Monthly Archives: April 2010

Practice and all is coming? Western vs Eastern approach interview

An interesting discussion is going on in the Yahoo Ashtanga Group, where some practitioners encourage us to (respectfully?) question the contemporary yoga traditions as they are being “abused” by brahmins, claiming that Westerners have the advantage of being able to «go beyond dogmas».

I completely agree, everything should be questioned. Everything, including the questioning, intellectual mind, which is just another judgement that in the West we often hold to be the Ultimate Truth.

The point is, we are also conditioned by our culture, and as human beings we are not always aware of the dogmas our minds operate with, so how can we accuse other people with a different approach to learning/knowledge of not being able to surpass theirs?

In the first part of the yoga sutras, Patañjali explains that correct knowledge is direct, inferred or proven as factual (Y.S I.7). However, he also warns that verbal knowledge devoid of substance is vikalpa or imagination (Y.S I.9), and insists that truth-bearing knowledge is first-hand, intuitive knowledge (Y.S 1.49), different from the knowledge taken from books, memory or deduction.

This intuitive knowledge tends to be forgotten, undervalued, or directly despised in the West as superstition, blind faith, simply not valid, since it doesn’t come from inference. Isn’t that another dogma?

In this interview translated from drukpamexico.org, Tibetan buddhist teacher SS Gyalwang Drukpa throws some light on the difficulties Westerners experience along the spiritual path:

Q: How do you see the understanding of Tibetan Buddhism by Westerners, do you see any difference in the way it is comprehended and practiced in the West, compared to the Tibetans?

SS: I see a big difference between Western and Tibetan students. Now that I mix with very different kinds of people, I think that Westerners have a very peculiar way to start their spiritual life, very peculiar. There’s nothing wrong with it, it is just unique, very different from the Tibetan way.

Tibetans have a structure that is almost fanatic. They already have a path that’s been built by their cultural and spiritual ancestors, so it is already there. They don’t need to create it, to invent it, and that helps a lot. But the Western way is very interesting to me, because they have to create everything from A to Z. For this reason, they need to pay a lot of attention, they need to put a lot of effort into it to understand, they have to use their brains a lot, their intellect, and that’s what they’re doing, that’s what they’re fighting.

However, in terms of what is real, of the practice, I think that Westerners are still far behind. This is because they use their intellectual knowledge very well, they do the intellectual effort really well, that is the interesting part. But when it comes to experiential knowledge, they can barely do it. They have too much intellectual knowledge in their minds, which makes people go crazy.

It may be because too much intellectual knowledge makes people go crazy, or because your head becomes too big and you turn into an idiot. It is very easy to get carried away by stupidity, or by madness.

And it is not that holy madness: some people believe that when they go crazy like that it is because of that crazy wisdom, and it’s not like that. You know, in Tibetan Buddhism we usually talk about «holy madness» and then Westerners think «oh, this must be it». This is totally wrong, it is regular madness. This is the main issue in Buddhist societies, particularly in the West.

On the other hand, the way Western people understand is very good, very interesting, because they use their intelligence, their knowledge, their effort and their brains.

In our case in Tibet, we don’t really need to use our brain a lot, we only need devotion because the structure is already there. So anything the Guru, the Teacher says, you only need to follow. He’s already done all that previous hard work and he’s merely giving it to you. Whereas in the West, the Teacher gives it to you, but you need to work it really hard, this is they kind of society Westerners live in.

Q: So would you recommend that we focus more on faith and devotion and not only on the intellect?

SS: Yes, yes, this is what I always recommend, devotion is completely necessary. Devotion meaning clear understanding: you have to put yourself in a state of deep understanding, enter deeply that state of realization. Even if you don’t really know what realization is, try to get deeper into realization with your heart, rather than keeping it in you mind. Just put your heart into realization, and try to find something really deep there. Then you will obtain true compassion, true devotion, really easily. This will mantain a balance between intellectual and experiential knowledge.

Even if you don’t have much experience, it doesn’t matter, you have to experiment with it, try it out. Don’t just look at it, experience it. Try something and then you’ll know what it tastes like. Is it delicious, is it bitter? Does it have any taste at all? Or what?

