The Union government of India is taking steps to protect its modern treasure trove of yogic traditions, according to an article in The Economic Times. The government is creating a digital database of 1,500 yoga postures and their therapeutic properties. The health ministry’s Department of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Sidha, and Homeopathy will maintain the database. The government intends to use the information to prevent individuals or corporations from acquiring future rights to what will now be documented as India’s intellectual property. The article notes that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted 134 patents on yoga accessories, 150 yoga-related copyrights and 2,315 yoga trademarks.
The Indian database includes body-cleansing practices known as kriyas; breathing exercises, or pranayama; yoga symbols known as mudras; postures, or yoga asanas; and special practices such as floating in water. The government also intends to protect Ayurveda, Unani and Sidha medicinal practices in the database. This information will be documented digitally in five major international languages to be shared with patent offices worldwide.
According to this article, the government is taking action in response to efforts like those of Bikram Choudhury, who asserted that his sequence of 26 yoga postures was protected under U.S. copyright laws. Choudhury claimed that he could prevent others from performing this yoga sequence, or any modifications that were substantially similar to it, even though—as The Economic Times points out—“the postures themselves were not under any form of protection.”
What do Angelina Jolie, Uma Thurman, Daryl Hannah and Ziyi Zhang have in common? They are all beautiful, athletic female action heroes whose film exploits fuel growth for new martial-arts-style workouts. In Forza, The Samurai Sword Workout: Kick Butt and Get Buff With High-Intensity Sword-Fighting Moves (Ulysses Press 2005), New York trainer Ilaria Montagnani, an instructor at the Reebok Sports Club, transforms ancient Japanese sword-fighting techniques from kendo and aikijujitsu into a total-body strength and endurance workout.
Montagnani designed the workout “Forza,” which means “strength, power and force” in Italian, using a 2-pound wooden or plastic sword and samurai training moves. In addition to building strength and endurance with the sword maneuvers, the workout provides cardiovascular training, since participants perform sequences of strikes, chops and thrusts similar to those seen in choreographed fight scenes in movies. If you want to flex your inner samurai warrior muscles, check out the book for program details and information on how to purchase your workout sword.