Bikram Yoga vs. Yoga to the People: Is this pose worth $1M?

Students attend a “Traditional Hot Yoga” class last night at Yoga to the People.

These dueling yogis have their practices tied up in knots.

Bikram Choudhury, famed creator of Bikram Yoga, is suing Yoga to the People in the East Village for stealing his signature sequence of yoga poses.

Choudhury is demanding $1 million from Gregory Gumucio, a former student and the owner of Yoga to the People, for profiting off of what he says are his copyrighted yoga moves.

Choudhury claims he has copyright protection of his sequence of 26 poses and 105-degree temperature environment, and says Gumucio’s “Traditional Hot Yoga” classes are a ripoff of his idea.

“The use of the copyrighted material is limited to certified Bikram yoga studios,” Robert Gilchrest, Choudhury’s attorney said. 

In order to become a Bikram-certified studio, Gilchrest said, instructors must pay $10,000 to study under Choudhury and get explicit permission from Choudhury to teach Bikram.

“It’s crazy that [Choudhury] can think he owns yoga,” Gumucio responded. “If he owns the sequence, it opens a floodgate for lots of people to start trying to copyright, trademark and patent this traditional, sacred knowledge.”

Gumucio, in addition to his legal defense, has started an online petition on YogaTruth.Org to protect what he says is the public’s right to yoga.

Can you copyright a class?

Metro spoke with intellectual property lawyer Douglas Wyatt about the legality of the lawsuit.

“It is possible for yoga poses to be protected,” Wyatt said. “The copyright statutes allow for the protection of expression, which includes things like dance.”

He also said that the whopping $1 million price tag may not even be out of bounds.

“The valuation of copyright and copyrighted material depends on the market. There might not be an established rate,” he said, referring to the range of how much people pay for a yoga class. Yoga to the People charges $8 per class; Bikram demands $20.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

Movies

Shia LaBeouf disorderly conduct case pushed to September

A judge on Thursday adjourned until September the disorderly conduct and harassment case against actor Shia LaBeouf, who was charged with disturbing a Broadway theater…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.