federal court rules bikram choudhury does not hold copyright for series of yoga postures


Ruling in favor of Evolation Yoga confirms Bikram cannot prevent other studios from offering “hot yoga” classes utilizing same 26-posture sequence used in Bikram classes.

Los Angeles, December 17, 2012 – U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright ruled on Friday that Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram’s Yoga College of India, does not have copyright protection for the sequence of 26 yoga postures and two breathing exercises developed by Choudhury and commonly known as “Bikram Yoga.” The ruling, in favor of Evolation Yoga LLC and its founders Mark Drost and Zefea Samson, means that non-Bikram studios can offer “hot yoga” classes utilizing that same 26-posture sequence, a legal right that Choudhury has been actively and vigorously contesting for several years.

Each of the 26 postures is thousands of years old. Choudhury first arranged those specific postures into a sequence in the 1970s and popularized the sequence as “Bikram Yoga,” and he has claimed for decades that he and his affiliated studio owners have the exclusive right to offer yoga classes utilizing the sequence. In 2011, Choudhury filed three federal lawsuits in Los Angeles—including one against Evolation Yoga and its founders—alleging copyright infringement against non-affiliated yoga studios offering classes in which the same or a similar sequence of postures was taught. The owners of the yoga studios involved in the other two cases settled with Choudhury in November 2012. Evolation Yoga and its owners were determined to get a court ruling that resolved Choudhury’s copyright claim once and for all.

Mark Drost, one of Evolation Yoga’s founders, expressed relief for the whole yoga community. “The court’s ruling confirms what we’ve always believed,” according to Drost. “No one person or organization owns yoga or any type of yoga. It belongs to all of us.”

In its ruling granting the Evolation parties’ motion for summary judgment on the copyright issue, the court rejected Choudhury’s claim that Choudhury was previously issued a registration for the sequence, separate and apart from a book Choudhury authored, and the court rejected Choudhury’s claim that the yoga sequence qualified for protection as a work of choreography or pantomime. The court adopted the arguments advanced by the Evolation parties’ attorney Eric Maier of Maier Shoch LLP, granting the motion on the ground that a compilation of yoga poses does not fall within any of the protected categories of works of authorship under the Copyright Act, and on the ground that the sequence developed by Choudhury would be excluded from copyright protection in any event because it is a system or procedure.

Evolation Yoga LLC offers a variety of yoga classes for students and prospective teachers at its facilities in Buffalo, New York; North Tonawanda, New York; Tampa, Florida; and Santa Barbara, California. Evolation also has studio affiliates and conducts teacher trainings in other parts of the US and throughout the world.

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Two NY Yoga Studios Host Sandy Relief Fundraisers on Thanksgiving

North Tonawanda, NY and Buffalo, NY (November 22, 2012) – Two New York evolation hot yoga studios, located in North Tonawanda and Buffalo, invite patrons and new students alike to attend a special thanksgiving class to stretch their bodies, empower their minds, and help support the individuals and families touched by hurricane Sandy. Evolation yoga North Tonawanda, is offering a seventy five minute flow yoga class at nine o’clock in the morning and evolation yoga Buffalo is offering a ninety minute hot yoga class at nine thirty in the morning. Both classes are donation based. (Normally classes cost $15 for regular walk-ins). All proceeds from the morning yoga classes go directly to the Red Cross hurricane sandy relief efforts.

“We hope our regulars will bring friends and family members to join us in practicing some gratitude this thanksgiving,” says Evolation Yoga co-founder, Zefea Samson. The studios expect a good turn out considering all other classes are cancelled on November 22. “Knowing their money goes directly to relief efforts may encourage people in upstate New York to start thanksgiving day with a community yoga class. Maybe some folks will try their first evolation yoga class to help a good cause,” says North Tonawanda manager, David Drost.

