FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Yoga Patents?

by RICHARD KARPEL AND STEWART LAWRENCE

Mr. Lawrence:

Your article, “Who Owns Online Yoga?“, which was published recently on CounterPunch.org, may be the most poorly reported story that I have ever been named in. Although the entire article is a mess — it is clueless about both patents and yoga, and included some incredibly offensively sexist passages — I’ll stick here to factual inaccuracies about me and the organization that I represent. Because just about everything you wrote about us was inaccurate.

Please get back to me and let me know when you will be able to make these corrections to the story.

After one on-line yoga company, Yoga International, received a cease-and-desist letter from Yoga Glo, the Alliance’s new executive director Richard Karpel sponsored an online petition drive demanding that YogaGlo withdraw its patent and stop threatening to sue other online providers that may want to compete with YogaGlo by posting their own streaming videos. A nasty little web posting battle ensued, with the Alliance and its allies depicting YogaGlo as a greedy monopoly intent on discouraging competition and conquering the online yoga market for itself.

We never once depicted YogaGlo as a “greedy monopoly”; my title is president, not executive director; and I’ve been with the organization for almost two years, so I don’t think “new” works anymore.

In recent months, the Yoga Alliance, a quasi-trade association that helps “certify” yogis to teach, has enjoined the dispute.

What is a “quasi-trade association”? We are registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) — a public charity — and a 501(c)(6) — a trade association.

We don’t “help certify yogis to teach.” We provide a public registry of yoga schools and yoga teachers.

YogaGlo’s founder and CEO, Derek Mills may actually have a point about the narrow construction of his patent. It only covers a certain film-angle technique, not the filming of yoga classes generally, as the Alliance and others seem so intent on to claiming.

Contrary to this outrageous claim, we have precisely described the nature of YogaGlo’s patent applications, and noted specifically that they do not cover “the filming of yoga classes generally”. Have you even read anything that we’ve written about the case?

And Karpel’s own hands are hardly squeaky clean. It turns out that a prominent company on his own governing board is suing a smaller yoga company over an alleged patent infringement, too. You’d think Karpel might try to clean up his own house before engaging in the kind of self-righteous polemics he’s launched at YogaGlo.

I have no idea what you are talking about here. When you make wild allegations like this, perhaps you might also provide the details so others can verify your claims.

But Karpel’s clearly intent on using this dispute to help shore up the Alliance’s credibility with the 10,000+ yoga teachers the group now claims as members. That’s still only 15% of the estimated 70,000 yoga teachers in the US today.

We have over 45,000 yoga teacher members, which is information that you could find pretty easily by looking at our website. And who “estimated” that there are 70,000 yoga teachers in the U.S.? Stewart Lawrence?

-Richard Karpel

***

Mr. Karpel,

I regret that you didn’t enjoy the article. Frankly, given your organization’s exceedingly poor reputation as a service organization of integrity, I would have thought any mention of your current PR efforts would be welcome, frankly.

You complain of inaccuracies. Your entire letter is disingenuous. Of course, you characterized YogaGlo as a bullying monopoly. It’s right there in print in your communications with YogaGlo.

As for the patent, yes, there are abuses, but to suggest that all yoga-related patents are somehow abominable is precisely what the article exposes to scrutiny. You have many many yoga teachers who support YogaGlo, and would love to fashion their own patents. The idea that 99.9% of the yoga community supports your petition is patently false. It just shows how little you actually understand the full range of sentiment inside the yoga world.

I am aware that our website claims 45,000 members. Websites claim maniy things. The 70,000 yoga teacher figure is in wide circulation in the media. Whether that’;s even accurate is anyone’s guess. Yoga people are known to make their entire world up — and facts are no obstacles.

You quote the Washington Post as this were an editorial. This is a yoga enthusiast stating his opinion?

My suggestion: Start reading beyond the self-indulgent yoga press — and your own self-serving press releases. There’s a wide world of journalism out there that is not interested in being instrumentalized and manipulated by people like you.

As for “certifying” yoga teachers, you are playing a word game here by claiming you only “register” teachers. The fact is you put the patina of a seal of approval on whatever curricular nonsense has been handed to you by some studio on a piece of paper. And that studio is already a member, so it’s not like you have much interest in determining what they taught or how well. Many of these teachers post on their web sites Certified RYT by Yoga Alliance. You are well aware of this.

The most egregious example I know of personally is the “certification” you issued to a handful of teachers from the notorious Romanian yoga porn cult MISA. I wrote about the group a while back for the Huffington Post. Their faithful leader is being sought by Interpol and their teachers in places like Arizona and Iowa have been ridiculed as fraud by the students I have interviewed. I doubt you would even know that — or apparently much less care.

You have since removed all but one of these teachers from your registry — perhaps because of the article I wrote. There’s a reason we have “”wild” journalists like me.

The basic point of my “ludicrous” article — which you seem to have missed — is that the yoga industry is driving to exploit the online medium without actually reflecting much on what this might mean. The real issue isn’t so much who gets to profit and how — but whether this drive is actually good for yoga consumers or for yoga as a sacred mind-body practice that places such a high premium on presence and authenticity, and which also claims to honor its ancestral roots, and those who, by virtue of their ancestry lay hold to them and clutch them dearly.

I may be wrong that this is an important issue — but it’s certainly a very fair one to raise about a practice — and an industry — that makes such extravagant claims for itself. The fact that you can’t see that is why people like me will keep writing about you.

Please do post this letter on your web site. It should drive a lot more traffic to my own site.

Yours sincerely,

Stewart Lawrence

More articles by:

Stewart J. Lawrence can be reached at stewartlawrence81147@gmail.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail