Encinitas Yoga Appeal: Court of Appeal Oral Argument

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Encinitas Yoga Appeal: Court of Appeal Oral Argument

Dear YES! Families –

Today was a big day for the EUSD yoga program.  Nearly two years after our victory in the trial court, this morning Sedlock v. Baird, et al. was called for argument in the Court of Appeal.  As expected, the debate was passionate.

Dean Broyles, the attorney for the yoga opponents, was first up.  He had the burden of showing the trial court erred in finding the yoga program Constitutional.  And the appellate justices made very clear that he was fighting an uphill battle.  Mr. Broyles offered up his tired rhetoric about the school district picking “religious winners and losers”.  The justices largely ignored such bloated proclamations and instead peppered him with pointed questions about the activity taking place in the yoga classroom.  Since his clients had never even observed, let alone participated, in the yoga classes, Mr. Broyles was left to rely upon his expert’s opinion that religion was “pervasive” in those classes based on video evidence.  The justices seemed unimpressed.

Next up was the school district’s attorney, followed by CLG partner Dave Peck on behalf of YES!.  Mr. Peck reminded the justices that the trial judge found the opinions of Mr. Broyles’ religious expert to be highly biased and “not credible.”  The trial court also found that the EUSD curriculum was completely devoid of religion and that there was absolutely no evidence of religious or spiritual instruction in the yoga classrooms.  With respect to the video evidence relied upon by the opposing expert, Mr. Peck cited the trial court’s finding that the videos simply depicted children engaged in exercise and nothing more.  Mr. Peck urged the court to reject Mr. Broyles’ conspiracy theories and to allow the highly successful yoga program to continue.

While there are few certainties in the legal universe, the three appellate justices seemed unanimous in their rejection of the appeal.  The formal opinion will be issued within 90 days and, as always, we will keep you updated.  We again thank you for your ongoing support.

Update on YES! – Yoga Appeal Hearing March 11, 2015

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Update on YES! – Yoga Appeal Hearing March 11, 2015

Dear YES! Families –

The yoga opponents are still at it.  More than two years after it began, the battle to keep yoga as part of the EUSD health and wellness program continues. The next stop is the California Court of Appeal.

On March 11, the Court will hear oral arguments in Sedlock v. Baird, the case EUSD and YES! won at the trial court in June 2013.  The parties have already submitted exhaustive legal briefs and the appellate justices will no doubt be ready to fire off questions.  YES! will be represented by Dave Peck of Coast Law Group, who litigated the case in the trial court.  M.C. Sungaila of Snell & Wilmer, who drafted our team’s brilliant brief, will also be on hand.  It promises to be a lively debate.

Although seating is limited, the public is welcome to attend.  The hearing is at 9 a.m. in Division One of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, 750 B Street, Suite 300, San Diego.  Please note: no mobile phones or recording equipment are allowed in the courtroom, but may be checked in and held at security screening.

As always, we appreciate your ongoing support.

Yoga Appeal: YES! Legal Brief Filed

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Greetings YES! families –

“Locals’ Summer” is upon us – these sweet mid-September days when we ease back into the routines of the school year yet still enjoy fantastic beach weather.

Over the past few months the YES! legal team, including our rock star co-counsel M.C. Sungaila, has been hard at work responding to the appeal in the yoga lawsuit.  As we updated you in June, Dean Broyles, the attorney for the plaintiffs, continues to spread his anti-yoga conspiracy theories at every opportunity.  Not surprisingly, the appellate brief filed by Mr. Broyles contains numerous misstatements of both fact and law.

I encourage you to read YES!’s brief which was filed in the Court of Appeal today.  Our arguments surgically dismantle plaintiffs’ theories and we look forward to having our victory affirmed.

The wheels of justice indeed turn slowly and the Court is not likely to schedule oral arguments until sometime in 2015.  So for now let’s enjoy the sunshine, hug our kids and BREATHE!

As always, we will keep you posted.

Dave Peck
Coast Law Group LLP

Facebook: www.facebook.com/yesencinitas
Twitter: https://twitter.com/yesencinitas

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Yoga Lawsuit: Appeal Update

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Dear YES! Families –

How time flies! School is nearly out, the county fair is underway and summer is once again around the corner.

This time last year we were wrapping up the yoga trial and preparing to give closing arguments. We now find ourselves responding to the appeal filed by the yoga opponents. Our brief is due mid-August so there is plenty of work to be done in the coming months.

