New York: Bikram Choudhury, the Calcutta-born yoga teacher in the US, has sued a former student for over a million dollars for copying his style of exercise that involves workouts in a 105 degree Fahrenheit room.
Choudhury, the founder of c, has copyrighted this technique.
In the lawsuit filed in a California court for copyright infringement, the 65-year-old has sought damages in excess of a million dollars and urged a federal judge to block Yoga to the People, a chain of studios founded by Greg Gumucio, his old student.
The Calcutta-born yoga teacher in the US has sued a former student for copying his style of yoga exercise.
Choudhury has alleged that Gumucio’s yoga studios offer the “traditional hot yoga” class that is identical to his Bikram Yoga, which is a 26-posture sequence done in a room heated up to 105 degree Fahrenheit or 41 degree Celsius.
“The hot yoga class is taught in the same ambient environment as Bikram Yoga in order to give students the impression that the class offers the same experience and benefits a student would have at a Bikram Yoga studio,” the 25-page plea said.
Gumucio had entered into an agreement with him that prohibited the use of the Bikram Yoga brand name and trademark in any form, Choudhury said.
While a Bikram Yoga class costs $ 25, Gumucio’s chain of studios charges $ 8 for the session.
Choudhury’s lawyer Robert Gilchrest said he had an investigator take Gumucio’s classes that were “virtually mirror images and the dialogue was consistently the same” as Choudhury’s yoga classes.
Gumucio opened Yoga to the People in New York in 2006. The chain currently has five studios in the city as well as in California and Seattle. Choudhury said he had to close one of his studios in Manhattan because “the presence of our competitors,” namely Yoga to the People, “made it impossible for us to continue”.
In his defence, Gumucio said he never agreed to abide by Choudhury’s rules and that was why he parted ways with him. “I have never agreed with Bikram and his idea that he owned the yoga or that he should sue anyone.” He said his sequence of poses is not exactly the same as Choudhury’s.
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