When you try it you’ll know how to talk about it, you’ll know what to think about that particular thing. Otherwise, you’re just exposing everything, and you think you know everything. If you say: «This is yellow, this is white, this is red, this is beautiful or this is not» and you think you know everything and you haven’t even tried it, you haven’t even experienced it, that knowledge is only in your mind. That is the kind of knowledge that most Westerners have. Western students have a lot of knowledge because they’ve read thousands of books, they’ve listened to thousands of teachings and they know every corner of every teaching. Vajrayana, Mahayana, Hinduism, Christianism, Chatolicism, Judaism, EVERYTHING they know. That is fantastic. But they haven’t had the experience, they don’t really know anything!

So they doubt everything: «Er… I don’t know if this is sweet or not, someone told me it was sweet but I don’t know, it looks bitter to me, but I don’t know if it’s bitter…»

So take it, experience it, try it and you will know what it is. This is the factor that is lacking in Western societies.

___________________ end of the interview ____________________

Om! This is Sanskrit

Practical Sanskrit

I am thrilled to have been introduced to a blog called Practical Sanskrit, and I want to recommend it to all of you Indian culture maniacs!

Saraswathi, the goddess of wisdom and learningIt’s a great resource, useful and entertaining. The author seems to have both a vast knowledge, the willingness, and the ability to convey it in a simple way. The articles are intelligent and fun, leaving us with some golden drops of wisdom in each post.

Beautiful shlokas are carefully dissected and explained, always relevant and fascinating. The author uses a very simple version of the Sanskrit transliteration that I’m totally in <3 with. The whole thing is very well structured and they actively encourage reader participation.

This is love of knowledge… Thanks for sharing it with us, keep it up! ॐ

The Mysore Perspective : Yoga Money

YOGA: IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY, HONEY!
Friday, April 23, 2010 The Star of Mysore

Spend Rs. 29,000 per month in City and earn Rs. 7,50,000 in the US

Mysore, Apr.23 (JP)-It is all about money, Honey! Yoga is no longer a simple, time-tested form of exercise aimed at rejuvenating the body and the mind but one of the biggest money spinners in the West. There are a few million Yoga practitioners in the USA alone and the number is growing.

SOM found that a couple of hundred Americans with a sprinkling Europeans come here to learn yoga from the six to seven schools in the City. They spend anywhere from a month to six months either learning yoga or upgrading their skills by learning advanced techniques.

All the yoga students come on a tourist visa and unwittingly break the law by taking up yoga courses. ‘Yoga talk’ among the closely knit Western groups centre around ‘yoga visa.’ But it is found that there is no such thing as a ‘Yoga Visa’ and there is only a Student Visa for which none of the westerners are eligible to apply as, not a single yoga school in the State is recognised by any University or the State Education Board.

It was also found that the City Police Commissioner had sent a circular to all yoga schools not to admit any foreigner on a tourist visa. When SOM spoke to Sashi Kumar of Mystic Yoga School in Gokulam, it found that a Police team had visited his school. Sashi also said that Police had been double-checking on yoga schools in Lakshmipuram to see if foreigners are being taught and what kind of visa they have.

SOM spoke to Harish Bheemaiah who runs the Mandala Yogashala in city. Harish said that the Police will not admit whether the circular came from the Ministry of Home Affairs or the State Home Ministry. Harish Bheemaiah said that it is more than three months since they and other Yoga schools in the city got this notice from the Police Commissioner’s office asking them not to entertain any foreigner on a tourist visa. He said that he along with several of his students had met MLA Ramdas and apprised him of this situation and he in turn spoke to the Police Commissioner. The Police Commissioner was supposed to have had a meeting with them on April 14 at 4 pm but for some reason the meeting was put off.

SOM traced the origin of Police Commissioner Sunil Agarwal’s circular to the one issued by the Kerala State Police who had issued a special circular since that State has an even larger number of Yoga and Kalaripayat schools. Clause VII of the Kerala Tiruvananthapuram Police Chief’s circular says: “As several foreigners coming to India with tourist visas seek admission for studying yoga and meditation, as per the prevailing norms they should hold proper student visa for studying yoga meditation etc. And their venue of study should be clearly recorded on the side of the visa stamp. (The institution should be an authorized one). Moreover change of institution is also not permitted.”

