Why Are These People Spinning on Their Friends' Feet? A Look at AcroYoga

Categories: Video, Yoga


What's AcroYoga? The hybrid practice combines yoga, acrobatics and Thai massage while working with a partner. After the jump, watch a video profile of Adam Rinder, director of Om Factory and an active member of the AcroYoga community.

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Hold That Pose: Federal Judge Rules That Bikram Yoga Cannot Be Copyrighted

Categories: Yoga

Evolation Yoga's Facebook Page
Quietly, after more than ten years of contentious lawsuits, Bikram Choudhury's copyright on the specific sequence of Bikram yoga has been overruled by the federal court. For the past year Bikram and his lawyers, the media, and the yoga community, have been focused on the legal warfare involving Greg Gumucio and Yoga to the People, a case that settled at the beginning of this month. At any given time the yoga guru has several lawsuits simmering on the back burner, and it was one of these cases which suddenly caught fire. On Friday, December 14, Mark Drost's motion for partial summary judgement was granted and marked the first time a court has definitively stated that the actual practice of Bikram yoga cannot be protected by copyright law.

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The Hot Yoga War's Messy End: Why Yoga to the People Won't Be Teaching Bikram Yoga Anymore

Categories: Yoga

Candace Wheeler
Greg Gumucio sat behind the desk of his 27th street hot yoga studio in Manhattan eating a glazed donut. He wore a tight burgundy v-neck with the words "Yoga to the People" pulled across his chest and wore a large watch with a bright red band. Pop music played over the speaker system.

See More:
- The Hot Yoga War
- New Yorkers Bend and Stretch for Times Square Yoga
- Yoga to the People Takes on Bikram Choudhury on Facebook

Young students milled about, bodies and clothes still moist from the hour-long class that had just concluded. This class had been unusual, at least for Gumucio and the collection of seasoned teachers who had turned up from their posts at other YTTP studios around the city to flank the front row of the class. Nothing in the instruction deviated from the traditional Bikram method, though some poses were conducted only once to accommodate a shorter time-frame, rather it was the moment in the life of the instructor himself. After nearly 17 years of learning and teaching Bikram yoga, this was one of the last Bikram classes Gumcio would ever teach.

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Big Government Doesn't Like Yoga!

Turn up the steam in that hot yoga session because this controversy is getting hot. That was a terrible pun; I apologize. But seriously, there's a bit of a conflict going on between New York State and the yoga studios. 

About three years ago, Albany threatened to force yoga studio instructors to obtain licenses for their work - most of these instructors consider themselves 'personal trainers' or independent contractors so a license is not technically needed. Well, the yoga studios lobbied against the rule, arguing that obtaining these licenses would run the instructors out of business. Mind you, the yoga business rakes in an estimated $6 billion a year. In the end, the yoga studios were granted an exemption from the taxation. And all was at peace.

Fast forward three years. Once again, the State (and, now, the City as well) is at it again. According to the folks in the yoga industry, three separate agencies are involved: they include the New York State Department of Taxation, the New York City Department of Buildings and the New York State Department of Labor. 

And they're in hot pursuit of the workout's treasure chest.

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NY Peace Week: Stop Violence, Do Yoga (Free! Today!)

In today's why-can't-we-all-get-along news, we wanted to give a quick shout-out to NY Peace Week, which runs until Jan. 22nd in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy of non-violence. They have an important message and all, but we wanted to first get to the news that we think would grab your attention best: free yoga!

That's right, folks. Keep up your new year's resolutions and haul your butt over to 227 West 13th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today for free yoga. Urban Yoga for Teen, Youth, & Community Based Organizations is hosting a "Warriors of Light" workshop and practice, which is about "transforming environmental or internal stress, anxiety, anger, desire, pressure, limitation or lack into expressed flexibility, control, strength, awareness, poise, confidence and ease through body mind integration." Fight stress, anxiety, and pressure -- y'know, all the things that make you a true New Yorker!

If you can't make it this afternoon, don't fret. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., you can sweat for peace. That's right, perspire for pacifism. Sweat My Body is hosting a Pilates and Body Bootcamp from 7-8 p.m. and a beginner's House dance class from 8-9 p.m.

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Regulators Say Bikram Choudhury's Yoga to the People Suit Won't Stand

According to regulators at the U.S. Copyright Office, hot yoga guru Bikram Choudhury's lawsuit against free yoga chain Yoga to the People isn't valid because yoga poses count as "exercises" and not "choreography" and thus cannot be trademarked.

In an email contained in a YTTP response to the lawsuit, the chief of the Copyright Office's Performing Arts division said that exercises like yoga "do not constitute the subject matter that Congress intended to protect as choreography. We will not register such exercises (including yoga movements), whether described as exercises or as selection and ordering of movements."

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Yoga to the People Takes on Bikram Choudhury on Facebook

As was reported last week, free yoga studio chain Yoga to the People is being sued by Bikram Choudhury, the inventor of Bikram yoga, for "stealing" poses. Choudhury, who is very litigious, and his lawyer sent in an undercover yogi into the YTTP hot yoga class to confirm Choudhury's suspicion that his poses were being used. Bikram yoga involves a specific 90-minute-long series of 26 poses performed in a 105-degree room. Choudhury has trademarked the phrase "Bikram Yoga" and the poses along with it.

YTTP's owner Gregory Gumucio used to be close with Choudhury and "considered himself Choudhury's right-hand man for five years, before the pair fell out of favor," according to DNA Info. Now Gumucio is discussing the situation with Choudhury on YTTP's Facebook page and not mincing words.

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Yoga For Tots: Hot New Parenting Trend

Are you making your toddler do yoga yet, or are you a bad parent?
"There are moms who think their kids should be doing serious yoga at 4 or 5 years old," Ms. Doubrovkine-Paskar said of clients who have requested one-on-one lessons for toddlers and preschoolers. "They don't have the attention for a 45-minute class."

"They can imitate puppets and run around," she said. "It's developmentally appropriate."


[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]

Battle of the Yogis: Times Square and Central Park Duke It Out for Most Major Yoga Event

Monday and Tuesday, the first official days of summer, inspired two major public (free!) yoga events in the city: The Solstice in Times Square and Yoga at the Great Lawn. One boasted its cred as one of the longest-running yoga-thons ever; the other prided itself on being the largest. But which one was just plain better? Here's our comprehensive rating system on the summer's biggest yoga extravaganzas, with your resident Voice yogi statisticians adhering to a highly scientific, not-very-zen point scale (the higher, the better).

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