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New England Town Features Yoga Positions on Parking Tickets

A controversy is brewing over a new program in the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts that is depicting yoga positions, and instructions on how to perform them, on the envelopes of parking tickets. According to WBZ38, the city says it printed 40,000 of the new parking tickets as part of a public art installation created by artist-in-residence Daniel Peltz. In addition to the tickets, Peltz designed offbeat traffic signs, stuffed "soft boots" and a mural of "10,000 Excuses" which is made up of actual excuses given by ticketed drivers. "It's about humanizing that whole process and better understanding how a city goes about setting parameters and how that actually happens in the streets," said Jason Weeks, executive director of the Cambridge Arts Council. Thus far, the only people who seem happy about the new tickets are yoga instructors and Hindus. "They're suggesting that people who get a ticket try some yoga to relieve the stress of getting a ticket," said yoga insructor Mandy Schwartz. "Yeah I like it. (It's) just what I would do." Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, a Hinduism advocacy group, published a news release thanking Cambridge for their promotion of yoga. In his statement, Zed said he found it "wonderful" that the city of Cambridge would draw attention to yoga, which he described as an "eightfold path to direct the practitioner from awareness of the external world to focus on the inner." Others aren't so sure they want to see Hindu worship postures on parking tickets.  Andrew Buote, 48, of Revere, who received a $95 ticket and questioned the value of the program to the  Boston Herald. “Find out how much money it cost. That’s how much money they wasted.” Steve McConkey, President and Founder of 4 Winds Christian Athletics raises an even more serious issue when he questions how a city can print parking tickets sporting yoga positions while schools and courthouses across the country are being forced to remove Christian symbols. "The ACLU and other atheist organizations have worked overtime to make sure Christian symbols are taken down. However, they are silent as yoga is propagated in our schools and public buildings, and now on parking tickets," McConkey says. The city plans to use the tickets through Nov. 19, which marks the end of the exhibit. To read more about the controversy of yoga in schools and public buildings, see this extensive collection of news articles.