December 12, 2011

Copyrighting Yoga

I have always thought that Yoga should be available to everyone, and that the privatizing of a particular style or technique was like privatizing the air we breathe. It just doesn't make sense. Seems that the U.S. Justice system agrees. Yoga on everyone!

Yoga Pose Copyright Bid Too Much of a Stretch, U.S. Says in Bikram Battle

By Ellen Rosen - Dec 10, 2011 12:39 AM CT Sat Dec 10 06:39:37 GMT 2011

Yoga poses such as head-to-knee stretches and the sequences of the moves are “exercises” rather than “choreography” and can’t be copyrighted in the U.S., regulators said.

The U.S. Copyright Office previously permitted yoga poses and their sequences to be registered, even if those exercises were in the public domain, Laura Lee Fischer, acting chief of the office’s Performing Arts Division, said in response to an inquiry by an attorney involved in lawsuits the founder of Bikram Yoga filed against three yoga studios.

The office reviewed the legislative history of the copyright law and decided that exercises, including yoga, “do not constitute the subject matter that Congress intended to protect as choreography,” Fischer said in an e-mail. “We will not register such exercises (including yoga movements), whether described as exercises or as selection and ordering of movements.”

The e-mail is contained in a response filed yesterday to Bikram’s Yoga College of India’s complaint against New York- based Yoga to the People. Washington lawyer Elliott Alderman, assisting defense attorney Jordan Susman and Harvard Law School professor William Fisher, sought the determination from the Copyright Office.

Evolation Yoga, with studios in cities including Buffalo and Brooklyn, New York, and Yen Yoga, in Traverse City, Michigan, also were sued. All three lawsuits were filed in federal court in Los Angeles.

Validity Presumption

Robert Gilchrest, a lawyer at Silverman Sclar Shin & Byrne PLLC in Los Angeles who represents Bikram Yoga and its founder, Bikram Choudhury, said the e-mail shouldn’t affect his case because Choudhury already had registered a copyright for a book containing his yoga sequence.

“There is a presumption that when a copyright is issued, it is valid,” Gilchrest said. He said the Copyright Office has issued “hundreds of copyrights for exercise videos, but now they’re saying they’re looking at it again and they’ve changed their mind? It is meaningless to this litigation.”

The Copyright Office decision won’t put an end to the litigation because the suits also claim trademark infringement and violation of the teacher-certification agreements.

Breathing Exercises

Choudhury and his affiliated Bikram Yoga studios teach a strictly regimented type of yoga that lasts for 90 minutes and includes 26 poses, two breathing exercises and a scripted dialogue in a room that is heated to 105 degrees. Yoga to the People founder Greg Gumucio was a former student of Choudhury, as were some of the instructors at Evolation and Yen Yoga.

Choudhury said in his complaint that each studio violated his copyrights and trademarks as well as limitations on how and where his students can teach his method.

Susman and Fisher, who represent Yoga to the People and Gumucio, said yoga sequences and poses can’t be copyrighted. The defendants said the hot yoga they offer differs from Bikram yoga. Each studio offers other types of yoga as well.

Gumucio created a website,, and has almost 8,000 signatures of people who agree yoga shouldn’t “be privatized.”

The case is Bikram’s Yoga College of India L.P. v. Yoga to the People, Inc., 11-cv-07998, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles). The other cases filed are Bikram’s Yoga College of India L.P. v. Raiz, 11-cv-7377, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles) and Bikram’s Yoga College of India L.P. v. Evolation Yoga LLC., 11- cv-05506, U.S. District Court, Central District of California

November 14, 2011

Holiday Class Schedule and Specials

It's that time of year again. Snowy weather, family and friends gathering, lots of extra activities, lots of potential for stress. But with a solid yoga practice foundation to help you through it all, it can be a lovely time for reflection and joy. Here's the list of classes at the Tai Chi Center from Thanksgiving through New Years. Hope to see you often. Wishing you a season of peace.

