Don’t Touch That Asana: Indian Government Creates Yoga Database to Prevent Copyright

Since yoga’s arrival in the West, the line that divides spiritual practice from business venture has become increasingly difficult to tease out. Now, alarmed by the entrepreneurial fervor of many ambitious American yoga teachers, the Indian government will make quite clear that sequences of yoga postures are not to be sold as a capitalist product.
The Times of India reports that the government in India is completing its Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), a database of 1,300 unique yoga postures that seeks to set a precedent by establishing them as public knowledge. According to the Times, this should prevent “self-styled yoga gurus” from claiming ownership or copyright to postures have been taught in India for thousands of years.

Dr. V. P. Gupta, one of the creators of the project, stated that “by putting the information in the public domain, the TKDL will be a one-stop reference point for patent offices across the world. Every time, somebody applies for a patent on yoga, the office can check which ancient Indian book first mentioned it and cancel the application.”

What do you think? Do Western “yoga gurus” such as the infamous Bikram Choudury have a right to lay claim to supposedly innovative and novel sequences of asana practice? Are capitalism and consumerism foes to the evolution of yoga, or are the contributing to greater innovation and opportunity for growth?

h/t: Boing Boing

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Ancient Wisdom, Modern Perspective

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