Sashi Kumar told SOM that the Police circular is ridiculous and said he would file a Writ petition about the illegality of this circular. Says Sashi Kumar, “If someone comes on a tourist visa to see Mysore and spends two days learning how to make a Mysore Masale dosa, does it mean that this tourist has violated the law?”

But why this eagerness to learn Yoga in the City? SOM discovered that many student turned teachers now advertise “Mysore style” classes, or Pattabhi or Iyengar style and charge even more. The money just doubles when it is advertised as Mysore style yoga.

Michele Nichols and Steve Dwelley run the Ashtanga Yoga Centre at Santa Barbara, California. They offer a special ‘Mysore Monthly’ course in yoga and they charge $ 150.a month for twice a week classes. This means if they teach 20 students a month, they stand to make $ 3000 a month. Michele and Steve charge $ 1500 for a year’s course of two classes a week. That means even if they have 10 students for the yearly class they will make $ 15,000 or Rs. 6, 75,000 per year. And in Mysore they spend around Rs. 29,000 for six months of Yoga classes.

The School of Yoga in Croydon, United Kingdom, charges 12 pounds a week for a six week course. SOM found that with the exchange rate at Rs. 75 to a pound, a yoga teacher in the UK makes a little over Rs. 5,400 per person for a six-week course.

Kristina Karitinos conducts Mysore style Ashtanga yoga in Athens, Greece, for 90 Euros for a five week course. Govind Kai also has a Mysore Style Ashtanga yoga studio in Athens. David and Catherine Garringues of Seattle, Washington are regulars to Mysore where they spend time upgrading their skills.

Each of those mentioned above spend not more than Rs. 30,000 a month here in the City for two months and this includes their fees, food and stay. But when they get back they make five times the money they have spent.

………. End of article……….

…except that the cost of living is much higher in Europe and the United States.  And one month of study at certain yoga schools is much higher than in the west.  Hmm.

-Elephantbeans

Yoga Businesses and the Unpaid Internship

In the business of yoga, it is not uncommon for people to do ridiculously low-paid work.  Perhaps even more prevalent is the work-study or “karma yoga” student who works for free.  As yoga businesses strive to get more competitive (some actually writing business plans gasp!), we’re seeing an emergence of some new trends such as the yoga talent management agency and the unpaid intern.

With the economy as it is and the job outlook abysmal, many job seekers and employers are engaging in unpaid internship arrangements.

A great way to keep the overhead low, right?
A great way to gain real-world experience, right?

Tipped off by a recent NY Times article on the subject, we followed a link to the United States Department of Labor where we found a very interesting article on what constitutes a legal unpaid internship.

From the Wage and Hour Division Fact Sheet #71:

The Test For Unpaid Interns
There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation.  The Supreme Court has held that the term “suffer or permit to work” cannot be interpreted so as to make a person whose work serves only his or her own interest an employee of another who provides aid or instruction.  This may apply to interns who receive training for their own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria.  The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program.

The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:
1.  The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
2.  The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3.  The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4.  The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5.  The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
6.  The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern.  This exclusion from the definition of employment is necessarily quite narrow because the FLSA’s definition of “employ” is very broad.  Some of the most commonly discussed factors for “for-profit” private sector internship programs are considered below.

To sum it up, unpaid internships are meant to be learning experience for the intern.  So much so, that sometimes their presence actually impedes work at times.  It is an educational experience where the intern is the primary beneficiary with loads of supervision.

Why is all that important to point out?  Because unrealistic yoga business plans are about as abundant as unpaid interns and downward facing dogs.  Case in point?  The Greenpoint, Brooklyn / Albany, California-based YAMA (Yoga Artists Talent Agency) Talent agency co-owned by Ava Taylor and Chris Cuevas strives to make yoga teachers a living.  Well+Good NYC writes:  “Like others who teach for a living, yoga instructors should have good health insurance and should be able to send their kids to college.”  Through a combined force of strategy development, touring, media, social marketing, public relations, legal help, sponsorships, and creative styling for teachers such as Sadie Nardini, Duncan Wong, Annie Carpenter, and Schuyler Grant, YAMA aims to do just that.  The problem?  When YAMA plans to utilize the talents of an unpaid intern to do the work.