Weds. Nov. 23rd...Pre-Thanksgiving "Raise your Metabolism Yoga", 6:00pm
Monday Nov. 28th...Aerial Yoga (final class of session), 7:40pm
Tuesday Nov. 29th...Beginning Yoga, 6:00pm
Wednesday Nov.30...Intermediate Yoga, 6:00pm
Monday Dec. 5th...Candlelight Yin Yoga, 7:45pm
Tuesday Dec. 6th...Beginning Yoga, 6:00pm
Wednesday Dec. 7th...Intermediate Yoga, 6:00pm
Monday Dec. 12th...Candlelight Yin Yoga with Guided Meditation, 7:45pm
Tuesday Dec. 13th...Beginning Yoga, 6:00pm
Wednesday Dec. 14th ...Intermediate Yoga, 6:00pm
Monday Dec. 19th...Candlelight Yin Yoga with Gong Bath, 7:45pm
Tuesday Dec. 20th...Beginning Yoga, 6:00pm
Wednesday December 21st...Intermediate Yoga, 6:00pm
Monday December 26th....NO CLASS
Tuesday December 27th...Beginning Yoga, 6:00pm (bring a friend for $8!)
Weds. December 28th...Intermediate Yoga, 6:00pm (bring a friend for $8!)
Monday January 2nd...NO CLASS

September 28, 2011

October 1st is World Vegetarian Day

I encourage everyone to be veggie for one day and then perhaps challenge yourself to be more veggie aware for the entire month. As yogis, many of us practice vegetarianism because of the first Yama (Ethical Codes) which is Ahimsa. Ahimsa dictates non-violence in every form, (thoughts, words, actions) towards all sentient beings. But there is much controversy on the "need" for meat. Here is an article from Yoga Journal that discusses this very thought.

The Great Meat Debate

The debate over whether or not vegetarianism is an intrinsic part of the yogic lifestyle is not new. For centuries in India the movement towards peaceful coexistence with animals, influenced by the belief in reincarnation, conflicted with the tradition of animal sacrifice set forth in the Vedas. This debate perhaps even contributed to the branching out of Vedic thought into the peaceful philosophies of Buddhism and Jainism. In current times the complicated questions remain. This Friday, October 1, is World Vegetarian Day and the beginning of Vegetarian Awareness Month. Make a commitment this month to learn more about the health benefits, animal welfare issues, and resource conservation of a vegetarian diet, so that you too can contribute to the ancient debate!

Examine the health benefits of a plant-based diet and ensure that you are getting the necessary nutrients if you are a vegetarian. Do some research and find out why a vegetarian diet is a yogic one. Find out what experts have to say. Finally, omnivores and vegetarians alike can make a difference in the way their food gets to the table. Be a conscientious eater whatever your personal decision is. We can all benefit from being smart, mindful, compassionate consumers.

June 01, 2011

Aerial Yoga Classes Begin

Aerial Yoga is completely different from any yoga you have ever tried. It does not replace a regular yoga practice, but rather compliments it. Inversions become gravity free, allowing the neck, shoulders, arms to relax while giving the full benefit of inverting.

The upper body muscles develop strength with Aerial Yoga, which is an area most of us are challenged by. And stretching takes on a new feeling when suspended.

The element of fun is evident from the first time you get in the sling and swing....just try to resist the temptation to sat "weeeeee". And the Savasana is like nothing you can even imagine....some have described it as pure bliss.

I would love for everyone to try it, because I think you will love it! Especially if you enjoy being upside-down!

The class will be offered in 6 week sessions for 5 students at a time. This will give you a full immersion feeling with a great amount of personal attention from me! Here's the schedule for the sessions. Classes meet at 7:40pm Monday nights at the Tai Chi Center of Chicago, 4043 N Ravenswood, Suite 228. The cost is $150 for a six week session. Secure your spot now with a check!
All sessions for Aerial Yoga in 2011 are full. The 2012 session is as follows:

Aerial Yoga 6-week sessions 2012

Session I- January 9th-February 13th (FULL)

Session II-February 27th-April 2nd (FULL)

Session III-April 9th-May 14th (FULL)

Session IV-May 21st-July 2nd (No class May 28/Memorial Day)

Session V-July 9th-August 13th

Session VI-August 20-October 1st (No class September 3/Labor Day)

Session VII-October 8th-November 12th

Session VIII-November 19-December 17th (5-week session/$125)

Come fly with me to a place of peace.....

