India says no more of this patenting yoga rubbish. D’ya hear that Bikram?
We reported at the beginning of the year India was already headlong into an effort to “preserve” their history of yoga, and even going so far as to open a Yoga Museum in Mumbai. To further the efforts, a team of 200 scientists and researchers from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Union health ministry’s department of Ayush have joined forces with nine yoga institutions and set out on a mission to halt the Westerners “pirating” the yog.
How do these swashbucklers plan to accomplish this? By digitizing every ancient text, every asana and everything related to yoga in India, ever.
Yes, the new 30 million page Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), will feature photos, explanations of the postures, video clips of an expert performing them, and a voice-over pointing out which text mentions the posture, all to be available in five languages. What a wealth of knowledge all in just 30 million pages! Hope it’s searchable. Although, it might not matter to us since there’s no clear word on whether it will be available to the public.
However, the patent offices of India, and the rest of the world, will be getting exclusive access in order to combat the grubby “self-styled yoga gurus” claiming copyright on “prior art.” The United States alone has 130 yoga-related patents, 150 copyrights and 2,300 trademarks. [source]
At this point 600 asanas have already been documented in the TKDL with the goal of at least 1,500 plugged in by the end of 2009. There are also two lakh (200,000) medical formulations of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani – it gets heavy into the agro-sci-fi world of bio-piracy.
Texts presently being scanned in: 35 ancient Sanskrit texts, including the Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Hatha Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, Shiva Samhita and Sandra Satkarma.
Besides the Bikram patenting debacle, we wonder what these other US patents refer to, and what it could mean for the booming business of yoga capitalists in America.
Yoga Piracy: India Shows Who’s the Guru [Times of India]