A little more on the Bikram-YTTP lawsuit, from the horse’s mouth

That horse’s mouth reference will make sense in a second.

As we noted earlier, Bikram has filed another of his lawsuits charging someone with copying his copyrighted series of poses. It seems that, typically, these suits get settled.

This time, it is seeming like Bikram maybe picked on the wrong guy. And that’s strange, since the two know each other well.

The defendant this time is Yoga to the People and Gregory Gumucio, its owner. Gumucio was a long-time close associate of Bikram. He’s vowed to fight the lawsuit. Supposedly he will drop a response to the lawsuit this week, but before that happens he has taken to the next best thing: Facebook.

A few days ago, the YTTP’s Facebook page posted this:

Question: “if u honestly and truly feel this way then why do u hang a photo of bikram in your schools?”
Answer: “you know, i appreciate this question. it is a fair and good question not an accusation.

first, there aren’t photos in every school. there is a photo in the one school you must be referring to on 27th street.

i hung that when we first opened. i trained and i am a certified bikram teacher. i ran his training for 4 plus years. bikram rarely would be found in a “regular” class he often preferred the advance series class. however, bikram and i were very close and he loved taking my class. we were dear friends actually. i would stay at his home, he would come and stay at my home. the photo is one of endearment for me. he was my worst student, drinking water, telling jokes, we had fun.

i have no problem with bikram the person. i still have a tremendous amount of affection for him. however, as the site states, i don’t believe anyone should own a sequence of yoga. not even bikram. most almost all people have no idea who bikram is, or what he looks like. you obviously do. that photo is heartfelt. it isn’t meant as some subversive statement. if it in someway offended you. it wasn’t intended to do so.

for the record. i hate this lawsuit. i don’t relish or take an ounce of pleasure in it. i reached out to bikram personally to speak with him before letting matters get carried away. his lawyers advised him against it.

i haven’t thought of that photo for awhile. it saddens me to think of it in this moment.

be peace, be love,

And then just within the past day, this got added:
During the years I spent with Bikram, he had a series of sayings and Indian idioms. They were often thought provoking and over time the moral, truth or meaning behind the idiom or saying would come to light. A few weeks ago, I mentioned to a group of students that there was one story I never really understood. For 14 years I never understood it, until the lawsuit… and now it’s meaning is “crystal clear”.

Bikram would say, “In your country you have a saying: ‘You can lead the horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.’ No…NO!…you got it all wrong! I say I lead the horse to water, if he does not drink, I cut his f**king head off!” And then he would laugh and laugh, and say, “That is MY way!”


It is pretty clear the latest post speaks of the direction the lawsuit is headed — and it isn’t toward a peaceful resolution.

YTTP has an online petition, too: Can yoga be owned? Check the link here.

As a reminder, I’m keeping tabs of this because I think if it does go to trial, it could have legal ramifications for yoga here in America: around issues clearly of “who owns yoga?” and Bikram specifically, but also issues of various authorizations and teacher training credentials and other ideas of “legitimacy.”

Yoga may be facing some growing pains.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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