Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yoga Classes Now Offer Power Naps [Video]

“Don't you ever just wish they'd bring back nap time? In the middle of their busy day, one group of New Yorkers seem to be living that dream. A new group fitness class, PowerNap-Plus at Equinox in the Upper East Side, where about 20 minutes of free-flowing yoga and meditation is followed up by a 15- to 20-minute nap. ‘The point of the class, we're all sleep deprived, we're overstimulated, we're over-stressed,’ says instructor LaShaun Dale. ‘Many of us are overexercised in this population and it is really meant to create an environment and an appointment for you to take a first step, an initial step toward wellness.’ So often, intense exercise can actually prevent people from relaxing. But here, movement is considered meditation and Dale says she has this class structured in such a way to help practitioners slide into a more restful state. ‘It's like climbing a very steep mountain,’ says Dale. ‘We're going to walk up the hill. Then as soon as we get to the top, it's like 10 minutes, meant to just tax you, it's not complex in the brain. And then we'll bring you back down to the valley where you can rest.’ So long as the workout beforehand doesn't overtax you, health experts say the combination of yoga and a nap could be an excellent approach to recharging. ‘This is not really a new concept. It's called a siesta, and people in more civilized countries still do this. We don't really do that much in the United States,’ says Dr. Carl Bazil of the New York Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center. ‘This new practice of combining it with meditation and yoga, I actually think that's a very good thing for a couple of reasons. I teach it to my patients - if you have trouble getting to sleep at night, that's what I teach them to do, is try to wind down.’ Participant Gretchen Allabach says the class give her a chance to take a timeout from high-energy days. ‘I think it is definitely something wonderful, especially for New Yorkers. We live in such a high energy place with a lot of things going on,’ says Allabach. ‘We're all attached to our BlackBerries, even [President Barack] Obama can't drop his. I think it is something where we can all put the BlackBerry aside, take a moment for ourselves and kind of detox from the world and New York.’ So without their BlackBerries, New Yorkers can enjoy the fruits of their relaxation.”

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