A small liberal arts college in Kansas is in hot water for changing the name of yoga classes to eliminate links to Hinduism.
After complaints from alumni, faculty and administrators poured in, the school responded by changing the name of those fall exercise classes to "lifestyle fitness." Some suggested that the healthy and relaxation practice promoted Hindu mysticism, while others argued that the class wasn't teaching all aspects of yoga -- including spiritual -- so it shouldn't share the name.
Benedictine College Spokesperson Stephen Johnson told the Kansas City Star that the rebranding came after they dropped the hour-long, for-credit yoga exercise class and began offering yoga as a recreational class in the fall of 2016.
Students took to the internet, rallying around an online petition, which has 142 supporters. Widely-recognized Hindu cleric and Nevada resident Rajan Zed also chimed in, urging the school to "relook into their reported yoga decision.
On April 5 the college's newspaper, The Circuit, reported that Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and Abbot James Albers of St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison shared the concerns of those protesting.
College President Stephen Minnis was quoted saying, "I'm not sure the spiritual harm of yoga could come to our campus but I believe it is better to be safe than sorry. I don't care what it is called, so long as it is only physical."