Posted on Craigslist.org 4/9/2010 (we’ve noted the questionable stuff):

Who we’re looking for:
-Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, Google documents, and the Internet (FB, Twitter, You Tube) required.

-The chosen intern will be innovative, committed and will be part of the creation of a company that is revolutionizing the yoga, health and wellness industry.

-You’ll work a minimum of 15 hours, commit to a 3 month contract starting May 12th, and, of course, join us for complimentary yoga twice a week.

What you’ll be doing:
-Client Relations: Day to day liason and interface with YAMA clients. Maintaining and ensuring current client files (schedules, assessments, development tracks).

-Public Relations:
Approaching traditional print media publications/outlets gaining press coverage for YAMA clients and YAMA. Assist in the creation of media pitches, press releases, story lines, media plans, media lists.

-Social Media:
Researching social media opportunities for YAMA clients and YAMA.
Maintaining YAMA Clients/YAMA online presence on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and various blogs. Creative use of the internet to promote our clients.

-Brand Integration:
Approaching various brand alignment opportunities seeking sponsorships, endorsements and advertisement related opportunities for YAMA clients. Day to day liason with top brands in the wellness and lifestyle industry.

-Booking/Touring services:
Creating individualized travel itineraries, negotiating and booking appearances for YAMA clients. Cultivating relationships with venues (studios, retreat facilities, etc.). Maintaining booking checklist.

-Research:
Compiling a database of opportunities related to yoga, health and wellness around the world. Daily upkeep of all yoga, health and wellness related publications.

Whew!  That is one busy intern.

We at Elephantbeans are all for creative business ideas and promoting a living wage for yoga teachers and yoga-related employees.  We also stand for walking the talk.  Enough of people getting used and abused.  Enough with sleazy studio owners and unjust business practices.  Enough with lousy teacher pay and no job stability.  Enough with staying silent with being unpaid, underpaid, underemployed or overused.  Enough with yoga businesses staying under the radar with issues like this.  At the risk of being unpopular, here it is:  this is NOT okay.

-Elephantbeans

Ashtanga: Stress-Free Yoga in Mysore (Video)

Richard Freeman + Pure Yoga

Richard Freeman’s holding a random workshop (Monday morning?) at Pure Yoga.  From Pure’s website:

Richard Freeman – An Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga
April 19, 2010
9:30am – 12:30pm

A step by step exploration of the basic thread of form, breathing, and movement upon which the classical series of postures is strung. The bio-mechanical principles of alignment and the meditative principle of awakening core breathing will be studied in context of the Ashtanga system to give participants a new degree of freedom, technical skill and compassion.

This event is open to both Pure members and nonmembers alike.

Tuition:
Members: $50
Nonmembers:$60 nonmembers

Click here to register

Richard Freeman Bio:
Richard Freeman has been a student of yoga since 1968. He has spent nearly nine years in Asia studying various traditions which he incorporates into the Ashtanga yoga practice as taught by his principal teacher, K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India. Richard’s background also includes studying Sufism in Iran, Zen and Vipassana Buddhist practice, and an in-depth study of Iyengar yoga, which eventually led him to Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. Richard is an avid student of both Western and Eastern philosophy, as well as Sanskrit. His ability to juxtapose various viewpoints, without losing the depth and integrity of each, has helped him develop a unique, metaphorical teaching style. He is the owner of The Yoga Workshop in Boulder, Colorado and the author of the forthcoming book, “The Mirror of Yoga” (Shambhala Publications).

Deccan Herald: It’s ‘money yoga’ for foreigners in Mysore

Raking in moolah

It’s ‘money yoga’ for foreigners in Mysore

Preethi Nagaraj, Mysore, Apr 15, DHNS:

An American national, Jason Thomas (name changed) comes to Mysore once in two years. A photographer and ‘certified’ yoga instructor, this 39-year-old makes the heritage city home for almost 30-45 days during his visit, as he has been doing since the last eight years.

“I come here to update my yoga skills and back home, I am associated with a yoga school where I teach during the weekends at US $ 20 – 40 per session (two classes) depending upon the kind of yoga our students want to learn,” he reveals.

