Saturday March 24, 2018

Students in Georgia school will no longer say ‘Namaste’ during Yoga practice


Bullard Elementary School students in Georgia will no longer say ‘Namaste’ during yoga practice

Georgia, US: The children of one Georgia elementary school will namaste no more during yoga practice after their parents complained to officials that it pushed the Hindu religion onto students.
Bullard Elementary School principal Patricia Moore promised parents this week that students would no longer say ‘Namaste’ or put their hands at heart center, part of the gesture, during yoga.

‘I am truly sorry that the mindfulness/de-stressing practices here at Bullard caused many misconceptions that in turn created a distraction in our school and community,’ she said in a letter to parents.

Bullard Elementary School in Kennesaw, Georgia will no longer allow children to say ‘Namaste’ or put their hands at heart center, part of the gesture, during the school’s yoga practice (file photo)

‘While we have been practicing de-stressing techniques in many classrooms for years, there have been some recent practices associated with mindfulness that are offensive to some.’

The word Namaste literally translates to ‘I bow to you’ but has also been interpreted to mean ‘The divine light in me honors the divine light in you,’ according to The Chopra Center.

In the Namaste gesture, one places their hands together at the heart, closes their eyes and bows. It is used to conclude a yoga practice and in the Hindu custom is a respectful and common way to say hello.

But some parents at the Kennesaw elementary school saw it as the equivalent of prayer in the classroom.

‘They’re pushing ideology on our students,’ Cobb County mother, Susan Jaramillo told 11 Alive.

‘Some of those things are religious practices that we don’t want our children doing in our schools.’

Bullard held a ‘Coffee and Conversations’ with parents to discuss their concerns before Moore announced the removal of the word from the students’ yoga practice.

The school will also no longer all students to color Mandalas during breaks. A mandala is a Hindu and Buddhist symbol for the universe that has become a popular pattern for coloring books

The principal added that the students would also stop using Mandala coloring pages during their ‘brain breaks’.

A mandala, loosely translated to mean ‘circle’ in Sanskrit, is a Hindu and Buddhist symbol for the universe.

It has since become a generic term for any diagram or pattern that represents the cosmos and, thanks to its intricate design, has become a popular pattern for both children and adult coloring books.

Moore said teachers would also continue not teaching students about the possible healing powers of crystals.

‘Although teachers have never used nor taught about crystals having healing powers during these breaks, we understand it has become a belief,’ she wrote.

‘Therefore we will ensure that nothing resembling this will be done in the future.’

Moore said the school also plans to form a committee of parents that will explore ‘research-based techniques and ideas for the classroom’, including when it comes to ‘mindfulness’.


Next Story

Yoga Face-toning May Compete With Fillers, Face-lifts

"The jury is still out on whether or not facial yoga is effective in reversing the signs of aging," he said in an email.

Yoga face toning is an effective way of reducing the signs of ageing. VOA
  • Yoga face toning may take over botox and face lifting procedures.
  • 27 participants noted changes in their faces after weeks of this experiment.
  • It is still a matter of discussion if this method can reverse ageing or not.

In his toolbox of Botox, fillers and plastic surgery, cosmetic dermatologist Dr Murad Alam has added a new, low-cost, noninvasive anti-ageing treatment: facial yoga.

Dermatologists measured improvements in the appearance of the faces of a small group of middle-aged women after they did half an hour of daily face-toning exercises for eight weeks, followed by alternate-day exercises for another 12 weeks.

Facial exercises are healthier than surgeries. Pixabay
Facial exercises are healthier than surgeries. Pixabay

The results surprised lead author Alam, vice chair and professor of dermatology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“In fact, the results were stronger than I expected,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s really a win-win for patients.”

Participants included 27 women between 40 and 65, though only 16 completed the full course. It began with two 90-minute muscle-resistant facial exercise-training sessions led by co-author Gary Sikorski of Happy Face Yoga in Providence, Rhode Island.

Participants learned to perform cheek pushups and eye-bag removers, among other exercises. Then they practised at home.

Improvements noted

Dermatologists looking at unmarked before-and-after photos saw improvements in upper cheek and lower cheek fullness, and they estimated the average age of women who stuck with the program as significantly younger at the end than at the start.

Face yoga is a healthier substitute to surgical procedures. Pixabay
Face yoga is a healthier substitute for surgical procedures. Pixabay

The average estimated age dropped almost three years, from nearly 51 years to 48 years.

Participants also rated themselves as more satisfied with the appearance of their faces at the study’s end, Alam and colleagues reported in JAMA Dermatology.

“Now there is some evidence that facial exercises may improve facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of ageing,” Alam said. “Assuming the findings are confirmed in a larger study, individuals now have a low-cost, non-toxic way of looking younger or augmenting other cosmetic or anti-ageing treatments they may be seeking.”

The exercises enlarge and strengthen facial muscles to firm and tone the face, giving it a younger appearance, he said.

Happy Face sells instructional worksheets — promising smoother skin, firmed cheeks and raised eyelids — for $19.95. DVDs cost $24.95.

Some skepticism

But not all dermatologists are rushing to promote the videos or the exercises.

Dr John Chi, a plastic surgeon and professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, said the study raises more questions than it answers.

“The jury is still out on whether or not facial yoga is effective in reversing the signs of ageing,” he said in an email.

Chi, who was not involved with the study, said he would recommend facial yoga to patients who found it relaxing and enjoyable but not for the purpose of facial rejuvenation.

“While the premise of facial exercises to improve the facial appearance or reverse signs of ageing is an appealing one, there is little evidence to suggest that there is any benefit in this regard,” he said.

Chi said facial yoga had not been rigorously examined in peer-reviewed scientific studies. Asked whether procedures such as face-lifts, Botox and fillers had been rigorously examined in peer-reviewed studies, he replied: “Great question. Attempts to do so have been made in the scientific literature with variable levels of scientific rigour.”

Alam agrees that his study raises additional research questions, such as whether the exercises would work for men and how much time people need to commit to doing the exercises for them to be optimally effective. He would like to see a larger study. VOA