Feb 25, 2009

Patenting yoga

In 2007, yoga's self professed guru, Bikram Chaudhry, tried to patent what he christened as Bikram Yoga - a set of asanas to be done in a hot, humid room. There was a lot of hue and cry and reports came that this form of exercises have indeed been granted patnet in the US. The US government issued denial about any patent having been issued for yoga.

A news article on the Times of India now reports that about 130 patents have already been granted on yoga. To counter such attempts, the Indian government has documented yoga postures available in various scripts.

Patent or no patent, yoga has become a big business. The same news report says, yoga has become a $225 billion industry.

Perhaps this commercialisation is what has made yoga so popular in the western world. I suppose, not many people would have gone for yoga if it were offered free. Though it is a victory of consumerism over the principles of yoga, we can derive a little consolation in that yoga still is helping people overcome pain, depression and bodily imbalances.