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’.