Paddleboard yoga takes next logical step: onto land

This is one of those yoga marketing items that drive me crazy, but at the same time I know enough to know that … there’s something to it.

For about 15 years, a company called Indo Board has been making balance aids designed very specifically for surfers, first, and then for snowboarders, wakeboarders, etc.

I had one, way back when. (I think my nephew ended up with it.)

Essentially, you have a fairly short — longer and wider than a typical skateboard, but not by a lot — board and a roller; put them together and you have a balance challenge. Or surfing and snowboarding in your living room.

See where this is going, right? (OK, the headline gives it away.)

The Indo Board folks have now come out with a much longer version designed to bring paddleboard yoga to dry land.

Hmmm… here’s what they say about it:

“The Indo Yoga Board simulates unstable yoga on a Stand Up Paddle (SUP) board. The Natural deck features an all wood board with our new Indo Board Yoga logo on a smooth surface. (Includes Indo Board Yoga Deck and 3x IndoFLO Cushions)”

It ain’t cheap: $375. So you have to really love your paddleboard yoga. I don’t. But I did like my Indo Board back in the day.

After lulling you in with that piece, I have a far more serious story to link you to: An Australian Ashtanga teacher — although not one authorized or certified as far as I can tell — is on the wrong end of a lawsuit, filed by a student who says an adjustment injured her severely.

It’s got to be among the biggest nightmares for yoga teachers, right? I don’t know any of the details beyond this piece from The Australian, and so can’t comment beyond saying I pass it on because it’s a rare mainstream news piece that mentions Ashtanga specifically and as a reminder of the at times perilous path yoga instructors walk. Here’s a few bits (WordPress is acting up, so no “blockquote” — apologies. The paper’s account ends after it quotes the website):

“A former yoga student is suing her instructor after sustaining serious injuries while in a posture, known as the supta kurmasana.

“The 42-year-old mother was in the contortionist pose in a class in Cottesloe three years ago when instructor Marc Potter “performed an adjustment”, which allegedly caused significant spinal damage requiring surgery.

“The woman, who asked not to be named, this week launched a civil lawsuit against Mr Potter, of Trigg, claiming damages, costs and interest.

“The District Court writ claims personal injuries and loss suffered by the woman were “caused or materially contributed to by the negligence and/or breach of contract of the defendant and/or trespass to the person by the defendant in the provision of instruction and adjustment while the plaintiff was attempting the yoga pose”.

“Mr Potter, the founder of Claremont business Sun Salute Yoga, declined to comment on advice from his lawyer.

“”All I can say is this is in the hands of insurers,” he said.

“His website says he is well-known throughout Australia by fellow “yogis” and surfers for his genuine and authentic approach to teaching yoga. “Fondly known by his students and friends as Potts, he has helpe thousands of people through the healing journey of Ashtanga Yoga,” it said.”

I think I’ve seen him in videos when I’ve been searching for our Friday asana aids… but other than that, I don’t know anything about Potter.

Posted by Steve

Here is Yoga to the People’s answer to Bikram

I will let you decide if this is an historic moment for yoga.

Greg Gumucio, via the Daily News

Greg Gumucio of Yoga to the People a few minutes ago filed his answer to the lawsuit brought against him by Bikram.

What it seems to come down to is the difference between a copyright and a patent.

“Bikram does not have a patent on his method,” Gumucio writes here. “Bikram may have a valid copyright on his 1978 book and on the rigid Dialogue that his instructors must recite in his classes. But, again, those copyrights are irrelevant because we do not use the book, and our instructors never recite any of the expressive passages in the Dialogue.”

Here’s a link to the actual answer filed in court in California.

Gumucio’s statement addresses two arguments to “Bikram’s claim that, even without a patent, he has the exclusive right to offer yoga classes that include the 26 poses in a heated room.”

The first is Bikram’s claim to a copyright on the series. Here’s where things get good and, maybe, move toward the “historic” nature Gumucio has been promising. At the least, it is serious food for thought concerning yoga and yoga as a business. At the risk of over-quoting him:

Copyright protection is limited to “original works of authorship” — novels, plays, musical compositions, paintings, sculpture, and so forth. The Copyright statute expressly excludes protection for “procedures,” “systems” and “methods of operation.”So, for example, games, sports, and recipes cannot be copyrighted. Yoga in general (and Bikram’s yoga in particular) is plainly a “system” or “procedure,” like a recipe or a sport, not an art form. Bikram himself has long argued that the primary function of his method is to promote health. Recently, he has even lobbied for recognition of yoga as an Olympic sport.

The only conceivable way to avoid this conclusion would be to claim that yoga is a form of choreography — which, like a play, is subject to copyright protection. But this argument quickly collapses. Yoga does not fit any of the standard definitions of choreography, such as “the art of dancing” (Oxford English Dictionary) or “the composition and arrangement of dance movements and patterns usually intended to be accompanied by music.” Bikram should know this, because in 2002 he applied to the Copyright Office for registration of his sequence of poses as a “performing art.” In the letter in which the Office rejected that application, the office told him, “we do not register such claims as choreography.”

Gumucio also quarrels with claims that by graduating from a Bikram course he agreed to any restrictions on his teaching of the poses. He even goes so far as to argue: “Not only does this document [his certificate] not limit my rights to provide instruction in the sequence of poses, it does the reverse — expressly granting me the right to “teach” the “system” without any reservations whatsoever.”

He does acknowledge that Bikram likely has the right to maintain control over the term “Bikram” and the specific class structure as it is taught.

Gumucio’s statement ends by being very complementary of Bikram and says that Bikram does deserve the “material rewards” for his work.

“Bikram is flourishing,” the statement concludes. “His network of franchised studios is growing. I have no interest in undermining his business or thwarting his vision. I only ask that he respect mine.”

A link to Bikram’s lawsuit is here.

Posted by Steve

Something about to break on the Bikram-Yoga to the People lawsuit?

Is something about to break on the Yoga to the People versus Bikram lawsuit? This from an hour ago on the YTTP Facebook page:

Yoga To The People
You will often hear people say, “we have won the battle, but we have not won the war!”
I say to you today, the war has now been won. All that is left is the battle. Let me encourage you to celebrate without knowing exactly why. I am rejoicing inside.
greg – yttp
details to follow soon…

We’ll see. It’s hard to imagine what else he could be referring to, right?

Posted by Steve