Yoga but not Yoga: Raider Relaxation

Paloma Chavez

DC_Raider-Relaxation.jpgOver the years, many of us have heard or read about certain school districts and religious organizations who have felt that yoga does not have a place in their institutions. Several yoga groups have even been banned from church recreation rooms and school campuses.

Recently, two high school teachers in Massena, New York, were challenged when they launched a voluntary yoga program for students.

Concerned parents objected to the class, complaining to the Massena Superintendent that the practice of yoga “would promote Hinduism and violate the separation of church and state.”

Rather than removing the class entirely, however, the Superintendent and parents compromised by agreeing to let the program proceed under the new name “Raider Relaxation” (“raider” being the school’s mascot). Although the class will no longer be referred to as a yoga class, it will continue to provide the same exercises, such as stress relief and relaxation techniques.

In addition to the in-class program, an after-school club will be formed to offer students an opportunity to explore other facets of yoga and gain a better understanding of its benefits.

Board of Education President Julie Reagan says that the Board supports yoga and relaxation techniques for students, confirming that “one hundred schools in 26 states use yoga in the classroom to relieve stress”.

To read the full article on Massena’s new “Raider Relaxation” class, check out

[tags]relaxation, kids and yoga, stress relief, concentration, breathing technique[/tags]

4 Responses to “Yoga but not Yoga: Raider Relaxation”

  1. Yoga Matt says:

    This story made me cringe, I’m glad that the school district is allowing some practice but the reaction from the parents is sad.


  2. Stephen says:

    I too agree this is quite crazy to have to make such alterations for religious reasons. But hey, at least in the end the kids are getting the basics of breath and that’s what counts.

  3. Paloma Chavez says:

    Thank you to Yoga Matt and Stephen for your comments of this blog entry. I agree with you that it is an odd situation, but that we are also thankful to have any alternative exercise in the classroom. Perhaps with the first hand experience that the children will bring home, the parents will be encouraged to broaden their understanding and take a deep cleansing breath!


  4. Kristina says:

    I find it interesting that there continues to be a backlash about yoga by religious believers. I am a yoga teacher and long time meditator and can speak from experience that my personal practice of health, relaxation and well-being has not resulted in a Hindu faith.

    The practice of yoga and meditation is very powerful for enhancing self-esteem and compliments the learning process. There really is a science to this age old practice. It’s benefits mentally, emotionally and physically are just beginning to be understood. I feel it is an excellent activity to teach youngsters, especially in environments where stress is paramount such as school.

    I personally hope to see more yoga practiced in schools and communities to increase the quality of life and health of our nation. Blogs like these can help. The more positive information we can provide about the benefits of yoga the more comfortable people will feel about it.

    Have a spirited day.


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