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How to Avoid Melting Down on the Subway Platform

Keep cool with tips from a Bikram yogi

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Donna Rubin, co-owner of Bikram Yoga in New York, explains how yoga can help you cope with the heat.

Bikram is practiced at temperatures between 95 and 105 degrees, which is almost as hot as it gets in the subway. What techniques can you use when you’re there on the platform?
I would say to focus on your breath. Close your eyes for a while, take a couple of slow, deep breaths, and keep as calm as possible. If you’re in the heat and you feel a little stressed, slow yourself down.

Now, is that special yoga breathing?
Well, you would take a slow, deep breath in through the nose and out through the nose, something like that. So your energy isn’t outside; your focus is internal. You’re conserving your energy.

Is there a pose you’d recommend for people to do when they’re agitated?
I usually like to do the half-tortoise posture. It’s basically just kind of a kneeling position, bending forward, arms next to your ears, forehead touching the floor. It lowers your blood pressure and your heart rate, and has a calming effect on the body. You could do something with that forward bending to calm yourself down.

You obviously couldn’t do that on the subway platform.
Well, no. But sometimes if I’m sitting down, I just bend forward, drop my forehead between my knees, take a few deep slow breaths, and roll up, and I find my head’s a little clearer.

Do people look at you funny when you do that?
You know what? Maybe. But I just do what I need to do.


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