Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, said the prohibition against yoga - in place for almost 25 years - was "doing a disservice" to Alabama students. Moreover, listing yoga at the top of a list of inappropriate activities was "highly insensitive," Zed said.
"Yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all," he added.
Yoga, along with hypnosis, meditation and guided imagery exercises, have been prohibited in Alabama's classrooms since 1993. The prohibition is included in the Alabama Physical Education Instructional Guide, which references a 2006 letter from former State Superintendent Dr. Joseph Morton that stipulates that "yoga is not to be offered during regular school hours or after school hours to public school students on a public school campus in Alabama."
Alabama Department of Education documents describe Yoga as a "Hindu philosophy and method of religious training in which eastern meditation and contemplation are joined with physical exercises, allegedly to facilitate the development of body, mind, spirit."