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      Judge rules on whether yoga is a religious practice, says it is allowed in public schools

      A judge is allowing a San Diego-area school district to teach yoga, rejecting the claims of disgruntled parents who called it an effort to promote Eastern religion.

      San Diego Superior Court Judge John S. Meyer said Monday that yoga is a religious practice but not the way that it is taught by the Encinitas Unified School District at its nine campuses.

      Meyer said the school district stripped classes of all cultural references including the Sanskrit language. He noted that the lotus position was renamed the "crisscross applesauce" pose.

      An attorney for the parents, Dean Broyles, says he will likely appeal. Broyles argued during the non-jury trial that the twice weekly, 30-minute classes are inherently religious, in violation of the separation between church and state.

      The Encinitas Union School District is believed to be the first in the country to have full-time yoga teachers at every one of its schools.

      Schools officials started the program in January and say yoga is simply exercise.