April 21, 2011

Happy Earth Day 2011

Earth Day is Friday April 22!

How will you show your support to save the Earth?

Think simple. 

If each of us does one small thing to help the environment this Earth Day, the world will be a much better place. Here are a few small ways that you can help make the world a better place to live in—and sustain it for future generations:

Give up bottled water. This is likely no news flash for you, but let's review: According to the Sierra Club, 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to make plastic water bottles every year in the United States. Bottled water has a huge carbon footprint--it's bottled at one location in small plastic bottles that were made at another location and shipped long distances. Many plastic water bottles are recycled, but most are not, making the footprint even bigger. Get yourself a reusable water bottle. Also, a lot of restaurants have made the switch from offering fancy bottled water, usually imported from an exotic source, to using in-house filtration systems that make tap water a good choice. Ask about it next time you dine out.

Practice your yoga in organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo clothing. The production of non-organic cotton is responsible for 25 percent of the United States' insecticide usage. Think of this for all your clothing, bedding, towels etc. And as long as you are shopping, think of buying something that doesn’t take new production…try consignment stores, thrift stores etc.

Exchange your PVC mat for an eco-mat. And make sure you re- use your old mat. Cut it up for shelf lining (especially good for shoes), extra padding on a hard chair, pads under the feet of furniture to save the floor. Glue pieces to the back of wall art to keep marks off your wall. Cut small it makes great re-usable packaging for fragile items. Cut pretty shapes out of it and use it for a bath mat. Be creative…. the possibilities are endless. Check out Bean Products for some great eco-friendly, locally made stuff.

Be Green and Clean. Opt for an eco-friendly cleaning solution made of lemon juice, vinegar, and essential oils—instead of cleaners with harsh chemicals. This can make a difference in the environment and in your health. Use washable plates and glasses for events rather than disposable ones; and use hand towels, which can be washed and reused, rather than paper towels or napkins.

Pay Attention to Packaging. When out shopping, try to go to stores or co-ops that keep packaging to a minimum. For example, buy loose tomatoes rather than boxed or plastic-wrapped tomatoes. Also, avoid items, like cereals and crackers, that include a non-recyclable bag inside of a box, and you'll also avoid more heavily processed food. Take reusable bags to the grocery store, including reusable produce bags, which can save a countless amount of plastic!

Sign up for Green Power Here is probably the quickest and most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon emissions: Enroll in a green power program with your utility company. While the exact electricity mix varies from state to state, based on the average mix in the United States, by choosing green power from your utility you can reduce you carbon emission by some 7 tons per year. And at the same time send a message to your utility that it better start investing in some more wind farms, because more and more people are committed to greening the national power supply. Yes, a few minutes and one phone call can reduce your personal carbon emissions seven times as much as recycling.

Skip the flight.Simply skipping one mid-range flight (say from New York City to St. Louis, Missouri) reduces your emissions as much as one full year of recycling, by about 1970 pounds per flight on that route. If you travel frequently for work, investigate other options such as Amtrak or even video conferencing, and if you have family that live halfway across the country, try to combine smaller trips into one longer one or simply go less frequently.

Unplug it!
 Unplug appliances that you don't use frequently. Most electronics have a standby mode that siphons energy even when not in use. Cell phone chargers, laptops, televisions, stereos--there's a whole list of items that should be unplugged when not in use. Try using a power strip for groups of electronic items. One flick of the switch and it's all off.

