Hindus have commended Salt Lake City School District (SLCSD) in Utah for offering yoga in its various schools, calling it a step in the positive direction.
Course Catalog (2017-2018) of its East High School (EHS) offers Yoga I (9-12), whose description includes: “In this course students will unite the mind and body with the spirit, creating a more whole person” and it includes “meditation”. Its list of yoga benefits includes “self realization” and “inner peace”. It also offers Yoga II (10-12), whose description includes enhancing “mind/body connection”.
Yoga was also offered in EHS, West High School and Highland High School of SLCSD as a course in 2016-2017. Yoga was reportedly one of the electives in Nibley Park School (K-8) and in 2015 - 2016, several teachers used “Yoga Me Do” in Newman Elementary School. Third graders at Lincoln Elementary School have been practicing yoga, and according to a write-up on SLCSD website: “At the end of each session, when the entire room shares a long “Om,” it is amazing to feel the unity, calm, and peace pervade the space.” Grades 11-12 Course Catalog (2017-2018) of neighboring Park City High School includes Yoga, whose description includes “mind-body connectivity” and meditation exercises.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, applauded SLCSD for coming forward and providing an opportunity to students to avail the multiple benefits yoga offered.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, exhorted all public, private, charter and independent schools of Utah to adopt yoga as part of their curriculum so that students did not miss a learning opportunity in this competitive world.
Rajan Zed also urged Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert, Utah State Board of Education Chair Mark Huntsman and Utah Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Sydnee Dickson; to work towards formally introducing yoga as a part of curriculum in all the public schools of the state, thus incorporating highly beneficial yoga in the lives of Utah’s students.
Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed pointed out.
Rajan Zed further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.
According to US National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to a “2016 Yoga in America Study”, about 37 million Americans (which included many celebrities) now practice yoga; and yoga is strongly correlated with having a positive self image. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Zed added.
Tagline of SLCSD, said to be the oldest public school district in Utah with one of its high school founded in 1890, is “Your Best Choice”. Heather Bennett and Dr. Lexi Cunningham are its Board President and Superintendent respectively.