Thursday, December 20, 2012

Edmonton public schools will offer Yoga for credit

You tell me just how I can take this Yoga serious
When all it ever gives to me is a pain in my posterious.

Yoga is as Yoga Does, as performed by Elvis Presley (with Elsa Lanchester) in the movie Easy Come, Easy Go (1967).

The definition of yoga from Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (1965):
1 cap: a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation 2: a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being

Of course, the exercises are based on the philosophy. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yunakti, meaning “he yokes.” The yoking is with Brahma, the ground of all being in Hinduism. Until it became “westernized,” Yoga was mainly about teaching old Hindus how to die. It’s no more about relaxation and relieving stress than Transcendental Meditation, which is also Hinduism. Neither one caught on in the west until they decided to change the marketing approach to appeal to westerners’ priorities, such as financial prosperity, physical health and emotional well-being. I'm waiting for the day when public schools will offer credits for courses in practicing Christianity.

As reported by Andrea Sands in the Edmonton Journal, December 11, 2012:

EDMONTON - Students enrolled in Kim Hertlein’s holistic health class at Ross Sheppard High School sample yoga in a wide-ranging course that focuses on healthy living and alternative healing.

As early as next semester, however, high school students in Edmonton could earn credit for taking a Yoga 15 or Yoga 25 course, after public school trustees voted last week to import a yoga curriculum developed in Calgary.

“I’m very excited. I would be thrilled to teach a yoga class,” said Hertlein, a certified hatha yoga instructor who teaches social studies at Ross Sheppard, as well as the holistic health option, nicknamed “H2O.”

“If this is made available to Edmonton Public, I know it will be wildly popular. A lot of my friends are phys-ed teachers and they all do yoga, so they’d be willing to offer it. It’s not just a physical exercise. It’s a balance of body, mind and spirit.”

Students are constantly stimulated by a barrage of information, so a yoga course is a valuable tool to promote healthy and balanced living, Hertlein said. It also appeals to students, particularly women, who don’t like competitive team sports, she said.
“I can honestly tell you, my holistic health class is the only class they don’t bring their cellphones to,” Hertlein said.

Students taking Hertlein’s holistic health class try out a variety of physical activities including yoga, kick boxing, spin class, circuit training, Pilates, Zumba and belly dancing. They also discuss alternative approaches to health, eating, sleep and exercise and explore meditation and relaxation techniques to reduce stress.

“I’ve had a lot of students come to me and say, ‘I don’t like the belly dancing. I just want to do yoga every day,’” Hertlein said.

They could have that option as early as next semester, which begins in February, said Stephen Wright, supervisor in projects and research with Edmonton Public Schools.

Wright looked into whether any Alberta schools had introduced yoga as an option after Ross Sheppard and Victoria School expressed interest in running the course.

With the public school trustee’s approval last week, the school district will take the yoga curriculum developed in Calgary and make it available to schools here. Alberta Education still has to approve the plan, which shouldn’t take long, Wright said.

Then schools can start offering the three-credit, halftime block as an option. It does not replace regular physical education, or any core courses that are part of the provincial curriculum.

“It is an option course,” Wright said. “So students could take French, art, woodworking, foods, anything like that — and students have to take some option courses to complete their diploma — but it doesn’t have to be yoga.”

The yoga courses, along with a Reading 25 class, are the first new “locally developed courses” Edmonton Public Schools has approved since a provincial moratorium on such courses ended in September.

Locally developed courses are developed by various school districts to teach subjects outside the provincial curriculum, which allows school districts to respond to local needs. Edmonton Public Schools runs dozens of locally developed courses such as American Sign Language and deaf culture, theatre performance, sports performance, marine biology, pre-engineering, painting and various language programs including Arabic, German and Mandarin...

...The Calgary Board of Education introduced Yoga 15 and Yoga 25 in 2009 for Grades 10 and 11 students, said CBE spokeswoman Karen Drummond.

“Last year, we had four high schools that offered it, with right around 200 students who were enrolled,” Drummond said.

Schools need to find a teacher who is trained in yoga instruction before introducing the course as an option, which has possibly limited student enrolment numbers, Drummond added.

Calgary’s Yoga 15 course introduces students to basic yoga postures, breathing techniques and relaxation methods, and teaches them about yoga’s historical roots, basic anatomy and physiology, and body acceptance, according to information posted on the Ernest Manning High School website.

“The program is designed to allow students to experience the benefits of increased flexibility, strength, focus and concentration,” the course description says. “Students will learn to be non-judgmental about their own and others’ yoga practice. Through continued practice, students will relieve stress, learn to relax and experience the health benefits of yoga practice.”

I can't leave without including the comments of Elvis, as quoted at the top of this post:

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