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UPDATED: After Trial Victory, Encinitas Schools Could Get $1.4 Million to Expand Yoga Program

in Lawsuit-asana, YD News
Yoga teacher Jackie Bergeron works with students at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School last week in Encinitas. Students attend two 40-minute yoga classes each week. Eduardo Contreras • U-T

Yoga teacher Jackie Bergeron works with students at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School last week in Encinitas. Students attend two 40-minute yoga classes each week. Eduardo Contreras • U-T

In a move that seems like a big up yours in the most giving way possible, the Jois Foundation (now called the Sonima Foundation) has offered to up its original grant of $533,000 for a yoga program in the Encinitas Union School District (you know, the one that went to trial and won earlier this month?) to a staggering $1.4 million. Whoa! Where are all these Ashtangis getting all the dough anyhow?

According to U-T San Diego, district trustees were scheduled to meet Tuesday morning to consider accepting the offer. Many of us remember when this program was heading for the skids when parents sued the school district last year for allegedly interfering with the First Amendment and encroaching on religious freedoms with indoctrination of Eastern beliefs. However, this did not hold up in court and his judgeliness Judge Meyer ruled that the program was A-OK for public schools earlier this month.

The grant was originally provided as part of a three-year study on the benefits of yoga in public schools. It looks like with this extra moolah, they can truly expand their research. It’s also going to help pay yoga teachers (yes, they’ll be paid!) and cover yoga equipment/prop expenses.

Superintendent Tim Baird said Tuesday that the foundation already gave more money to the district since that original grant to pay for certain expenses, including yoga equipment. The new funding, if accepted, would go toward hiring additional yoga teachers — from the current 10 to 18, which would provide two teachers at each campus for grades K-6, he said.

“We’re hiring more teachers so we can ensure all students get access to the twice-a-week yoga program,” Baird said.

This new cash flow would be used to hire more teachers and “to create character-development lessons as part of the overall curriculum” like “respect for others and perseverance” that are already taught in all classes, Baird says.

The threat of more legal woes still looms as Attorney Dean Broyles, who represented the concerned parents, is expected to appeal the July 1 ruling. But it looks like the EUSD is all pratipaksha bhavanam, we got this.

UPDATE 8/1: Wednesday morning the Encinitas Union School District trustees accepted the $1.4 million to expand their yoga program, U-T San Diego reports.

“We’re very excited about this,” Superintendent Tim Baird told trustees about the grant from the Sonima Foundation, formerly the Jois Foundation.



6 comments… add one
  • natalie

    Where are they getting the money? I guess you missed this: http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/04/krishna-pattanbhi-trophy-wife-ashtanga-yoga

    • Peter

      I must have been typing when you replied. Whats your take? Is this a sell-out?

      • natalie

        My take on what’s mentioned in the Vanity Fair article is that they were insensitive (even ignorant?) and stepped on some toes, could have gone about it differently but the intention is good and the school program is great. Nice there is some big money supporting Yoga in schools….others with less cash may not have gone thru the trial…would have given up easily.

  • Peter

    The dough seems to come from one benefactor, Sonia Jones. Feels like shes kinda branding the Jois name. Not sure what to make of it but it seems unsettling.


  • Stewart Lawrence

    You guys are just figuring out that this is a corporate-funded religious purchase no different from what a conservative evangelical group does when it tries to impose its own doctrinaire views of spirituality on the rest of us?

    Of course the school knows who the real funder is, and is making nice nice here.

    Just another example of yogic immaturity and narcissism masquerading as service to the public. In this case, shamelessly using children to boot.

    Oh please, please, feed our beautiful me-me yoga by any means necessary. Want me to spread my legs, too? How much? Be gentle…

    That’s how we got Lululemon, too. It’s only the beginning….

  • Stewart Lawrence

    Encinitas seems to be a real yoga hell-hole. Where John Friend was hoping to build his Yoga Jonestown center, and now this. Apparently it all goes back to the original Indian sell-outs who came here spreading their Westernized yoga gospel for the same fame and fortune motives?

    Is there some kind of toxic sinkhole out there? Will the earth suddenly open-up, and thousands of people will be swallowed whole? Sounds Biblical.

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