The inventor of Bikram Yoga decided to copyright poses, and he will sue anybody who uses them without paying a franchise fee!
The Bikram method of yoga is a series of 26 postures and two breathing sequences. What makes it different from traditional yoga is that it is performed in a climate-controlled environment of 105 degrees.
Bikram Choudhury, a small man from Calcutta, ‘invented’ this style of yoga and he insists it is “the only correct way to practice yoga.”
Choudhury has taken his claim on yoga even further. He decided to sue his former student, Greg Gumucio for copyright and trademark infringement, unfair business practices and breach of contract because Gumucio broke away from Bikram and opened his own yoga studios.
Gumucio charges $8 per class whereas Choudhury charges between $15 and $25! No wonder Gumucio’s chain of studios is called Yoga to the People (YTTP).
Choudhury did not invent the poses and although yoga is a centuries-old tradition, Choudhury had copyrighted his particular version under the same protections afforded choreographers. He uses this to force competitors to pay franchise fees if they wish to use his version.
Choudhury is not a modest man. He earns about $7 million annually and has an entire collection of Rolls-Royces. He makes his opinion of himself clear when he says: "I kind of run this city. They depend on me."