Our students do yoga in my school as part of their warm-ups for PE. To even suggest that this is part of some underhanded attempt to get the kids into “eastern” religions would be borderline paranoia.
The Sign of the Cross is not an exercise, though it does bear some resemblance to the movements done when conducting a choir. Should music students then not be taught how to conduct music? And genuflecting actually is an exercise. Can’t remember what the exersice is called, but I remember having to “genuflect” across the room as a quad-strengthening exercise. It was penitential to say the least, but it wasn’t Catholic.
Yoga can be presented as a spiritual or paraspiritual activity (centering, meditating, etc.), or it can be presented as increasing balance, flexibility, strength, and focus, as well as encouraging cross-brain connections/activity before a strenuous mental activity (like taking a standardized test). Definitely talk with the teacher(s) at the school, but please keep an open mind. We teachers are also devout Catholics, some of us, and I don’t know of one who doesn’t want to hear from a concerned parent.
Voicing your concerns will do several things:
- put you and the teacher on the same page about your child’s religious beliefs
- remind the teacher to be religion nuetral
- give you a starting point to discuss the role of yoga with your son, as it relates to his school participation
I always want to know who my Jehova Witness kids are before I start teaching songs like “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and I know our PE and classroom teachers want to know of any conflicts between classroom activities and religious beliefs. Voice your concerns respectfully, and listen carefully. Stay in communication until you are satisfied that everything is fine, or until you are sure that your son will not participate if you are still concerned.
But be careful not to be persuaded by anyone here that public school teachers are out to secularize our children. In truth, I try to be the light of Christ to the little ones in my care.