Bikram Yoga Practitioners in Hot Water?

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If you incorporate yoga into your training techniques, you may be interested in the recent brouhaha surrounding Bikram yoga.

Bikram Choudhury, who created a 26-posture series that is performed in a heated room, obtained a federal copyright for his asana sequence. According to a February 8 Reuters news story by Elinor Mills Abreu, Choudhury “has sent cease-and-desist letters to more than 100 Bikram yoga schools and teachers, accusing them of violating his copyright and trademark by employing instructors [who] weren’t trained by him.”

Choudhury successfully sued two teachers who he claimed violated his copyright, and some yoga devotees are outraged. Yoga practitioners formed Open Source Yoga Unity, a nonprofit organization, to oppose the litigious position Choudhury is taking with his attempted enforcement of copyright protection. The organization claims that Choudhury does not have the legal right to impose control over another’s yoga teaching or practice since his series of poses stems from postures that have been in the public domain for centuries. Organization members also say that the school in India that taught Choudhury the postures has made statements regarding the free offering of yoga to everyone.

A trial to determine the lawsuit outcome is scheduled for February 2005.

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April 2004

© 2004 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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