Georgia Assistant Principal in Hot Water After Introducing Yoga to Her Students
Yoga can be a wonderful exercise program. I've extolled the virtues of DDP Yoga -- a program that I've used (and need to use again) to lose weight and become more flexible. I have a friend who teaches Yoga Faith, which combines the breathing and poses of yoga with worship of Jesus.
Naturally, there's a little controversy when it comes to yoga, and it involves the Eastern (Hindu) spirituality often associated with yoga. In 2010, Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, went on record saying that Christians should not practice yoga. He wrote:
Yoga begins and ends with an understanding of the body that is, to say the very least, at odds with the Christian understanding. Christians are not called to empty the mind or to see the human body as a means of connecting to and coming to know the divine. Believers are called to meditate upon the Word of God — an external Word that comes to us by divine revelation — not to meditate by means of incomprehensible syllables.
As with anything, it is a matter of intentionality. What are you meditating, contemplating or dwelling on? What are you setting your heart and mind toward at any given moment? Scripture says, whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Colossians 3:23 reads, “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others.” Christians, no matter what we choose to do to honor our “temple,” do it all for the glory of God. When we take care of ourselves, we are honoring and glorifying Christ.
Needless to say, the controversy surrounding Christians and yoga probably won't go away anytime soon, which brings us to a lawsuit currently underway in Cobb County, Georgia, a suburban area northwest of Atlanta. Bonnie Cole, an assistant principal in the Cobb County School System, was transferred from one school to another school 16 miles away, and now she is suing the district over it. The reason for the transfer? Cole introduced a yoga program to calm disruptive students, and that idea didn't sit well with some parents. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
She is seeking financial recompense for the resulting distress, inconvenience, income loss, “humiliation” and “indignities” and the effect on her career.
The lawsuit against the school district filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia says that yoga, as Cole introduced it, was not done as a religious practice and the school district was being hypocritical because during that period emails containing “Christian-based Daily Scripture Devotionals” were being sent to all staff.
Cole, who says she is a Christian, says school leaders and ultimately the school board buckled under pressure from parents who held a prayer rally at Bullard “for Jesus to rid the school of Buddhism.” The next day, two women put their hands on Cole’s office window and prayed.