India moves to patent yoga poses

On first inspection this would be filed under ‘Friday fun’, although it was drawn to my attention by an email from a customer who wanted the official British Library view on the Daily Telegraph story.

Needles to say, we don’t have a view, but I have to say I was amazed to to discover that yoga positions could be protected:

“Copyrights over yoga postures and trademarks on yoga tools have become rampant in the West. Till now, we have traced 130 yoga-related patents in the US. We hope to finish putting on record at least 1500 yoga postures by the end of 2009,” said Dr V.P Gupta, of the CSIR, who created the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library.

And even more surprised to hear how the Indian government has reacted:

So far a team of yoga gurus from nine schools have worked with government officials and 200 scientists from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to scan 35 ancient texts including the Hindu epics, the Mahabharata and the Bhagwad Gita, and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras to register each native pose.

The topic even has its own Wikipedia page entitled Yoga Piracy.

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