Doctor testifies teaching yoga is a conspiracy

SAN DIEGO – Teaching yoga in public schools has come under fire in Encinitas and now a judge must decide whether or not yoga is a religion.

A lawsuit was filed by the National Center for Law and Policy on behalf of Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, whose children attend one of the district’s nine schools, contends that Ashtanga yoga is religious in nature and that opting out costs students physical education time.

in court of yoga in schoolsControversy over the program erupted last year as the district began to develop a health and wellness curriculum that includes

“This is very intentional marketing,” said expert witness Dr. Candy Brown. “We lead with physical then introduce the spiritual aspect. I can give you quotations where people admit to this.”

Calling it camouflage and conspiracy, Dr. Brown described the practice of yoga.  She’s testifying in a case brought against the Encinitas School District by a small group of parents who want to stop the district’s new program that offers Ashtanga yoga in place of physical education.

“If you asked me what’s the most religious form of yoga, I would pick Ashtanga as my number one,” Dr. Brown said without answering the question asked, which was are all forms of yoga religious? Judge John Meyer reminded her she could answer with a yes or no answer, to which she replied after some time, “I will say no to that question as phrased.”

Judge  Meyer will decide if a reasonable observer would find the schools curriculum religious. The testimony at times so esoteric the judge interjecting to ponder the meaning.

The issues stems from a gift of $500,000 to the Encinitas School District by the KP Jois Foundations to fund the health and wellness program. The foundations stated mission is to spread the teachings of Ashtanga Yoga, which originated with

The course curriculum however does not talk about religion and only uses yoga postures and deep breathing.

Dr. Brown testified she believes there’s a conspiracy at work trick students into  a spiritual practice.

Judge Meyer asked for clarification, “these Jois trained instructors are just the foot soldier?”

“It’s para para – submitting to one,” Dr. Brown said.

The judge cutting her off said, “you think they have been planted in the district?”

“Well, I think that is the case, yeah,” she answered.


58 Comments to “Doctor testifies teaching yoga is a conspiracy”

    Guest said:
    May 21, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    oh geez…saints preserve us! god vishnu allah el protect us from the likes of Dr Candy Brown…!

    Candy trying to be the NEW Joyce Brothers??

    Shadow said:
    May 22, 2013 at 6:53 AM

    Really? Yoga a religion? What next, eating healthy is a religion? Sports are a religion? Guys treat sports more religiously than yoga is in its current form. Guess sports are the next to go due to religion. Then I guess any form of right or wrong is next, including teaching people that killing and thievery is wrong, simply because religions believe and teach such things. Since when did basic civility/fitness equal religious doctrine?

    Jillian said:
    May 22, 2013 at 7:15 AM

    Actually this is a very interesting and valid case. It's very easy for the ignorant to toss aside Yoga or a practice like Reiki as just some alternative exercise or treatment- but the reality of these two practices is that they are religious. Yoga invokes a centering prayer and if you ask a yoga guru(aka not your local yoga instructor) they will tell you that you cannot separate the movements of yoga from its religious philosophy or spiritual roots- they are one in the same. It would be like a gym teacher having students genuflect and do the sign of the cross as a stretching excersize. I highly doubt this would be okay with most parents- especially non Christian. All asanas(postures) are preparing the individual for reincarnation in Hindu belief. That is their faith.

    Bowler's Desk San Diego News said:
    May 22, 2013 at 7:39 AM

    Reblogged this on San Diego News – Bowler's Desk and commented:
    Expert witness testifies teaching yoga is a conspiracy

    Addie said:
    May 22, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Gone are the days of kick ball and dodge ball. If a school wants to offer yoga, have it an opt in option. Kids need to be running around and playing for PE, releasing that pent up energy. Kids that age do not understand yoga and it will do little for them.

    That said, this doctor is yet another liberal quack job!

      1eyedmike said:
      May 22, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      More like a conservative whacko

      Colleen said:
      May 22, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      It is an opt in program in the Encinitas school district. And by the way I teach yoga to kids of all ages and although they may not understand the more complex concepts of yoga, they can certainly benefit from the strength, flexibility, and peace of mind that yoga brings.

      Bob said:
      May 28, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      She is actually a far right tea party member… fact…

      bob said:
      May 28, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      She's actually a far right anti-liberal wacko with some far fetched conspiracy theory….
      Get out the tin foil, the Yoga mind erasers are coming….

    Loren Sanders said:
    May 22, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Yoga absolutely is religious in nature, and is an integral part of Transcendental Meditation (Buddhist) and other eastern mysticism as well.

    Yoga being of Buddhism is as religious in nature as Communion is being of Christianity.

    We can do anything we choose to do, but whatever our stance on this case, or religion, or yoga – denying that it is an inherently religious practice just shows ignorance – a lack of religious depth philosophically and historically.

      Colleen said:
      May 22, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      Loren you paint an incomplete picture of yoga as stemming exclusively from Buddhism. It also draws from Hindu traditions. However, with that said there are also Christian yogis, Jewish yogis, and athiest yogis. Check out for an example of Christian Yoga.

