By Christian De La Rosa
Encinitas, CA (KSWB/CNN) - Yoga is now part of the curriculum at a California elementary school.
But not everyone is joining in the Namaste.
It's last period at Encinitas Op Elementary. Balance, flexibility, and strength are the lessons of the day.
This yoga class is one of many being offered across the Encinitas School District thanks to a private grant from the Jois Foundation, an Encinitas based group that promotes the practice of yoga.
District officials say it's all part of a larger initiative to help students be more healthy and active. They say they've received overwhelming approval from parents, but not everyone is happy.
Some parents have asked their children be taken out of the yoga lessons, claiming the practice is a course in Hinduism.
"We're really hoping this will help the kids feel more focused when they're in the classroom," said yoga instructor Kristen McCloskey.
McCloskey has been practicing Yoga for 13 years and says while the roots of the exercise is spiritual; the class is anything but.
"Yes, the roots of Yoga is based in Hinduism, however we as Americans have really brought it into our culture to gain the actual physical and mental benefits of it. It is purely the physical and the mental benefits that we're trying to convey to the children," she said.
KSWB-TV spoke with some parents who oppose the yoga class. None of them wanted to go on camera, but they did say they just wish the time, effort, and money were invested in other subjects like math and science.
For now, district officials are confident the benefits will outweigh the criticism.
"We believe the yoga program will actually have academic benefits and in fact there is research out there that show that," said Superintendent Tim Baird.