Encinitas Yoga in Schools Case Progresses

March 27, 2015

The case dealing with an elementary school district’s yoga program, Sedlock, et al v. Baird, et al, was argued before a three-judge panel of California’s 4th District Court of Appeal on March 11, 2015 in San Diego. Plaintiffs claim that an elective yoga program offered by the Encinitas Union School District violated students’ constitutional right to religious freedom because yoga is inherently religious. A trial court upheld the yoga program and plaintiffs appealed.

Yoga Alliance® submitted an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in October 2014 to the court of appeal, arguing the decision should be affirmed not only because the school district’s yoga program is not religious, but also because yoga itself is not inherently religious. 

During the March 11 oral argument, the three-judge panel directed most of their questions to plaintiffs’ counsel, asking whether it was plaintiffs’ position that yoga is inherently religious. The judges seemed skeptical of plaintiffs’ argument that the yoga program endorsed Hindu religious beliefs. 

The court of appeal is expected to issue a written ruling by June 9. A copy of YA’s amicus brief is available here, and coverage of the appeal by the San Diego Union-Tribune is available here

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