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Yoga Wars! India Blocks Patents On Poses

by Jacob Goldstein
Aug 23, 2010

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The Indian government wants people to stop trying to patent ancient yoga practices.

So officials are filming hundreds of yoga poses and translating ancient Sanscrit texts. They plan to send the results to patent offices around the world next month, the Washington Post reports.

It's an outgrowth of a project called the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, which was originally created to fight patents on traditional Indian medicine — like turmeric for wound healing, which received a U.S. patent that was later withdrawn after India objected.

"Yoga is collective knowledge and is available for use by everybody no matter what the interpretation," the head of the digital library told the WaPo. "...we wanted to ensure that, in the future, nobody will be able to claim that he has created a yoga posture which was actually already created in 2500 B.C. in India."

The fight over who owns yoga got a lot of attention a few years back when Bikram Choudhury said a series of yoga positions done in a room heated to over 100 degrees was his intellectual property. Legal fights ensued.

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