Indian Government in Knots Over U.S. Yoga Patents

None of these legal protections allow Choudhury to "own" his routine -- people are still free to practice it in the park, for example. But no one can market themselves as a licensed Bikram practitioner without his OK .

Despite the brewing controversy, Choudhury said he remains unfazed. He believes that rather than trying to block him from making money, India should focus on making its own profits from yoga.

"Yoga is a multimillion dollar industry," he said. "How much has India made out of it? Nothing. I think they are a little bit jealous."

Nevertheless, Gupta and the Indian government remain focused on their goal -- to protect yoga as an Indian invention. Gupta said he believes that by issuing patents, the U.S. government may be allowing individuals to restrict the practice.

"No one is against Bikram making money, but he shouldn't stop others from teaching yoga. We are not saying that you cannot perform yoga until you pay the government of India. We are saying, yoga belongs to our culture. It's our heritage," he said. "We want the system of knowledge that is India's to be available to everyone but not appropriated to a few."

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