2023 Code of Alabama
Title 16 - Education.
Chapter 40 - Instruction as to Certain Subjects.
Article 1
Section 16-40-11 - Instruction in Yoga.

Universal Citation: AL Code § 16-40-11 (2023)

Section 16-40-11

Instruction in yoga.

(a) Each local board of education may offer instruction in yoga to students in grades K-12, subject to the following:

(1) Instruction in yoga shall be an elective activity. Students shall have the option to opt out in favor of alternative activities, which shall be made available.

(2) Each local board of education may allow or disallow instruction in yoga and shall have the authority to allow or disallow instruction in yoga.

(3) All instruction in yoga shall be limited exclusively to poses, exercises, and stretching techniques.

(4) All poses shall be limited exclusively to sitting, standing, reclining, twisting, and balancing.

(5) All poses, exercises, and stretching techniques shall have exclusively English descriptive names.

(6) Chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited.

(7) School personnel may not use any techniques that involve hypnosis, the induction of a dissociative mental state, guided imagery, meditation, or any aspect of Eastern philosophy and religious training in which meditation and contemplation are joined with physical exercises to facilitate the development of body-mind-spirit. For purposes of this subdivision, the following terms have the following meanings:

a. DISSOCIATIVE MENTAL STATE. A separation or isolation of mental processes in such a way that they become split off from the main personality or lose their normal thought-effect relationship whereby the boundary between the real and fantasy or illusion becomes blurred.

b. GUIDED IMAGERY. Visualization, visual imagery, guided imagery, or guided fantasy used as an induction or deepening technique of hypnosis or meditation involving communication or suggestion, describing a scene in which the subject is encouraged to experientially participate, normally following a progressive relaxation technique.

c. HYPNOSIS. A dissociative or altered state of consciousness, usually artificially induced, characterized by a heightened responsiveness to suggestions and commands, suspension of disbelief with lowering of critical judgment, and the potential of alteration of perceptions.

d. MEDITATION. An altered or dissociative state of consciousness, often synonymous with hypnosis, associated with or derived from mystical traditions of the East, sometimes referred to as transcendental meditation, normally induced by progressive relaxation, focusing on deep breaths and a mantra of a repeated word or phrase. Meditation does not refer to secular meditation which involves alert, reflective, and cognitive contemplation.

(b) The parent or legal guardian of a student who elects to participate in yoga instruction as provided in this section shall be provided with a written statement on school letterhead, to be signed and dated by the parent or legal guardian and returned to the school to be retained in the school file of the student. The statement shall read as follows:

"I am informed that my child (name of child) will participate in yoga instruction at the school named above. I understand that yoga is part of the Hinduism religion. I give my child permission to participate in yoga instruction in school.

"Signed: _______________________________

"Dated: ________________________________"

(Act 2021-475, §1.)

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