chapter  20
Who owns yoga?
Transforming traditions as cultural property
BySita Reddy
Pages 13

The year 2015 was a year of extraordinary ferment in yoga's changing practice, and increasing propertization, around the world. On June 21, International Yoga Day, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his newly appointed Minister of Yoga declared their intention to get Geographical Indication trademark status for yoga to establish its Indian origins. This chapter focuses on a small handful of the legal cases and narratives to map the changing landscape of cultural ownership debates around yoga. It draws on interdisciplinary research behind a major art exhibition on the visual genealogy of yoga- Yoga: The Art of Transformation, to show two things through the visual historical record. Seeking Geographical Indication status for yoga, however, may be neither that simple nor straightforward. Within cultural property categories, a Geographical Indication is essentially a trademark, a formal acknowledgement of the importance of geography, or location, to a specific product.