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Yoga All Over The World

The term Yoga [1][[i]] is emanate from the Sanskrit root Yuj which stands for to join or to yoke or to unite or to harness[ii]. The repeated exercise of yoga results in bringing harmony and unity between mind and body. In Yoga text, Yoga is defined as the stilling the fluctuations or modifications of the mind (Patanjali, the Yoga Sutra: Sutra 1.2)[iii].

The main grail of Yoga is self actualization i.e. to conquer hardships giving rise to liberation (Moksha) or freedom (Kaivalya). Yoga acts on the individual’s body, mind, emotion and energy. Hence, Yoga can be categorized in:
  • Karma yoga (we utilize the body)
  • Bhakti yoga ( we utilize the emotions)
  • Gyana yoga ( we utilize the mind and intelect)
  • Kriya yoga ( we utilize the energy)[2]

Yoga is a spiritual discipline based on an exceptionally fine science; it is a healthy revolution which is speedily obtaining acceptance and popularity across the world.

Perspective under Indian Scenario:
One of the considerable contributions given by Indian culture to the World is the philosophy of yoga and its skilled practice to enrich the quality of life. The art of Yoga has its origin thousands of years ago; Shiva is the first yogi or Adiyogi and the first Guru or Adi Guru.

Several 1000 years ago, Adiyogi poured his keen knowledge into the renowned Saptarishis who outspread this knowledge to Asia, the Middle East, Northern Africa and South America.
In 2700 B.C. the main source of yoga practices are found in Vedas (4), Upanishads(108), Smritis, teachings of Buddhism, Jainism, Panini, Epics (2), Puranas (18) etc.

It is an well attested tool for being healthy and preventing disease and act as an complementary therapy and also medical institutions are using yoga as an Healthcare technology. Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra (classical yoga text), elucidate that the diseases and restlessness of mind are presumed as a hindrance to the spiritual practice. ( Patanjali, the Yoga Sutra: Sutra 1.30-1.32)[iv]

International Scenario:
The 1st Hindu teacher, Swami Vivekananda in 1890 toured Europe and the United States to widely disseminate aspects of yoga to western countries.[3]

In 1920, Paramahansa Yogananda (Famous yogi from India) decided to teach yoga in America. He recommended Kriya Yoga[4] which was accessible to all. In no time the people of America was able to explore other spiritual practices without any hesitation.

During 1950s, In some other regions of West, Vanda Scravelli (an Italian yogi) make the progress of yoga easier that had nothing to do with religion and she basically focused on the principle based perspective that light a fire under physical agility and strength.

Yoga is strengthening in Africa through the Africa Yoga Project[v]. The ability of internet and resources like You Tube has transported the practice of yoga to all points over the globe.

The 21 June is established as the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly [5][[vi]]. Yoga was listed by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage on December 1, 2016[6].

Summary of leading cases:
  • Institute of Inner Studies vs. Charlotte Anderson[7][[vii]]
    It was held that copyright or trademark over yoga techniques cannot be granted to anyone as they are not original literary works or dramatic works under the copyright Act,1957 and are not having the ability of distinctiveness under the trademarks Act,1999[viii].
  • Open Source Yoga Unity vs. Choudhary[8][[ix]]
    The district court held that whether a specific yoga asanas were arranged in a creative way to get copyright protection is a triable issues of fact. Acc. to Copyright office, Bikram choudhary (originator of Bikram yoga[x]) tried to use set of copyright in a series of yoga poses to keep individuals and business (Open Source Yoga Unity) from using uncopyrightable facts of yoga by underlying his copyright.

    The Choudhary's claim was taken by The copyright office by stating that copyright will not extend to the movements themselves, either individually or in combination, but only to the expressive description, depiction, or illustration of the routine that falls within a § 102(a) category of authorship.[xi]
  • Bikram's Yoga College v. Evolation Yoga[9][[xii]]
    The penal held that copyright protection is not entitled to the sequence of yoga poses and breathing exercises. The sequences explained in Bikrams Beginning Yoga Class,1979 book cannot be protected under copyright as it was not an expression of idea but is an idea or process designed to improve health[xiii].
  • Sedlock v. Baird[10][[xiv]]
    The Court of Appeal concluded that the District's yoga program did not constitute an establishment of religion in violation of article I, section 4 of the California Constitution.
    Hence, yoga is devoid of any religious, mystical, or spiritual trappings.[xv]


Billions of people across the world have benefitted by practice of Yoga which is the most valuable inheritance of present and the culture of tomorrow. It does not only help to improve physical body but also helps in maintaining inner peace and relaxing mind. The practice of Yoga is flourishing and growing more vigorously every day.

  1. A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which , including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation
  3. Shaw, Eric. 35 Moments, Yoga Journal, 2010-09.
  4. Kriya yoga concentrated on breath control and gentle movement in order to find grounding and clarity.
  5. UN Declared 21 June as International Day of Yoga Archived 9 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Yoga joins Unesco world heritage list. The Guardian. 1 December 2016.
  7. CS(OS) 2252/2011
  8. 2005 WL 756558 (N.D. Cal. April 1, 2005)
  9. Case No. 13-55763 (9th Cir., Oct.8, 2015)
  10. (2015) 235 Cal.App.4th 874
  2. Satyananda 2008, p. 1.
  6. UN Declared 21 June as International Day of Yoga Archived 9 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine
Written By: Aahana Khan student of B.A.LL.B IV Year, Banasthali Vidhyapith.
E- mail – [email protected]

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