A open Indian database of all yoga postures will go live soon. It's intended to serve as a reference for patent and copyright offices around the world who are petitioned by the likes of Bikram Choudhury with patent and copyright applications for individual postures and sequences of postures. The Times of India article is somewhat confusing in that it mixes patent and copyright freely. I haven't heard of patents being granted on yoga postures, but there have been many stories about the controversial practice of copyright offices allowing registration of choreography copyrights for sequences of postures:
In order to stop self-styled yoga gurus from claiming copyright to ancient `asanas', like Bikram Choudhury's Hot Yoga — a set of 26 sequences practised in a heated room — India has completed documenting 1,300 'asanas' which will soon be uploaded on the country's Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), making them public knowledge.
Around 250 of these `asanas' have also been made into video clips with an expert performing them.
According to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research ( CSIR) and Union health ministry's department of Ayush, "once the database is up online, patent offices across the world will have a reference point to check on everytime a yoga guru claims patent on a particluar `asana'."
CSIR's Dr V P Gupta, who created TKDL, told TOI, "All the 26 sequences which are part of Hot Yoga have been mentioned in Indian yoga books written thousands of years ago."
He added, "However, we will not legally challenge Choudhury. By putting the information in the public domain, TKDL will be a one-stop reference point for patent offices across the world. Every time, somebody applies for a patent on yoga, the office can check which ancient Indian book first mentioned it and cancel the application."
(Thanks, Msikk, via Submitterator!)