Yoga is an ancient Hindu philosophical, spiritual and physical practice which combines body movements and fixed postures with meditation, spiritual, and holistic exercises was developed nearly 5000 years ago in India. The Indian government has decided to shortlist around 1500 asanas creating a digital video database of the poses in an effort to thwart copyright attempts in a global multi-billion dollar industry.
Classifying the yoga positions, known as asanas, as part of the “traditional knowledge” of the country, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of India’s Ministry of Science and Technology, has begun the tedious work of videotaping Indian yoga expertise. So far, it has uploaded recordings of 250 asanas into a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) database.
It is estimated that up to 300 million people practice yoga across the globe, with the US being the world’s largest yoga industry worth over $27 billion. Yet more than half of global yoga enthusiasts are Indians, in a country that until now lacked any organizational approach to the $80bn global industry. Lacking brand names, yoga training in India is mainly run through small independent businesses.
Since 2009, the digital library has helped to thwart at least 200 attempts to steal Indian know-hows, mainly in medicine, including two just last month.