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White House: Yoga Officially Exercise!

The White House has officially endorsed <a title="Pilates &amp; Yoga Equipment" href="http://www.atgstores.com/pilates-yoga_2371.html" target="_blank">yoga</a> as a worthwhile healthy pursuit, and the news is likely to push the meditative exercise routine even further into the mainstream. How mainstream? Studies collected from Yoga Journal and NAMASTA in 2012 put the number of American yoga practitioners at around 15 million and growing – not bad for an exercise activity that doesn’t involve a scoreboard or a stopwatch. Although the move seems harmless enough, some parents are getting huffy about how the news will influence the exercises being taught in schools, claiming that it’s a violation of the separation between church and state. The practice isn't widespread now, but a few schools are starting to experiment with the idea of yoga in gym classes, as a morning warm-up or even as a transition into naptime. The argument raises an interesting question: Can yoga stand alone as an exercise with no religious connotation? Objectively speaking, the answer is an emphatic “yes.” Stretching and breathing exercises alone do not a religion make. This fact was undoubtedly chiseled on a wall somewhere a millennia ago when yoga was being born. A more pointed question, though, may be whether meditation constitutes religion, but of course that would depend upon the subject of the meditation. Or would it? Is meditation unto itself a religious exercise? [caption id="attachment_12886" align="aligncenter" width="174"]<a title="Meditation Mat" href="http://www.atgstores.com/yoga-mats/miracle-sleep-mm003-talalay-latex-meditation-mat_g1059331.html?isku=8192521&amp;linkloc=cataLogProductItemsImage" target="_blank"><img class=" wp-image-12886 " title="Meditation Mat" src="http://ourblog.atgstores.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/yoga-300x300.jpg" alt="Miracle Sleep Meditation Mat" width="174" height="174" /></a> "Ommmm ... donuts."[/caption] Opinions obviously vary, but it seems a bit unfair to automatically lump the concepts together. If you’ll remember, this is the same method that was used to try and kill Halloween in schools some years ago. It was an offense to cultural mores, many argued, but the difference here is that instead of getting rid of candy and costumes the ban will snuff out healthy habits that are cheap to practice and easy to learn. It’s true that yoga’s history stretches back centuries and is rooted in philosophical and theological themes, but that’s a far cry from its current place in the health and wellness industry. Put another way, there’s nothing holy about yoga pants, and confusing a method of exercise with a religious ritual seems to obscure an important fact – yoga itself does not discriminate, and it’s a good way to improve your health and reduce stress no matter what you believe. <a title="ATG Stores Homepage" href="http://www.atgstores.com/" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> welcomes your comments on the matter and hopes you enjoy your pursuit to stay healthy regardless of how you decide to achieve your exercise goals.
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