Patents and Lawsuits: The future of the Yoga Business?

This past weekend our Teacher Training group spent our final weekend discussing the Business of Yoga. We explored the statistics of this growing industry, having tripled from a $2.9B dollar industry in 2008 to a $10.3B dollar industry in 2012, as cited by a Yoga Journal Press Release. We discussed in the growth in teachers, styles of yoga and growing your business.

More importantly, we focused on the impact of lawsuits and patents that have occurred during that same time period. We explored the depth of how Yoga in the West has now become a “trademark” industry, with more patents, copyrights and trademarks being filed annually with the US Patent and Trademark office.

What we did not explore was the selfish patents that were being filed to protect one entities right over another, in a field that is rapidly growing and in some cases losing its essence of yoga as a union, a yoking and a practice available to all. So you can imagine that when I read the alarming story of Yoga International being sent a cest and desist order yesterday, I wondered if I had somehow manifested this to prove my point to my students. Yoga International is being told that another entity holds the patent on how a yoga video is technically produced. What?

As I read the details of this order and learned more throughout the day, I was appreciative of Yoga Alliance taking a stance. Yoga Alliance in its own efforts to demonstrate value to each member of the organization — stood up to support Yoga International and each of us as stewards of yoga. The association sent out a global email with a petition, asking each of us to take action. As a proprietor myself, one fully engaged in using all methods of marketing and supplying access of yoga to everyone, I signed the petition and ask each of you to support this effort.

One only needs to consider the consequences of such an action, if we all dont voice our opinion. What next, a patent that only one business can run a Free Yoga in the Park, or form clients in mandala circle or have clients only lay a certain way during savasana. At some point this nonsense must stop. Take action today, to provide our gifts to everyone and every business.

For more information see both the original article and the Yoga Alliance Petition:

Yoga International Article –

Yoga Alliance Petition –

Submitted by:
Nancy Levenson of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness
Founder, E-RYT-500, 1,000-PYT, Professional Yoga Therapist
NamasteWorks Yoga offers Integrative Yoga Therapy Teacher Training and Business Yoga Mentoring