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Can Yoga Be Owned?

This petition had 8,852 supporters

Yoga To The People was founded for the sole purpose of providing affordable and accessible yoga to as many people as possible. Because we have extended this mission to the hot practice, we now find ourselves in a legal battle with Bikram Choudhury. What is at stake here is more than just our studio. The stance Bikram has taken says that yoga can be owned by individuals and those individuals can exploit this sacred knowledge for their own profit. If you believe that this practice belongs to everybody please take a moment of your time to sign this petition.


Can yoga be owned?  We and many others, including the government of India, consider yoga and its asanas to be Sacred and Traditional Knowledge. The moment anyone wishes to “own” a yoga sequence, we have to pause and look very deeply at the far reaching ramifications this claim has for all yoga and all people, everywhere.

This is not about being against one man; this petition asks you what you are for.  It’s about whether yoga asanas and the sequencing of asanas that are part of Traditional Knowledge will remain in the public domain for everyone to use, for everyone to teach, and for everyone to practice.

What does the world look like if yoga is owned?  Less yoga for less people?  Less awareness, more confined consciousness?  How does this privatization of yoga affect the students who have found a potentially life-saving and life-affirming practice through yoga?  What happens to the communities all yoga studios serve?  Instead of practicing sacred knowledge, yoga becomes property—a business not a community.  Something bought and sold rather than something shared.  A market rather than a union… 

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