“…yoga means union instead of separation. It has an intrinsic and inseparable relationship to Hinduism. Again, there is no Hinduism without yoga and no yoga without Hinduism. This becomes more understandable when you think of yoga as the way of salvation in Hinduism.”
(Clete Hux – The Aquila Report) Last year the Governor of Alabama and its State School Board members received a communication from Rajan Zed, President of the Universal Society of Hinduism. Pointing out that most public universities of Alabama were already offering some form of yoga, Mr. Zed requested the State of Alabama to end the prohibition of teaching or practicing yoga in its K – 12 public schools.1 The prohibition is Alabama Administrative Code (AAC), Rule 290-040-040-.2, which was has been in place since 1993.
Following Zed’s request, the validity of this longstanding AAC rule is being challenged by House Bill 449. As an opponent of the bill, I recently gave testimony in a public hearing at the State House in Montgomery as to why the AAC Rule 290-040-040-.2 should not be overturned but should remain in place. It was for good reason that the AAC rule passed twenty-six years ago due to the intrinsic and inseparable relationship between yoga and the religion of Hinduism. The practice of a religion, in this case yoga, will invariably promote that religion, in this case, the religion of Hinduism. This would be in violation of the Establishment Clause of Religion in the First Amendment.
What the proponents of House Bill 449 are attempting to do is what a lot of people here in the west try to do and that is to separate the practice of yoga from its religious philosophy and historical beliefs. Embracing such separation is a redefining of yoga and Hinduism as a religion. Such would be an attempt toward revisionist history. With these things in mind, I offer this short article. Let’s begin with some history of yoga.