To attend a fundraiser yoga class visit one of the New York evolation yoga studios at:
o Evolation Yoga North Tonowanda 184 Sweeney Street North Tonawanda, New York 14120 (716) 260-1660, evolationyoga.com/north-tonawanda
o Evolation Yoga Buffalo 912 Elmwood Avenue Buffalo, New York 14222 (716) 882-4151, evolationyoga.com/buffalo

Evolation yoga offers a variety of yoga classes from heated to flow and gentle classes, meditation sessions, kids’ classes, workshops, vacation retreats, and teacher trainings, we have offerings for every stage of the yoga journey journey.
Evolation yoga is a rapidly expanding collective of yoga teachers, studios, and training centers based in North Tonawanda, New York with studios in the NE US, SE US, CA US, Costa Rica, Colombia, Europe and Australia. Our aim is to provide tools for more conscious living – for ourselves, for our community, and ultimately for all.

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Evolation Yoga Comes to Europe With January Teacher Training in Madrid

Madrid, Spain – December 19, 2011

Evolation brings its Primary Teacher Training program to Europe with the first of three two-week sessions to be held in Madrid, Spain throughout winter/spring 2012.  The first session runs January 9 – 22 at evolation’s partner yoga studio Hot Yoga Infrared Madrid.

Evolation Primary Teacher Training is a comprehensive 250-hour yoga teacher training and certification program that prepares participants to teach the core evolation offerings based on the teachings of Parahamansa Yogananda and Bikram Choudhury.  Through work in small, intimate training groups, participants get personal, hands-on training in the essentials of yoga philosophy, the benefits of postures and alignment, anatomy and physiology, class scripts, meditation, and much more.  Upon certification, graduates have continuing support and guidance throughout their teaching careers, including mentoring, assistance finding teaching positions, and access to the evolation Collective – a worldwide network of teachers and studios where graduates can seek professional opportunities, share experiences and ideas, and offer assistance to others.

The Madrid training sessions will take place over six weeks, and trainees may choose any four of those weeks in which to complete the curriculum.  “With our flexible training options, our goal is to make it possible for people to get on to the teaching path in a way that fits into their lives,” says evolation founder Mark Drost.  “The most important thing is simply making the decision to start.”

Evolation is based in New York with yoga studios and training centers throughout the United States, in Costa Rica, and in Australia.  To learn more about the Madrid  training (as well as upcoming trainings), please call Mark at 561-827-8279, email teach@evolationyoga.com or visit http://evolationyoga.com/teacher-training-start-your-journey/.  Evolation also offers programs for existing teachers and studio owners who wish to elevate their practice and transform their teaching.  Visit collective.evolationyoga.com for more information.

Evolation Primary Teacher Training — Madrid, Spain, 2012

January 9 – 22

March 19 – 31

May 21 – June 3

Yoga Teacher Training – For The Rest of Us

evolation yoga develops flexible teacher training programs

Evolation Yoga announces two new training options for students seeking yoga teacher certification – Modules and Extended. These options, based on evolation’s primary teacher training curriculum, offer an alternative to traditional training regimens where students are required to remove themselves from their daily lives for 30 or more days to attend training. Students now have the option to successfully complete teacher training in four – one week modules or via flexible weekend and week night sessions spanning a 6 month period.

“As evolation continues on our collective journey we look to serve as many aspiring yoga teachers as possible.” say’s Mark Drost, Founder of evolation yoga. “With our module and extended teacher training approach we are able to reach a group of aspiring yogis whose life circumstances make attending a traditional training program impossible. We developed these programs to provide another access point to the rapidly growing community of prospective yoga teachers.”

One of the first implementations of this flexible training approach occurs at evolation affiliate Sacred Brooklyn for students in the New York City metropolitan area starting in late July 2011. The schedule for this training is comprised of six – intensive three day weekend modules, a solid distance learning curriculum and concludes with a mentorship at Sacred Brooklyn.

“Evolation hosts a solid program with flexible schedules and ongoing support that will truly prepare you to lead.”states Dara Cole, Owner of Sacred Brooklyn

Evolation yoga is a rapidly-expanding collective of yoga teachers and studios with headquarters in North Tonawanda, New York. Evolation currently has studios and affiliates in the Western US, NE US, SE US, Australia and Costa Rica. For more information on evolation yoga, click here.