While he has stuck to teaching simple yoga, his contemporaries who switched over to more popular forms of yoga earn up to US $ 80 – 120 for every session, he says. His yoga school charges him nearly Rs 25,000 as a refresher package.

While in Mysore, Jason stays at a guest house run by his ‘friend’ who is a foreigner, paying about 1,500 per day for a bed and breakfast facility. The place is managed by Alisa, a lady who traces her roots to Greece, and lives in the UK. She is one of the people who manage the place, ‘Nest’ in Vijayanagar, and by an estimate, makes a neat Rs 1.5 lakh per month accommodating her ‘friends’ who book rooms via internet. Locals are strictly not allowed inside this ‘six-room accommodation’ house. Such guest houses are aplenty on Contour Road, VV Mohalla, Lakshmipuram, Kuvempunagar, Vijayanagar, Bogadhi among other areas.

The police, who recently sent out a circular instructing the yoga schools in the city to teach only those who arrive on yoga visa or student visa, claim there is more than what meets the eye. Speaking to Deccan Herald, a top source said, at any given point of time, there are 3,000 to 5,000 foreigners living in Mysore on tourist visa, mostly enrolled with different Yoga schools.

Tracking problem

While they appear before the police when they arrive in the city, it becomes difficult to trace them afterwards. As a result, the police instructed the hotels to provide them with details of their foreign visitors. What then came to fore was the case of a mega ‘business’ being run by some foreigners who visit Mysore on ‘rotation’ basis.

Most Yoga schools are aware of this. Says Sudesh Chandra of Upanishat Yoga Kendra in Kuvempunagar: “The foreigners who come here stay together for security reasons. I am told they run guest houses too.”

The schools which enroll foreigners, certify them which is in turn used to earn more dollars back home. And this, purely, is the prerogative of the school. Yoga schools want the Government to create a central authority to formalise the teaching methods, thus adding a natural check to the system.

originally posted at the Deccan Herald

NY Times: on the 2010 Kumbh Mela

Taking a Sacred Plunge, One Wave of Humanity at a Time

By JIM YARDLEY and HARI KUMAR
Published: April 14, 2010

HARIDWAR, India — Over the bridge they came, Hindu holy men by the tens of thousands, the most devout naked and dusted with sacramental powder, marching toward the bathing pool in the Ganges where the water is considered holiest on this most propitious of days.

Shouting and singing, waving tridents or spears, the naked mystics, or naga sadhus, were granted the first plunge.

Then came the gurus and swamis, wrapped in saffron robes, a few shaded by beaded parasols. One swami was delivered into the water on the shoulders of his disciples. For 20 minutes, they frolicked, as other pilgrims watched from nearby rooftops.

And then time was up. The police tweeted their whistles and began nudging the group out of the sacred water. There were still untold thousands of holy men waiting to take a dip.

Wednesday was the culmination of the Hindu religious festival known as the Kumbh Mela, a staggering outpouring of humanity that also represents a staggering logistical challenge.

Since January, tens of millions of pilgrims have arrived in this city by train, plane, bus or foot for the privilege of bathing in the Ganges on certain auspicious dates. On Wednesday alone, 10 million people were estimated to have entered the water. The crowds are so massive that safety is a serious concern.

Not least is the challenge of managing the rival sects of holy men, the self-described defenders of the Hindu religion for whom the Kumbh Mela is both a sacred ritual and a demonstration of their status.

In years past, they have bickered with each other, or with the government, arguing over issues like which group should be allowed to bathe first or whether their photographs could be taken during the holy dip.

“They are very egoistic,” said Anand Bardhan, the administrator overseeing the Kumbh. “One moment they suddenly become angry and the next moment they will shower lots of affection. You need to understand their nature.”

This year, the police assigned a special officer as a liaison to the various sects who helped negotiate a consensus on the bathing schedule. The first in the water this year were followers of the order known as the Niranjani.

But tragedy struck Wednesday morning. The police say the Juna sect was beginning its procession toward the Ganges when one of their vehicles hit several people in the crowds. People panicked and stampeded. Seven people were killed, though it is unclear if they died from the accident or the stampede.

Leaders of the Juna canceled their procession, instead choosing to bathe at a different spot on the Ganges, and blamed the authorities for failing to adequately clear their route to the river.

