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Granite Bay’s Bikram Yoga challenges hopefuls to take the heat

By: Eileen Wilson for the Press Tribune and Granite Bay View
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Know and go

What: Bikram Yoga Granite Bay

Where: 4067 Cavitt Stallman Road, Granite Bay

Contact: (916) 797-9829 or email bikramyogagranitebay.com

 

Bikram Yoga Granite Bay owner Patty Gray has been running her studio on Cavitt Stallman for 15 years, and there are no signs of hot yoga’s popularity simmering down any time soon. The Granite Bay View caught up with Gray to talk all things yoga, and to answer the burning question on the uninitiated mind: “How can you stand the heat?”

View:  A lot of people love yoga, but hot yoga?  Especially in the summer?

Gray: You get used to it.  I can’t stand Sacramento summers. But being in that room, in 105-degree heat, it forces you to focus on your breath and to get out of your head.  It really is addicting, and my students will complain if the heat drops below 99 degrees.

View:  Why is heat necessary?

Gray: Heat is part of Bikram Yoga. And the benefits are incredible. The combination really improves your yoga practice.  The heat calms the nervous system, flushes toxins, helps your circulatory and respiratory system, and increases your flexibility to perform the poses, plus you just feel amazing when the class is over. In fact, many yoga and pilates studios are adding heat to classes because of the benefits.

View: How do you see yoga affecting people’s overall health?

Gray: I have pregnant women who practice through their ninth month, and students who are ten years old to 80. Bikram yoga is anti-aging for your skin; it’s like a full-body facial.

View: Any specific success stories?

Gray: I’ve had students who have seen improved blood pressure, and also a young student, Hannah Stein, who stopped having epileptic seizures when she started practicing here three years ago. She said the practice saved her life by eliminating her episodes and decreasing her anxiety. Another student, Chuck Mentz, is in his late 60s and has been here for eight years. During that time he has lost 25 to 30 pounds practicing Bikram regularly and participating in my Take Shape for Life Health and Weight Loss program.

View: You talk about anti-aging benefits, and I would guess you are mid 40s, has practicing Bikram for nearly two decades helped you?

Gray: I’m turning 60 this month.

View: You’ve updated the studio recently, can you tell us about that?

Gray: The studio got fresh paint, new counters and window tint, but the real update has been in the class schedule.  I have six instructors, and we’ve added a yoga sculpt class, using traditional poses with light weights in a warm room.  We’ve also added a yin yoga class in a warm, not hot, room. Lastly, we’ve combined Bikram poses with some flow movement for a Power Fusion class.

View: Do you have any advice for those of us who want to try hot yoga, but we’re a little afraid?

Gray: Hydrate. That’s the most important thing, drinking a large bottle of water before you come. We have specialized containers that will keep water cold throughout the class, no matter how hot, and students can be assured that instructors are constantly watching everyone in class to make sure they are breathing correctly, to help them in any way, and to ask them to take a seat if they look fatigued. Sometimes on a first visit, the goal is just to stay in the room the entire class, not necessarily to practice yoga the entire time.  And you can’t try the class just once.