Yoga as a Conspiracy to Convert our Kids

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October 29, 2013; Fox News Latino


Who could predict that when Albuquerque elementary school teacher Ann Paulls-Neal presented in front of a legislative study committee about student health and childhood obesity, she would incite such a firestorm of concern?

Paulls-Neal described the stretching exercises she has her students do, saying that she is careful not to refer to them as “yoga” because of any potential worry about the inculcation of religion. But this caught the attention of Rep. Alonzo Baldonado (R-NM), and the Republican state legislator has expressed concern about having children do mat excercises in school, saying that parents should be notified and given the opt-out option because yoga is linked to Eastern religions.

“Are we teaching yoga in public schools now?” he asked. “Are parents notified?”

Baldonado’s children are homeschooled, so they are in no imminent danger, and he said said he has nothing against Buddhism or Hinduism, but that yoga could be viewed as a gateway to Eastern religion. “We have the authority, the charge from God,” he said,” to raise our children as we see fit.”

Patrick Davis of the nonprofit ProgressNowNM commented, “Of all the things a legislator could focus on to get our public schools back on track, Rep. Baldonado chose this one as his most important…Even for conspiracy theorists, this one seems far-fetched. How he thinks a rudimentary stretching routine meant to improve physical health could lead students to join a religious cult is beyond me.”

But Baldonado stands by his expressed concern, saying that it it is line with the requirement of separation of church and state and general opposition to prayer in public schools.—Ruth McCambridge

  • Emanuele Corso, PhD

    Baldonado is just the latest in right-wing nuts to seek publicity in any possible way. Yoga is an exercise program and nothing more – he knows that but also knows he has a willing and uniformed audience for his distortions.

  • Deb

    A gateway to Eastern religion? Wow. I would like to see a list of ideas and practices that we call “American” or “Christian” that doesn’t have some link to some other culture, race or religion. Hmm lets start with Jazz? Jazz wasn’t in existence in American until the black slaves combine their music with others to create a new genre. Wow…we better not let our kids hear or learn about Jazz because it may cause them to join some african tribe or cult! Or maybe they shouldn’t eat Italian food because they might join some Italian mafia. And lets see….they aren’t praying while doing yoga are they? So what does a general opposition to prayer in public schools have to do with it? And then they really ought to not be reciting the pledge of allegiance because that is forcing us all, no matter what religion we hold beliefs in, that we should be trusting in god, which by the way is in reference to the christian god. Separation of church and state taken a bit too far? Not any farther than doing yoga is going to cause children to join a cult. All this shallow Baldonado jerk is doing is creating an even greater level of hate, and intolerance of others. Get real people! Get real!

  • Bhalchandra

    Christianity too is also an Eastern Religion.
    Jesus had trained himself in Yoga in India.

  • christine

    I took yoga classes in university. .I was an agnostic at the time. Through my yoga practice I became more and more involved in what we in the West refer to as Eastern religions like Hunduism, Buddhism and Taoism, as well as the New Age movement and eventually a lot of occult practices. I eventually ended up in a cult, from which I was (thankfully) kidnapped by my friends and de-programmed.

  • Bruce Weinstein

    You are not a left-wing nut? So, you have the ability for classification of certain people believing and living their values that are not as yours and you therefore believe we are conspirators? Give me two breaks here Doc.

  • R. Kinney

    .. and playing sports could lead to steroid use. Watching Fox News can lead to believing everything is a conspiracy, even exercise! God forbid we teach our kids to stretch and be healthy! Deb hit the nail on the head!

  • Kate

    This article does not seem in line with NPQ’s vision of “credible, research based articles for nonprofits about management and governance.”

    Even a superficial analysis of the yoga tradition would reveal that physical “asana” has historically been a distinct category of practice, even in the context of traditional Indian yoga. In fact, Patanjali’s source texts, although centuries old, are comparitivly sparse and technical.

    Baldonado’s reactionary stance on physical yoga, which closes this article, deserves a better critique than a quote from someone “of the nonprofit ProgressNowNM”