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Yoga in Encinitas Schools Based on Yoga But Not Really Yoga?


When I heard that the Sonima Foundation had won the fight to keep yoga in Encinitas schools by wiping it clean of spirituality, I was happy but sad at the same time. I was happy that the students could continue to practice, but sad that they had to do it at the expense of losing the other 7 limbs of yoga and focusing just on just physical poses.

However, when I read this article on First Post, I was very pleased with how the Sonima foundation defined the program,

Also noteworthy is the distinction the Sonima Foundation makes about its curriculum as “based on yoga” rather than “yoga” itself-Sheetal Shah, Hindu American Foundation

I love that they  did not go to court and argue that yoga was just physical. They admitted that it was much more but they would be limiting their program to a curriculum

 “based on best practices of health and wellness, including exercise based on yoga and common exercise regimes…”

This entire article is a great read because it explains Hinduism and its relationship to yoga. The APP has written about this before and the article just confirms that post.

  • Hinduism was a name given to the people of that region by foreigners in an attempt to make sense of a pluralistic system that the foreigners felt the need to label and didn’t quite understand.
  • The name stuck so they keep using it though it does no justice in describing their great culture
  • That Hinduism is accepting of all beliefs and that there is more than one way to find liberation
  • Yoga was one of those ways
  • Yoga can be integrated into any religion, spiritual belief or lack there of.
  • Hinduism became integrated into yoga because it was popularized in that region but it is not intrinsically Hindu

The article does not mention this but “ishvara” that word that people use to make Yoga seem religious and that is found in the Yoga Sutras does not translate directly into “God”. Even the  original word/words in the Bible where “God” is written does not translate into “God”. That is another article.






Disclaimer: The views in this article are not necessarily shared by all APP contributors.

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail

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