Story by WVUA 23’s Samantha Fisher.

In the early 1900s, the Alabama State Department of Education banned yoga in public schools on the grounds that it promotes religious practices. District 83 Rep. Jeremy Gray has proposed a bill that will overturn this decision.

Yoga is legal in every state’s public schools, except Alabama. But Gray believes that students should have that resource in their schools. Gray believes that yoga is a great skill for students to have in order to cope with mental health issues, alleviate stress and anxiety.

Gray is having a “Yoga Day” at the statehouse for yogis and advocates all across the state of Alabama to convene and educate people about the benefits that come from this activity.

This bill does not mandate that students practice yoga, but it will give students the option to take yoga as an elective. It will allow students to practice stretching, breathing and meditation in the K-12 public schools.

“When we think about yoga in general and the benefits of it on as physical and mental level, there’s data that shows that it works not only for flexibility and balance, but also for coping mechanisms as far as stress, anxiety and depression. So to me, this is just a way for our teachers, our schools, just another tool to use in their classroom or at their school in general,” Gray said.

This bill passed through education policy yesterday. If enough representatives agree to pass this bill, it will then be voted on in the Senate for final approval.

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