While we remain confident our victory will be upheld by the appellate court, the battle has only intensified. Dean Broyles, the Sedlocks’ attorney, continues to solicit donations and spread his anti-yoga conspiracy theories at every opportunity. His original appellate brief, at a whopping 63 pages, was so bloated that the court refused to accept it without significant edits.

In addition to your ongoing support, YES! has been fortunate to receive several offers of assistance from legal professionals. After careful evaluation, we have elected to team up with appellate superstar M.C. Sungaila whose track record of success speaks for itself. Coast Law Group and Snell & Wilmer, Ms. Sungaila’s firm, will continue to represent YES! on a pro bono basis.

We wish you and your families a fun and safe summer. We’ll keep you posted.

Best,

Dave Peck
Coast Law Group LLP

P.S. You may have heard how LeBron James recently credited yoga with improving his performance in the NBA Finals. The NFL also recently released a great video championing the benefits of yoga.

March 15 Event: Yoga Stops Traffick

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Greetings YES! families & friends:

We thought some of you might be interested in supporting an event on Saturday, March 15, from 1-4 p.m. at the Ashtanga Yoga Center, 1905 Calle Barcelona, Suite 218, Carlsbad.

Yoga Stops Traffick is a global event held in almost 200 locations to raise awareness and help prevent human trafficking and violence against women and children. 100% of the proceeds go directly to Odanadi International, an anti-trafficking organization.

The $20 suggested donation includes optional sun salutations led by local yoga instructors beginning at 1:00 p.m., with a reception following at around 2:00 p.m.

For more information, call the Ashtanga Yoga Center at 760-632-7093.

YogaStopsTraffick

 

 

Here is a video with footage from the 2013 event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1DzmyL0cYc

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Feel free to share with friends!

Encinitas Wellness Week and Festival!

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YES families!

Mark your calendars for the annual Wellness Week Festival on January 25 at the Encinitas library, which kicks off a week of whole-body-health activities, events and offers. This is the fourth annual Wellness Week offered to the community by the Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association. Yoga-loving kids will love it, too!

For more information on events, see the DEMA website and below press release. We hope to see you there!

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Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association
818 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA  92024
760.943.1950  www.encinitas101.com

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Rick Moore
760.943.1950
rmoore@encinitas101.com

WELLNESS FESTIVAL OFFERS FREE EXAMS, TREATMENTS, SAMPLES, TRYOUTS AND DEMOS

Encinitas, CA — January 15, 2014 —This year’s Wellness Week Festival will feature an unprecedented variety of activities and freebies, from salad- and smoothie-making to free chair massages and acupuncture treatments, all designed to help you learn about and experience new ways to improve your well-being.  Presented by The Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association, Wellness Week opens with a January 25 Festival at the Encinitas Library, and includes many other events and special offers through February 1.

The Festival, which runs from 11am to 3pm on Saturday, January 25, will have dozens of exhibitor booths and activities, both inside and outside the library, plus a wide range scheduled presentations and demonstrations.

Free health screenings are an important part of this year’s festival.  The lead sponsor, Tri-City Medical Center, will offer body fat testing and a “test your mood” depression screening.  Scripps Health will provide free blood pressure screenings, and North County Health Services will conduct children’s hearing and vision screenings.  Others will offer stress exams and sleep apnea screenings.

Participants will also have the chance to get active and try a boxing workout, experience a Whole Body Vibration machine, and take a spin on the RealRyder tilting bike.

Inside the library, participants can enjoy cooking and yoga demos, and attend presentations on topics as varied as juicing, veterinary acupuncture and surf fitness.

On the library patio, kids will enjoy fun activities like “Healthy Snacks Bingo,” “Grade your Grub” and “Compost Campus,” thanks to Healthy Day Partners.

Healthy appetites will also be satisfied.  In addition to free food and drink samples, including a chance to make your own smoothie on the Whole Foods smoothie bike, the festival will host a variety of healthy food vendors.

Visit the Encinitas 101 website for the full schedule of events and list of special offers:  www.encinitas101.com.

Wellness Week is presented by the Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association, thanks to the generous support of Gold Sponsor Tri-City Medical Center; Silver Sponsors Scripps Health, Ranch & Coast Magazine and the San Diego County Library; plus Bronze Sponsors AGA Medical Options, Care 1st Health Plan, Community Health Group, Leucadia 101 Main Street Association, North County Health Services, Whole Foods Encinitas and Yelp.

