Yoga poses can’t be copyrighted, U.S. regulator says

yoga The U.S. Copyright Office previously permitted yoga poses and their sequences to be registered, even if those exercises were in the public domain, Laura Lee Fischer, acting chief of the office’s Performing Arts Division, said in response to an inquiry by an attorney involved in lawsuits the founder of Bikram Yoga filed against three yoga studios. [Read more...]

Lawsuit Pits Bikram Choudhury and Yoga to the People

Bikram Choudhury Bikram Choudhury, the millionaire founder of Bikram Yoga, believes his kind of yoga belongs to him — he has even copyrighted it.

Now, he has sued Yoga to the People for copyright infringement, seeking monetary damages and asking a federal judge to block Yoga to the People from offering its hot yoga class. [Read more...]

The Yoga Mogul: John Friend, founder of Anusara

Yoga John Friend talked about the freedom of Anusara; it’s nothing like the more rigid schools that demand students repeat the same poses in the same way at every single class, nor is it the kind of practice in which teachers withhold praise, lest students become too egocentric. “Anusara is positive,” Friend said, resting his head on the back of his chair and absently caressing one of many highly polished orbs on an adjacent table. “It’s accessible. Easily applicable. And yet it has depth and sophistication.”

Consider those religions that focus on sin and damnation, on discipline instead of joy. “Fundamentally they say no,” he told me. “While Anusara is a yes.” [Read more...]

Hindus, yoga teachers question US sales tax

Yoga Yoga practitioners are criticizing a Missouri sales tax that applies to yoga classes, claiming they should be exempt because the lessons include spiritual elements.

Some practitioners think such a tax is unconstitutional. They argue that yoga, with roots in ancient Indian meditation, is as much a spiritual practice as an exercise routine and should be exempt from taxation. [Read more...]

Bikram Yoga’s New Twists

Bikram Choudhury Bikram Choudhury’s sweaty techniques are a hit with yoga studios. Now he wants his cut, writes Forbes.

Yoga is big business, racking up $5.7 billion in sales last year, and Choudhury has built a cultlike following.

Recent training costs: $10,500 per session, including $3,000 for room and board in Palm Desert, Calif. At two sessions a year, each of which draw about 325 trainees, that’s $4.9 million in annual revenue. To that add 15 speaking engagements, generating about $20,000 each in ticket sales, plus another few bucks from books and dvds. “I’m a yogi, not a businessman,” Choudhury demurs.

Now he wants another revenue stream: franchising fees paid by studios that use his name. [Read more...]

Yoga encourages blasphemy, say Muslims

Yoga A top Islamic council in mostly Muslim Malaysia has told Muslims to avoid yoga because it uses Hindu prayers and encourages a union with God that is blasphemous.

The latest edict from the National Fatwa Council reflects a growing swing towards a conservative brand of Islam in the multi-ethnic country that has prompted worries among non-Muslims. [Read more...]