Some parents are upset about yoga breaks taking place at Bullard Elementary School in Kennesaw, Georgia, because the sessions are allegedly promoting religious beliefs that the parents oppose (video below).
In response, the school has banned the word "Namaste" (a Hindu greeting), putting one's hand over one's heart, and discussions of healing crystals, which have not actually been discussed, notes 11 Alive.
The school is also banning placing hands together and bowing, as well as Mandala coloring pages, which include spiritual symbols from Hinduism and Buddhism, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Patrice Moore, the principal of the school, said in a letter to parents: "I am truly sorry that the mindfulness/de-stressing practices here at Bullard caused many misconceptions that in turn created a distraction in our community."
Cheryl Crawford, a local yoga teacher who teaches the exercises at schools, but not at Bullard, told 11 Alive: "Namaste means 'the light in me sees the light in you.' And when we teach it in school it's a greeting. In India, they use it as a greeting like a 'hello.' We often teach them 'the goodness in me sees the goodness in you.'"
Crawford said that yoga "helps them focus. If they can focus inwardly then they can focus on what's being taught."
Still, some parents believe the school was teaching a religion that they don't agree with.
"No prayer in schools, [...] a lot of the schools don't even say the Pledge of Allegiance, but yet they're pushing ideology on our children," Susan Jaramillo, a local mom, told the news station.
"Some of those things are religious practices that we don't want our children doing in our schools," Jaramillo added.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that school employees are not allowed to lead or force children to pray, but kids are allowed to initiate their own prayers. Additionally, the high court has ruled that children cannot be forced to recite the pledge, according to the ACLU.
(Note: The image above is not a yoga class at the school)