Mahant Hari Giri, general secretary of the Juna, said that leaders decided it would be inappropriate to resume their march through the city but that the group had not boycotted the ritual, as some had reported.

“It was not possible to take the whole procession,” he said. “But we have not boycotted the holy bath. We did take a dip in the Ganges.”

The Kumbh Mela derives from Hindu mythology, which holds that gods and demons struggled over a pitcher, or kumbh, containing the drink of immortality. As the gods raced toward heaven, drops of the sacred nectar spilled out onto four locations on the river: Allahabad, Ujjaink, Nashik and Haridwar. Today, the Kumbh Mela is held every three years, rotating among the four cities, meaning that each hosts every 12 years.

Tucked in the foothills of the Himalayas, Haridwar is a challenging place to host tens of millions of people. The Kumbh Mela is conducted in the middle of the city, and many pilgrims insist on taking their dip in the holiest spot, known as Har Ki Pauri, which is roughly the size of three Olympic swimming pools.

Authorities estimated that roughly 100,000 people an hour entered the water at Har Ki Pauri on Tuesday and Wednesday. Many pilgrims believe that a dip in this spot on the appointed day will allow them to break the cycle of reincarnation.

continue reading

Yoga Visas…seriously. “Cops’ shocker to yoga schools”

From the Deccan Herald

Schools in Mysore cannot teach foreigners on travel visas

Cops’ shocker to yoga schools

Ramesh S Kebbehundi, Mysore, Apr 11, DHNS:

The booming yoga tourism in Mysore city may take a beating, thanks to a police circular to yoga schools ordering them not to teach foreigners visiting on travel visas.

The schools have been asked to teach only foreigners who arrive on ‘student visa’ or ‘yoga visa’ and to obtain permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs. Besides, police further cautioned the managements of yoga schools in the city that they would face legal action if they violated the order. They have also been asked to furnish to the nearest police station details of foreigners learning yoga on ‘student’ or ‘yoga’ visa with permission obtained from Ministry of Home Affairs.

The police action is designed to keep track of foreigners visiting the country, in the light of the terrorist threat perception. But the managements of Yoga schools in the city are in a quandary as none of them have obtained permission from Ministry of Home Affairs and have been teaching yoga to foreigners visiting on travel visa. They just make do with a licence from Mysore City Corporation.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, yoga teacher Ramesh Kumar of Pranayushya Yoga Shaala of Krishnamurthypuram said the circular will deny yoga learning to hundreds of foreign yoga students. It would affect not only their business but would also impact adversely the tourism industry in the city as thousands of foreigners come to the city not only for sightseeing, but also to learn yoga.

The circular went against the spirit of the ‘yoga dasara’ – usually held during Dasara festival – to promote yoga which is prohibited to foreigners for reasons unknown. Yoga teaching in Mysore has a long history. It was patronised by Wadiyars with Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar opening a school at the Jaganmohan Palace.

continue reading at the Deccan Herald

Stealing Asanas (things white people like)

The Star of Mysore exposes the hidden truth behind trips to Mysore:  copyright dreams.

Attempt to hijack knowledge about Turmeric, Neem, Yoga asanas

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library to fight piracy

Mysore, Mar.31 (JP) – At the recently held International Bio-diversity Conference organised by JSS Mahavidyapeetha and Organisation for Industrial Spiritual & Cultural Advancement – International (OISCA), Japan, at SJCE College in city recently, Kerala Minister for Environment and Forests, Binoy Visvam, who was one of the special invitees, said biopiracy was on the increase in India and the country should file for patents over many uses of plant and animal species used in traditional medicine.

The Kerala Minister was referring to attempts by western pharmaceutical and nutraceutical firms to patent drugs about which they had come to know from the traditional medicine practioners of India. Turmeric, Ginger, Basmati rice, Adhathoda Vassa, Arogya paccha and Neem have all been in news for the wrong reasons. Patents had been applied in the US and Europe for the ‘discovery’ of their uses.

This ‘Knowledge theft’ has extended to yoga asanas. United States alone has 130 yoga-related patents, 150 copyrights and 2,300 trademarks pertaining to yoga accessories. continue reading at the Star of Mysore.