A bill making its way through the Alabama Legislature would lift the state’s nearly three decade ban on teaching yoga in public schools. The Washington Post reports that the state’s House of Representatives voted 73-25 on Thursday to lift the ban, which was enacted in 1993 by the state’s Board of Education after opposition by conservative groups over its Hindu roots.
Included in the bill, however, are the following two provisions:
- “All poses, exercises, and stretching techniques shall have exclusively English descriptive names.”
- “Chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited.”
Nikunj Trivedi, president of the grassroots advocacy organization Coalition of Hindus of North America, called the move a positive step, but added that the banning of chanting and Sanskrit phrases was “a very colonial way of thinking, where you just strip away the indigenous culture and pick and choose.”
Watch an AL.com video from a few years back on the history of Alabama’s ban on yoga in public schools below.