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Hindus laud Albuquerque Public Schools for offering yoga

Hindus have applauded Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) in New Mexico (USA) for reportedly offering yoga in its various schools, and have urged all New Mexico school districts to do the same for their pupils.

Calling it a “step in the right direction”, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, suggested all school districts of New Mexico to incorporate yoga in the lives of the students. Yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a mental and physical discipline, for everybody to share and benefit from, whose traces went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization, Zed pointed out.

In the 2013-2014 APS Wall Calendar, Superintendent Winston Brooks, in his message, wrote: “We’ve definitely evolved as a district. Just look at the pictures in this calendar:..fourth graders use yoga to help prepare for rigorous learning...”

Its Volcano Vista High School, which reportedly has a yoga room, offers a course titled "Yoga/Pilates" whose "syllabus" says "by incorporating yoga into your lives, you will learn how to harness positive energy and use it to help you focus on you and forget about negativity".

APS has posted "Yoga with Kermit the Frog" PowerPoint presentation on its website; Eisenhower Middle had a "Yoga Class"; Johnson Middle and Coronado Elementary have yoga clubs; APS promoted "asthma and exercise class" last year which started with yoga; West Mesa High is holding one hour weekly Yoga events; Pajarito Elementary last year offered yoga class for the staff; Desert Ridge Middle planned a "short yoga lesson"; Arroyo Del Oso Elementary had monthly yoga events in 2013; Mission Avenue Elementary held yoga workouts in 2013 focusing on "breathing, balance and body control" and exploring a variety of Yoga poses; Family Fitness Nights at Zia Elementary included yoga and it organized a Family Fitness Night in 2013 focusing on "Yoga for the whole family"; Alvarado Elementary finished a Yoga unit in 2013 and its website says that “Yoga is an ancient system of exercise that focuses on integrating mind and body”; its 2013-2014 Wall Calendar shows Longfellow Elementary students practicing yoga; "Yoga by Julia" offers special discount for APS employees; reports suggest.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that yoga, although introduced and nourished by Hinduism, was a world heritage and liberation powerhouse to be utilized by all. According to Patanjali who codified it in Yoga Sutra, yoga was a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

According to USA’s National Institutes of Health, yoga may help one to feel more relaxed, be more flexible, improve posture, breathe deeply, and get rid of stress. According to an estimate, about 21 million Americans, including many celebrities, now practice yoga. Yoga was the repository of something basic in the human soul and psyche, Rajan Zed added.

APS, largest school district in New Mexico and 30th largest in USA, has about 90,000 students, including over 5,000 homeless, in its 140 schools. Over a third of its students come from homes where the primary language is not English; and one of its schools has its own film studio. Martin Esquivel is President of APS Board of Education.


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