Lucky pair get to make their life, their living

$3400 Full Tuition Scholarships Awarded

05.13.2011 – evolation is pleased to announce Cassie Amstuz of Greenville, SC and Nick Mattos of Portland, OR as the winners in the evolation yoga Teacher Training Scholarship Contest. Each have won a full tuition scholarship , valued at $3,400, to attend evolation’s Primary Yoga Teacher Training in N. Tonawanda, NY beginning June 1, 2011. Upon completion of training Cassie and Nick will be a an evolation Certified Yoga Instructors.

Contestants were asked to submit an entry that included a short narrative answering three questions:

1. Why do you wish to attend yoga teacher training?
2. Why evolation trainng in particular?
3. How will you use your yoga instructor certification?

From April 17, 2011 through May 8, 2011 evolation received hundreds of entries from across the US and Canada. Cassie and Nick offered the best two entries, each of which will be published in the coming month on evolation’s blog.

“The value of an evolation scholarship cannot be measured solely in dollars.” says Zefea Samson, evolation yoga co-founder. “While certified yoga teachers are in high demand, Cassie and Nick have the opportunity to touch lives in a profound manner. Yoga is transformative for those who teach as well as those who are taught.”

Evolation yoga is a rapidly-expanding collective of yoga teachers and studios based in North Tonawanda, New York. Evolation currently has studios in the NE US, SE US, Costa Rica and Australia. For more information on evolation yoga, click here.

Evolation – International Headquarters Opens In Western New York

yoga and wellness center breathes new life into North Tonawanda, NY development

04.26.2011– Evolation Yoga will breathe new life into North Tonawanda this spring as the first commercial tenant to open at Remington Lofts, Kissling Interest’s one-of-a-kind waterfront community on the historic Erie Canal.

Evolation Yoga, the area’s largest yoga and wellness center, is among the leading businesses that will drive new people, energy, and employment to this historically-neglected industrial area. Evolation is a rapidly-expanding collective of yoga teachers and studios with locations across the United States and around the world.

A stagnant economy notwithstanding, evolation continues to grow, creating jobs and providing investment opportunities both nationwide and locally. The international headquarters at Remington Lofts features a state-of-the-art yoga studio and teacher-training facility, as well as massage, healing arts such as acupuncture and chiropractic care, a juice bar, meditation booths, a kids’ room , and a multi-media room for live, interactive teaching and mentoring. Evolation offers straightforward, accessible yoga classes based on the Bikram method, as well as Flow classes, Kids’ classes, guided meditation and yoga instructor certification programs. A limited schedule of classes will be offered starting April 30. The official opening of the wellness center, the Liquid Energy juice bar, and the yoga studio’s full class schedule will be May 21. Starting June 1, the headquarters will host evolation’s Primary Teacher Training , an intensive 4-week training program that attracts students from all over the world as well as from the center’s own back yard.

Evolation founder Mark Drost, a Western New York native, is proud to be a part of North Tonawanda’s renaissance. “By joining forces with the largest development project in North Tonawanda in 30 years, we are creating a true destination environment in this area,” he says.

For more information on evolation yoga, click here or contact Mark Drost at 561-827-8279.

touch your Self

….and others with the evolation teacher training scholarship

04.18.2011– In celebration of the grand opening of its new international headquarters in North Tonawanda, NY, evolation yoga is holding a scholarship contest, awarding one deserving student a spot in their next primary yoga teacher training class – tuition free! The winner will receive a full-tuition scholarship valued at $3,400.

“The purpose of the scholarship contest is to inspire students everywhere to share the healing power of  Yoga with their communities through their own self service,” says evolation founder Mark Drost.

The 250-hour Teacher Training program gives students a powerful, transformative experience away from the demands of day-to-day life and time to focus exclusively on the Self. Trainees become certified yoga teachers by learning to teach the core evolation class offerings based on the Bikram method, the essentials of yoga philosophy, benefits of hatha yoga, meditation, and much more!

To enter, prospective teachers must “like” evolation yoga on Facebook and submit their story explaining why they want to teach yoga and how the evolation path resonates with them. Submissions are being accepted through May 8, 2011 and the winner will be announced on the evolation Facebook page on May 10, 2011.

Evolation yoga is a rapidly-expanding collective of yoga teachers and studios based in North Tonawanda, New York. Evolation currently has studios in the NE US, SE US and Australia. For more information on evolation yoga, click here.