Buy organic and local.
 Local food cuts down on miles and miles of traveling to get to your plate. And it's fresher than what's transported across the globe to your mega mart. Supermarket produce is often picked a week before it's ripe, and has to do its final ripening in transport. This also goes for that cup of joe--coffee beans have to travel long distances and go through a complicated production process before they even make it to your local coffee shop. Also, try eating at restaurants that serve locally produced or seasonal foods.

Go Vegetarian (or Vegan) Cutting meat out of your diet has a large impact on your lifestyle carbon emissions. And can lower your food bill by 20 percent to boot! The emissions and resources needed to raise animals for food are so much higher than for raising vegetables that by eating a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet you can save about one ton of carbon emissions each year compared to your carnivorous friends. Cut out eggs and cheese and save two tons per year. And by doing this you’ll also be practicing Ahimsa (non-violence), a basic tenet of Yoga…

Keep your car. What? How can keeping your car reduce carbon? Well, first try more eco-friendly modes of transport when possible, like buses, trains, a bicycle, telecommuting, or walking. But, with gas prices seemingly always on the rise, it's tempting to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle. However, if your older-model car is in good condition, you're better off keeping it in good running condition. Even hybrids create a big footprint when they're built, so consider driving that old clunker for a little while longer.

Use cold water.
 No, not in the shower... but maybe in the washer. Try using cold water to launder things that don't need to be cleaned in hot or warm water. It takes a lot of energy to heat up water -- multiply that by the number of loads, and that's a big footprint. Most major detergent makers sell detergents designed to have the same cleaning power as with regular soap. Try washing mixed loads in cold water, too.

Plant a tree in the rainforest. And finally this, from the National Recourses Defense Council. I’m inviting you to join thousands of others in planting a tree in a rainforest. It’s inexpensive ($10). It’s fast (a couple of mouse clicks). And it makes a big difference to our planet. (Each new tree can absorb up to a ton of carbon pollution in its lifetime.) 

Thanks to NRDC’s GreenGifts program, you can even plant the tree in someone’s name -- and we’ll send them an e-card letting them know about your Earth Day action. (You can write your own message on the card.) With GreenGifts, there are no more excuses for letting Earth Day pass without doing something small but important for Mother Earth. 

Plant a tree today - and breathe easier on Earth Day. NRDC - Frances Beinecke

So whatever you do know that you are doing good. Share your knowledge, your energy and your spirit to help save this beautiful earth. There has never been a more important time than the present moment.

Peace, and Happy Earth Day!!




February 09, 2011

Aerial Yoga comes to the Tai Chi Center

Ever wonder what it feels like to defy gravity? To float just above the ground as you expand into your yoga pose? Well now you can find out! The studio has been rigged, and the sling has been purchased so that you can experience Aerial Yoga! With over 20 years of yoga experience and 5 years of aerial experience I'm excited to blend these two very different but equally awesome mediums. I'll be offering lessons on a private and small group basis first, and if there's enough interest, I'll purchase more slings and offer it as a class.
To get you started I'm offering special introductory rates through May of 2011.
  • One Private Lesson: $65
  • Two Private Lessons: $110
  • Three Private Lessons: $155 (your best bargain and recommended amount to get a true feel for the sling)
Small Group Private Rate:
  • Two students: $40 per person per session
  • Three students: $30 per person per session
Call or email me to set up your personal aerial yoga sessions! Branch out and try something new in a safe, comfortable, personalized session.
773-720-YOGA or

February 08, 2011

Live In Joy

Live in Joy, in Love, even among those who hate. Live in Joy, in Health, even among the afflicted. Live in Joy, in Peace, even among the troubled. Look within. Be still. Live free from fear and attachment and know the sweet joy of the way. Buddha

January 12, 2011

Monthly Closing

Many people have asked for the closing statements that I use in class to be posted so they can copy them. Here is this months...

With every breath I take today...I vow to be awake. And with every step I take today...I vow to take with an open heart. So that I may see with eyes of love into the hearts of all I meet. To ease their burden when I can....and to touch them with a smile of peace.

Author Unknown.