WILLIAMSBURG — A new year means new contortions for the practitioners at Yoga to the People's 115-degree studios.
The popular New York City-based studio is unveiling additional postures to transform its "Traditional Hot Yoga" into a new class called "26 Plus 6," after the organization's founder Greg Gumucio settled a lawsuit for allegedly "stealing" the sequence verbatim from Bikram Yoga.
Gumucio's new yoga class will still incorporate all the traditional Bikram poses but will now add new postures to avoid future conflict, his studio and Bikram Yoga announced in a recent press release.
Even though Gumucio claimed in a letter to his students that he could have won the suit because yoga cannot be copyrighted, he said he decided to settle because he "no longer felt the need to be entangled in the Bikram legal battle" that began more than a year ago. Bikram Yoga is a style that uses certain poses in a hot room.
Gumucio's modified sequence will include the 26 original asanas, or poses, in the globally renowned Bikram Yoga, but it will also incorporate another 18 postures, according to the studio's website. Six "fire sequence" poses will "intensify" the practice, six "water sequence" poses will "deepen" the journey and six "earth sequence" moves will "ground" the experience, the studio said.
"Yoga to the People is excited to build on a tradition whose roots are so vast and in many ways have been dormant or been forgotten," the studio said on its website. "Our 26 Plus 6 Hot Yoga is just the infancy of our journey with you as we go beyond the beginning yoga of this lineage."
Some Yoga to the People students said they were looking forward to trying the enhanced version of the ritualistic moves.
"I like that they made it their own and weren't afraid to modify and to improve upon it," said Williamsburg resident Pam Boyle, 28, who has practiced yoga for six years. "I'm curious to try it."
Gumucio and his staff did not immediately return phone calls and emails requesting details on when "26 Plus 6" would start being taught at the studio, but according to the settlement Yoga to the People must transition to the new variety by Feb. 15.