A state appeals court panel will hear arguments next week in a group's appeal of the lower court's ruling over the yoga program in the Encinitas Union School District. File photo
A state appeals court panel will hear arguments next week in a group's appeal of the lower court's ruling over the yoga program in the Encinitas Union School District. File photo
Community Community News Rancho Santa Fe

Arguments to be heard in yoga case

ENCINITAS — A conservative rights group’s continued litigation against the Encinitas Union School District’s yoga program returns to court next week when a state appeals court panel will hear arguments in the group’s appeal of the lower court’s ruling.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal March 11 will hear oral arguments in Sedlock v. Baird, the case filed by the National Center for Law and Policy on behalf of the parents of two El Camino Creek students, who said the district’s yoga program endorsed Hindu religious beliefs promoted in Ashtanga yoga and indoctrinated students with those beliefs.

Superior Court Judge John Meyer, however, ruled in 2013 in favor of the school district and the group Yoga for Encinitas Students — known as YES — that the district’s program did not endorse one religion over another and did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s “establishment clause.”

The battle over the school district’s yoga program gained national attention as it pitted education officials with religious and conservative rights groups over whether the exercise program is appropriate for elementary school aged children.

The school district has argued that the yoga it teaches students has been stripped of its religious vestiges and is a vital part of the district’s health and wellness program. It has expanded the yoga program significantly in size after receiving a $1.3 million grant from the Sonima Foundation — previously known as the Jois Foundation — by increasing the number of yoga instructors from 10 to 18.

Dean Broyles, an attorney with the National Center, said the case will have implications across the country and mirrors a case currently before the Supreme Court in India, where justices there are hearing arguments in an appeal of a lower court’s ruling that teaching yoga in public classrooms discriminated against Christian and Muslim minorities.

The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. in Division One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, 750 B Street, Suite 300, San Diego.

3 comments

John E March 11, 2015 at 6:43 am

A “conservative rights group”? What about the rights of some 90% of the students, parents, and teachers, who span the entire political spectrum and who recognize yoga’s well-documented mental, physical, and emotional health benefits? Accommodations and opt-out alternatives have been provided for those who wish to exclude themselves or their kids.

I am a Christian Republican. (OK, as a Methodist and a RINO, maybe I don’t count. 🙂 ) I have practiced Iyenga yoga, and I am proud that my younger son works part time as a certified yoga teacher, to help pay for med school. Any perceived religious conflict is strictly in the minds of the protesters, who need to be a little more faithful to their own small government, live-and-let-live political philosophy, which I fully endorse.

Swami Param March 18, 2015 at 5:39 am

What about the rights of Hindus who own Yoga? How arrogant and insulting to all involved.

Swami Param March 19, 2015 at 5:57 am

Iyengar Yoga is a cult (like Bikram,Jois etc.). One man had the nerve to put his name on a Hindu religious practice. The whole notion of “certified yoga teachers” is a farce. Imagine in 200/hrs. becoming a “professional yogi”–an absurd notion. One has to wonder what is going on not only in the world at large but also in the school systems. To uncover the facts of Yoga, all one has to do is the least bit of research: dictionary, books on comparative religions, etc. If fact, the Sanskrit/Hindu word “yoga” has absolutely noting to do with the physical body! Today’s yoga delusion is a reminder of other delusions that were perpetuated for centuries.

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