Secularity: Guiding Questions for Inclusive Yoga in Schools.

Author: Cook-Cottone C1, Childress T2, Harper JC3
Author Information:
11. University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, N.Y.
22. Mindful Reflection Project.
33. Little Flower Yoga, New York.
Conference/Journal: Int J Yoga Therap.
Date published: 2018 Oct 16
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.17761/2019-00007. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 182

This commentary explores the legal and ethical obligations of yoga programs and teachers to uphold both the principles and the spirit of secularism when teaching yoga in schools. Arguing that secularity is essential both to comply with legal mandates and to maximize inclusivity and access, each facet of a secular approach to yoga in schools is explored through an inquiry-based model meant to help the reader gain clarity and make informed choices when developing school-based yoga programming. This article does not address the use of nonsecular yoga for children outside the school setting. It instead speaks to the complexities of topics such as spirituality, personal transformation, secular ethics, and the use of cultural and historical artifacts within school programs. While inviting continued reflection on the nuances of the topic, the article concludes that given both the legal imperatives and potential risk of exclusion, failure to offer school-based yoga using a secular approach threatens to undermine the success of the field and hinder access to practices that have positive effects on young people.

KEYWORDS: best practices; schools; secularity; spirituality; yoga

PMID: 30324832 DOI: 10.17761/2019-00007