Ivey signs bill allowing K-12 schools to teach yoga

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 4:56 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday signed legislation to allow public schools to teach yoga, overturning a ban put in place 27 years ago at the urging of conservative groups.

The legislation sponsored by Democratic Rep. Jeremy Gray, a former college athlete who did yoga as part of his training, says schools can opt to teach yoga if they choose. However, all poses would have to have English names. The use of chanting, mantras and teaching the greeting “namaste” would be forbidden.

The Alabama Board of Education in 1993 voted to prohibit yoga, hypnosis and meditation in public school classrooms.

Gray, a former cornerback at North Carolina State University, said he was introduced to yoga through football and said the exercises can provide mental and physical benefits to students. Many professional and college sports teams incorporate yoga into their training because of the benefits of flexibility and concentration, he said.

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