A group of concerned parents who were involved in the attempt to rid the Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) in California of its mandatory yoga program may not have scored a huge legal win, but their website amounts to a stunning victory in exposing the dark underbelly of yoga in America.
For those who aren’t aware of the situation in Encinitas, the EUSD allowed its Superintendent, Timothy Baird, to contact what was formerly known as the Jois Foundation (now called Sonima Foundation) to “study” the effects of yoga in schools.
Jois/Sonima explicitly states that its goal is to have a global “outreach” or “mission” to impact as many people as possible, particularly youth, with Ashtanga yoga’s spiritual philosophy.
They found a willing ear in Baird who accepted an initial $533,000 grant from the Foundation. The grant came with the stipulation that the School District provide mandatory yoga to students. The the EUSD complied and did so without seeking parental consent.
When a parent named Jennifer Sedlock found out about it, she complained, which was the beginning of a years-long battle to get the program kicked out of the school. Although she, and other concerned parents have not yet been successful, they have put together a website full of information about the EUSD/Sonima intriques that have even the attorneys shaking their heads.
For instance, attorneys for the National Center for Law and Policy (NCLP) who represented the Sedlocks, said Sonima’s board of directors reads like a “veritable who’s who of the modern New age movement” and includes the likes of billionair Paul Tudor-Jones, Deepak Chopra, and Stedman Graham (Oprah Winfrey’s boyfriend) as well as Dr. Mehmet Oz. And two EUSD employees, superintendent Timothy Baird and Scott Himelstein have served on Sonima’s board!
The website also includes a wealth of information about the practice of yoga from the point of view of experts such as Harvard-educated Candy Gunther-Brown, Ph.D., who has taught at the likes of Harvard, Lesley, and Vanderbilt Universities. Her court testimony is a damning indictment of anyone who believes yoga is “just exercise”.
The site includes information about other states are allowing Sonima to introduce yoga into its schools and the types of injuries students are experiencing as a result.
Also offered on the site are numerous testimonies of former yogi practitioners and gurus such as Rabi R. Maharaj, author of Death of a Guru and Corinna Craft, MA., JD, a former yoga instructor whose unexpected encounters with entities convinced her to quit the practice.
Anyone who is unsure about whether or not they should practice yoga, or is trying to convince loved ones away from it, needs to visit this site!