Bill that would end Alabama’s ban on yoga in public schools stalls in Senate

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Posted at 11:58 AM, Apr 02, 2021

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s decades-old ban on yoga in public schools could stay in place a little longer.

A bill that would allow yoga in K-12 schools stalled Wednesday in the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee. During a hearing, two conservative groups objected because of yoga’s historic ties to Hinduism.

After the bill stalled, the that Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Tom Whatley immediately moved to reconsider the vote and carry the bill over, meaning it can be voted on again, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.

The Alabama Board of Education voted in 1993 to prohibit yoga, hypnosis and meditation in public school classrooms. The ban was pushed by conservative groups.

The new bill by Democratic Rep. Jeremy Gray of Opelika would allow schools to authorize yoga if they choose. The legislation specifies that the use of chanting, mantras and teaching the greeting “namaste” would be forbidden.

Gray began doing yoga as a college football player at North Carolina State. He says the bill is about exercise and not religion.

The yoga bill passed the Alabama House of Representatives in March by a vote of 73-25.