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Bikram Yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury and incorporates 26 individual poses performed in sequence in a room heated between 90 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This high temperature allows the body to become more flexible for stretching and thus reduces the chance of injuries. Yet, as long as a person is consistent with the practice, outside temperature doesn’t make that much difference, according to Tony Sanchez, former Bikram Yoga teacher and founder of the San Francisco Yoga Studio.
“A person performing the Bikram poses in a lower temperature has to move much slower to avoid possible injury,” he says, “but as long as you move at a pace where you’re stretching without straining, then you can receive 100 percent of the benefits.”
However, first you need to learn the poses. There are several options: You can try to take the heat initially and attend some Bikram classes or study various Bikram books and videos. The important aspect, though, is to have a cumulative practice. “If you’re working on flexibility and you have the proper alignment and move at an adequate pace on a regular basis, then you’ll gain flexibility,” says Sanchez. “It’s the same if you’re trying to generate circulation. It has to be a continuously growing process.”