A couple years ago I wrote about how I accidentally swore in a Kids Yoga Class.   In my defense, it wasn’t a swear word when I was a kid!

But this post about Yoga Music got me thinking about another word that has become TABOO in many kids yoga classes.

The word?

The word is:  G O D

You see, if this word is in a song, I don’t play the song in my kids yoga classes.

This word just doesn’t work for me in Kids Yoga.  There is a chance it will miss the mark with the many religions (and no religions) of the kids, teacher, and parents.  Even in adult yoga classes I give an explanation of what I mean if I (rarely) say the GOD word.

God means something different for each person.

Once I had a complaint in a mostly Christian school, and the complaint was about NOT using the word GOD !  And I get the irony:  Why wouldn’t Yoga and God go together?

The President of America uses it in his speeches.  If the kids use it, I have no problems.  But, I don’t use it.

Thank God for freedom of religion.  Each person can decide for themselves – there is no right or wrong answer here.

Right now, kids yoga teachers from all over the world are making decisions about whether to say it or not. What have you decided to do?   Do you use the “G” word?

(Please leave your comments below.  Any comments that are dis-respectful or too “preachy” will be removed.)

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  1. I was always very conscious of using the word God in my classes, but like you said – Why wouldn’t God and Yoga go together? Yoga is, afterall, the act of yoking or joining , usually with the divine, whatever that may be for a person. Is it not? Adults can take it or leave it, but with children, it does get sticky. Children are impressionable, parents can be judgemental. There is a fine line when the subject comes up in class. Funny thing is, I have a child in my 4-7 yr old class that will mention God just about every other class. Many times she has started a conversation with the other children who are all open to discussing this topic. I usually sit back and let them go…it’s really interesting listening to a child’s view of God…really beautiful.

    Great book for your own spiritual practice: “Narada’s Way of Divine Love”

  2. Aruna, thanks so much for stopping by & leaving your comments on my blog, I really appreciate it! I am much-lapsed in my practice of yoga, and I admire the work you are doing with children! I agree about the G-word; many people with strict belief systems are uncomfortable if it is used in any other way than what they believe, and if your purpose is to help & heal, then leaving that issue “open to interpretation” may reach those who would otherwise turn away.

  3. I definitely never use that word in my classes – for me it’s not a part of my belief system anyway so invokes the wrong imagery for myself so there is no worry about it coming out of my mouth.

  4. Rachel – thanks for the comment. I get what you are saying about people feeling scared. Its what we used to call PC Disease (Politically Correct Disease) where everything was changed so as not to offend.

    In India there are thousands of words for God. Maybe this helps with the enlightenment side without getting stuck on one name.

    Yoga can be so much more than an exercise class. I’ve found a number of ways to teach this without using the word “God” but still getting the spirit across.

  5. Thanks for your comments everyone – there seems to be a real leaning towards NOT or RARELY using “GOD” in yoga class.

    I should mention that Kundalini Yoga has a few mantras that have the word God in it. On of my favorites:

    God and me, me and God, are One

    The Yoga/Union idea is clarified in this mantra. This is the mantra from the Snatam CD I don’t play in kids classes. But I love to listen to it at home.

  6. Sad, really – god is forced into a closet because we are all scared of each other’s judgements.

    Yoga was designed to help attain enlightment, or oneness with god. Leaving god out of the equation is just pilates.

  7. I would never use that word in a yoga class or much less in many other aspects of my life. Although, funny story…tonight I overheard my 5-year-old say “Oh My God.” And I started to admonish her, and my husband joined in. I could tell by the look on her face, she didn’t understand what she had said that was wrong. As soon as I saw her face, I sort of had the same reaction. I said to my husband, “Is that phrase REALLY all that bad?” I realized I had reacted to it the way my parents reacted to it when I said it. But to me, whether or not you believe in God or some other higher power, isn’t OMG just a form of a quick prayer? It totally made me think…and then I saw your post! How ironic!

  8. Thanks for mentioning the Magic of Music post at http://www.thekidsyogaresource.com! This is such a great question. I do not use the word ‘God,’ except in groups that I am very familiar with where it would be appropriate and the meaning would be understood in the same way by everyone (rarely). I typically try to focus more on the connectedness of all.

    Had to laugh at your admission of ‘swearing’ in class. I’ve been there, after breaking my favorite CD. All the more reason to get those tunes put on an ipod. I finally did that recently after teaching everyone else to do it for years! Go figure 🙂

  9. Interesting topic! I do not talk about God in class and have used some songs in the past that have the word and made a note to remove them from my play list. I don’t want to offend anyone. I am trying to expose children to yoga but hope that the spirit part of the body, mind, spirit union will be explored later in their lives.

    On another note, I am very selective with my music, especially for my 8-teen classes. I find many songs that focus on pleasing others or needing a boy to be happy. I try to find self-empowering songs with messages of strength and finding and celebrating one’s unique specialness.

    I wrote about music on this blog post: