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Posing a Question: Can Yoga Be Owned?

In September, Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga, filed a $1 million lawsuit against his former student Greg Gumucio, founder of the wildly popular Yoga to the People chain. Mr. Choudhury copyrighted his series of 26 poses and two breathing exercises in 2002, and he’s been known to sue people who infringe on it. The Bikram guru has said the poses were designed in a series for health benefits, and to effectively teach the courses, instructors must become certified, which costs $10,000. The million-dollar question: Can yoga be owned?

Yoga to the Courtroom

The East Village’s most well-known yoga studio, Yoga to the People, has been sued by the originator of the Bikram variety of yoga for stealing poses, DNAInfo reports. Bikram Choudhury, the creator of the yoga done in sweltering studios, alleges that instructors at Yoga to the People were illegally using his copyrighted poses. Mr. Choudhury is seeking over $1 million in damages.