOP
Gov. Kay Ivey
signed into law on Thursday.
The law, which takes effect in August, also requires that all poses and exercises be given English names, and students will need a parent's permission slip stating that they understand the practice is linked to Hinduism in order to practice it at school.
Yoga was outlawed in the state in 1993 following a massive campaign against it by conservative Christians who claimed it was a gateway to Hinduism; some of the same venomous rhetoric was directed at the new measure, but it was not enough to stop it.
Teachers and staff with permits are permitted to bring concealed firearms into public schools, but they have not been permitted to bring a yoga mat until now.
Inbox: Gov. Kay Ivey has signed legislation allowing K-12 schools to offer yoga as an elective, effectively closing the book
on one of Alabama's stupidest moral panics, which is saying a lot. #alpolitics pic.twitter.com/wnzcTYFyKp — Brian Lyman (@lyman_brian) May 20, 2021
The “hopelessly stupid” legislation was slammed by outraged critics.
love to claim that liberals want to outlaw free speech on college campuses, but here they are in Alabama, outlawing actual words... and SOUNDS. https://t.co/nEvOktDBvc
— Tom Bonier (@tbonier) May 21, 2021
Alabama's hopelessly stupid Yoga legislation provides a candid preview of what the country will face if the Troglodytes succeed in establishing their racist
corporate theocracy. — Nerzog (@Nerzog999) May 21, 2021
Alabama, USA, lifts a three-decade ban on yoga in public schools on August 1st, BUT:• Teachers can't say Namaste• No sanskrit names for poses• Sound of 'Om' not allowed• Chanting not allowedThe country that frequently lectures the rest of the world on secularism and democracy
. pic.twitter.com/KFciCq0OKh — Zucker Doctor (@DoctorLFC)
Alabama reversed its cancellation of yoga but attempted to maintain its cancellation of Hinduism, which violates the Alabama Constitution. https://t.co/PWryT5oAQ7
— Millard Fillmore White House
Library (@FillmoreWhite) May 22, 2021