    Alex said:
    May 22, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Yoga is not a religion. Christians are simply trying to protect their monopoly.

    timmyj01 said:
    May 22, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    I'm a christian and I love yoga. The real evil is the lack of proof reading on this article. More Christians should do yoga.

    ziggymoonunit said:
    May 22, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Yoga is a very effective way to strengthen and stretch the body, as well as quiet the mind. In other countries yoga is considered religious, but here in the US, the majority just use it for exercise and meditation. Meditiation can be used with any religion, and so can yoga poses. None of the yoga classes and videos I use have any of the religious chants or meditations used with them. They merely help keep me healthy and strong. If these kids are just going through poses in a vinyasa (flowing) way, that gives them strength, flexibility and teaches them how to hold still for periods of time. People need to get over their paranoia, many christians practice yoga. You just have to be smart enough to separate the exercize aspect from the other parts of it, and from what I have read before these teachers are doing that for the kids.

      sweetpea said:
      May 23, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      meditation is only part of man made "religion", in Christianity " emptying the mind is something we don't d, we are commanded to guard our minds so your statement is far reaching , at best. As a Christian I do some yoga poses for stretching, but then again I'm an adult, I know where to draw the line and am not pressured to please my teachers. Meditation should not be a part of school.

    TeachersRock said:
    May 22, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    I wish I had learned yoga when I was a child. I probably wouldn't have the health problems that I struggle with today. My husband has had severe scoliosis since he was a child. The only thing keeping him from the operating table is yoga. Yay for yoga and for the Encinitas schools that are teaching the kids. If you don't want your kid learning yoga then why don't you just opt out??

    guest said:
    May 22, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Bring back dodgeball, kickball, and tag. They were American staples for recess and physical education up until the 1980's or 1990's. And you wonder why so many kids are fat these days.

      Bob said:
      May 28, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Because they eat trash for food… because they don't have parents doing their job…. and I know it's hard to understand, things change and evolve… yoga will do them far more physical good than old school games….

    Guest said:
    May 22, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    What exactly is Dr Candy Brown a doctor of??

      Colleen said:
      May 22, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      She is a professor of religious studies and psychology at Indiana University. Her bio page at the university: Much of her work has been studying miraculous healing & the science of healing through prayer. Here's a YouTube video of one of her talks on miraculous healing: –> Her main focus is Christian healing through prayer– she looks at what the bible says about healing but doesn't review what other faiths have to say.

        Colleen said:
        May 22, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        Let me correct myself–she teaches religious studies, not psychology.

          Michael said:
          May 28, 2013 at 1:38 PM

          So she's biased as the day is long. I want to hear from a yoga instructor of this type of yoga, what they're religious application is in their classes. Alllll the yoga classes in SD county, I'd say 10% have religious underpinnings in the practice. Crazy to me this is a problem in Encinitas. Did the family not do a little research on where they live? Pretty open minded to all things up there.

      Bob said:
      May 28, 2013 at 9:44 AM


    Rev Bear said:
    May 22, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Candy Gunther Brown
    Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Indiana University
    Expert no, agenda driven yes!

    David Priver said:
    May 23, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Absurd that this testimony is being permitted by the judge. She is clearly not an expert and should have been disqualified. Just more "junk science" in the courtroom. Yoga a religion? Give me a break!

      sweetpea said:
      May 23, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      wow, how ignorant you are. Educate yourself before you speak (type) ignorance is dangerous.

        Nunyabusiness said:
        May 28, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        Yes, and you're walking proof of that ignorance, Sweet.

    Aparna Kamath said:
    May 23, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Here is a Good Article on this topic by San Diego based Author Yogi Kanna:

    sweetpea said:
    May 23, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Some forms of yoga are good body weight exercise, BUT especially in Ca I wouldn't want this in a school for my kids…there are lots of people who believe in Yogi and to them that is their god.. so I am against their influence over anyone who doesn't know they are worshipping this yogi belief system. It's very subtle therefore dangerous. I have a friend (adult) began yoga for exercise (great) but during a period of grief she was told by the instructor coming to class is like going to church…now it's like she's addicted to the class, it comes first before kids, husband everything. Pitiful.

      Nunyabusiness said:
      May 28, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      You're full of shıt.

    Michael said:
    May 28, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Good lord it's yoga in schools. I'll never do yago becuase it's against my physical desires but I hear it's great for circulation and flexibility I highly doubt a school is trying to turn these kids into hindu's or buddhists. So do they get rid of world religions classes? That's how I found Taoism, an eastern religion I claim. Opt-in, get over it, or ban it. It's yoga, stretching for the kids. Are they lighting incense and reciting scritpture? No. Until then the parents can brain wash em at home and the schools can enlighten.

    Joe said:
    May 30, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    What ever happened to regular PE that was designed to prepare kids for the military and was actually useful; things like running, pushups, pullups etc. This is just pabulum being pushed by the lunatic fringe of the left.

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