Wildmind Meditation News
Sep 18, 2009
Yoga class for peace gets shot down
RAYMOND, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Concerns about the type of crowd that might gather and a lack of information led the board of selectmen to deny a request by a local resident to hold a yoga for peace event at the town common on Sunday.
Sunday is the International Day of Peace, which is sanctioned by the United Nations.
Resident Molly Schlangen sent a letter to the board requesting use of the town common for a brief gathering with complimentary yoga classes to “promote peace in our community and in our world.”
Schlangen, a local yoga instructor and formerly the school nurse at Lamprey River Elementary School, held the same event last year. About 20 people attended and took part in a 45-minute outdoor yoga class.
“What kind of crowd is this going to gather? This is a peace group, we are at war and I wonder if this is going to bring a crowd of people into town on both sides of the issues and whether we need police down there,” selectman Jack Barnes said.
Barnes said he did not like the idea and chairman Frank Bourque said he didn’t either.
Barnes, Bourque and Bill Hoitt voted against allowing the use of the town common while Joyce Wood and Cheryl Killam voted for it.
The decision came about three hours into the board’s meeting on Monday night.
“This is like, low impact yoga,” Killam said. She and Wood said they had no problem with the event.
“We don’t know enough about it,” Bourque said following his vote.
Schlangen said she had no idea the gathering was going to be up for discussion and still has not been formally notified by the town that her request was denied.
When she decided to hold the gathering last year, she was told she needed to let the town know if she wanted to use the common and did that through the town offices. When she went last week to inform them she planned to hold the gathering again this year, she was told she had to put something in writing.
“I fully expected it was a formality to let them know we would be gathering there,” Schlangen said. “I didn’t know it was something they had to approve.”
Had she known it was going to be up for discussion, Schlangen said she would have attended the meeting.
“I am disappointed because I feel that I am at least known in the community, and if they just needed to get some more answers, I wish they would have done that before just saying no and taking a vote,” Schlangen said.
She said she did not represent herself as part of a group, and the letter was addressed from her as a town resident who happens to be a yoga instructor.
“It is for a good cause and that was the intent, that was the spirit of this effort to get people together who are like-minded and like peace,” Schlangen said.
Schlangen referred to a quote on the home page for the International Day of Peace, including a reference to supporting the UN in doing one’s part for peace.
“That is all we wanted to do, was to do our part for peace,” Schlangen said.
She said she is now planning to hold the gathering at her new yoga studio at 133 Main St. in Epping on Sunday instead.