Will somebody please think of the children?

Will somebody please think of the children?
Suzanne Harrington.

Why, Bishop Alphonsus — love the name, by the way, reminds me of those delicious mangoes from India — thank you for stepping in and reminding us that our children should steer clear of yoga and mindfulness at school.

Quite right too. The last thing we want is for our children to be relaxed, focused, and mindful when they are being bombarded by exam stress, bullying, and the existential threat of extinction. What if they grew into young adults better equipped to calmly navigate their emotions, rather than getting slaughtered down the pub to let off steam after a bad week? We cannot allow this to happen.

Far better our children are kept away from such ideas that we need not be enslaved by our thoughts, that we can step back from the whirling vortex of our minds, that we can focus instead on feeling fully present in our heads and bodies. No! Why would we encourage such thinking? Such practices might lead to emotional and spiritual liberation. And where would we be then?

As for yoga — ban it now, and not just in the classroom. We can’t have people turning up with nothing more than a yoga mat, then leaving 90 minutes later with lower blood pressure, softer connective tissue, increased bone density (ask NASA), greater flexibility, stronger muscle tone and an overall sense of wellbeing – what if it caught on?

What if – whisper it – they tried to teach it in schools, so that kids could practice it too? We could end up with hundreds of thousands of content, chilled young people, which would obviously be an utter disaster for the country.

For a start, the gardai would be out of a job. No post-pub fights to break up — because nobody would be aggravated — no marauding brawlers, as everyone would be practising non-violence. Our tradition of beating seven shades of shite out of each other at closing time would be undermined were we to allow mindfulness to replace mindlessness. Is this what we really want for our young people? For our police? For our sense of national identity?

Even worse would be the impact on health services. Imagine the chaos in our hospitals and surgeries if people stopped presenting with anxiety and depression, and stopped self-medicating themselves into addiction.

Our mental health professionals would all be on the dole. Doctors and nurses would be sitting around doing crosswords, bored out of their minds. Is this something we can justify?

I think not. I am personally only too aware of the side effects of regular yoga and mindfulness practice – over the years, yoga has robbed me of my stiffness, obesity and depression. Meditation is worse, calming my mind through breath so that I am left with approximately zero fucks at any given time.

The idea of innocent children being indoctrinated into such ideas as agency over their own minds and bodies must be stopped right away. It would be a disaster, wouldn’t it Phonsie?

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