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US Denies Granting Patents on Yoga Postures

Amid a raging row in India over reported attempts to patent the ancient Indian practice of yoga overseas, the US denied granting patents on yoga positions.

In the same breath, the US embassy said here that it has granted patents on "new and non-obvious devices that may be used in conjunction with yoga". However, those patents would not include any yoga positions, the embassy said in a statement Thursday.

The US government has conducted a search of all patents issued and no patents on yoga positions have been identified, it said.

"Recent media reports alleging that such patents exist are inaccurate," the embassy added.

Over the years, the centuries-old Indian practice of yoga - which literally means the union of body and mind - has become hugely popular in the West and is even patronized by many Hollywood celebrities.

Some even say yoga has become a multi-million dollar industry with all kinds of gurus or instructors, both Indian and western, offering their own version of this practice to lure stressed-out urbanites seeking holistic cure to their diverse maladies.

The US statement comes in the wake of reports last week saying that Indian health ministry officials were scrutinizing yoga-related patents and trademarks granted by the US.

Indian yoga gurus have contended that yoga is intrinsic to Indian spiritual tradition where it is often used as an aid to meditation and has been practiced in this country for thousands of years and any attempt to commercialize it is unethical.

"Yoga can't be owned and run like a company. Since there are attempts to patent this tradition (of yoga) in America, the Indian government and yoga organizations should take measures to prevent it," Swami Ramdev, a leading Indian yoga expert, said recently.


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