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Harvard Yoga Scientists Find Proof of Meditation Benefit

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Bloomberg News
November 22, 2013
By Makiko Kitamura

Luis Acosta/AFP via Getty Images
People take part in a meditation day for peace in Colombia at Bolivar Square in Bogota, on Sept. 28, 2013.

Scientists are getting close to proving what yogis have held to be true for centuries — yoga and meditation can ward off stress and disease.

A man practices yoga on the waterfront at Nariman Point in Mumbai. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

John Denninger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, is leading a five-year study on how the ancient practices affect genes and brain activity in the chronically stressed. His latest work follows a study he and others published earlier this year showing how so-called mind-body techniques can switch on and off some genes linked to stress and immune function.

While hundreds of studies have been conducted on the mental health benefits of yoga and meditation, they have tended to rely on blunt tools like participant questionnaires, as well as heart rate and blood pressure monitoring. Only recently have neuro-imaging and genomics technology used in Denninger’s latest studies allowed scientists to measure physiological changes in greater detail.

“There is a true biological effect,” said Denninger, director of research at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospitals. “The kinds of things that happen when you meditate do have effects throughout the body, not just in the brain.”

The government-funded study may persuade more doctors to try an alternative route for tackling the source of a myriad of modern ailments. Stress-induced conditions can include everything from hypertension and infertility to depression and even the aging process. They account for 60 to 90 percent of doctor’s visits in the U.S., according to the Benson-Henry Institute. The World Health Organization estimates stress costs U.S. companies at least $300 billion a year through absenteeism, turn-over and low productivity.

Seinfeld, Murdoch

The science is advancing alongside a budding “mindfulness” movement, which includes meditation devotees such as Bill George, board member of Goldman Sachs Group and Exxon Mobil Corp., and comedian Jerry Seinfeld. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch recently revealed on Twitter that he is giving meditation a try.

As a psychiatrist specializing in depression, Denninger said he was attracted to mind-body medicine, pioneered in the late 1960s by Harvard professor Herbert Benson, as a possible way to prevent the onset of depression through stress reduction. While treatment with pharmaceuticals is still essential, he sees yoga and meditation as useful additions to his medical arsenal.

Exchange Program

It’s an interest that dates back to an exchange program he attended in China the summer before entering Harvard as an undergraduate student. At Hangzhou University he trained with a tai chi master every morning for three weeks.

“By the end of my time there, I had gotten through my thick teenage skull that there was something very important about the breath and about inhabiting the present moment,” he said. “I’ve carried that with me since then.”

His current study, to conclude in 2015 with about $3.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health, tracks 210 healthy subjects with high levels of reported chronic stress for six months. They are divided in three groups.

One group with 70 participants perform a form of yoga known as Kundalini, another 70 meditate and the rest listen to stress education audiobooks, all for 20 minutes a day at home. Kundalini is a form of yoga that incorporates meditation, breathing exercises and the singing of mantras in addition to postures. Denninger said it was chosen for the study because of its strong meditation component.

Participants come into the lab for weekly instruction for two months, followed by three sessions where they answer questionnaires, give blood samples used for genomic analysis and undergo neuro-imaging tests.

‘Immortality Enzyme’

Unlike earlier studies, this one is the first to focus on participants with high levels of stress. The study published in May in the medical journal PloS One showed that one session of relaxation-response practice was enough to enhance the expression of genes involved in energy metabolism and insulin secretion and reduce expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress. There was an effect even among novices who had never practiced before.

Harvard isn’t the only place where scientists have started examining the biology behind yoga.

In a study published last year, scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles and Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn found that 12 minutes of daily yoga meditation for eight weeks increased telomerase activity by 43 percent, suggesting an improvement in stress-induced aging. Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, shared the Nobel medicine prize in 2009 with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for research on the telomerase “immortality enzyme,” which slows the cellular aging process.

Build Resilience

Not all patients will be able to stick to a daily regimen of exercise and relaxation. Nor should they have to, according to Denninger and others. Simply knowing breath-management techniques and having a better understanding of stress can help build resilience.

“A certain amount of stress can be helpful,” said Sophia Dunn, a clinical psychotherapist who trained at King’s College London. “Yoga and meditation are tools for enabling us to swim in difficult waters.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Makiko Kitamura in London at mkitamura1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net