The Atlantic

Why Schools Are Banning Yoga

Mindfulness programs have become popular on K–12 campuses, but in some parts of the country concerns about religious intrusion keep the trend at bay.
Source: Gregory Bull / AP

In certain parts of the United States, it’s getting more and more likely that rather than a game of dodgeball in gym class or a round of Heads-up, Seven-up as a break between lessons, students will instead find themselves doing downward-facing dog. The internet is saturated with yoga-based lesson plans, teacher-training courses, and “mindful” music playlists designed for schools, while programs for certified yoga instructors who want to bring their practice onto campus have also gained popularity.

While up-to-date data on the prevalence of school-based yoga is hard to come by, a 2015 survey led by the New York University psychologist Bethany Butzer three dozen programs in the United States that reach 940 schools and more than 5,400 instructors. School-based yoga programs, Butzer and her co-authors concluded, are “acceptable and

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