Equinox Boston offers restful workout

Equinox Boston wants its members to relax this holiday season.

The fitness club is helping them catch a few Z’s during a “PowerNap” class starting tomorrow at its Dartmouth Street location.

“People get really busy and crazy during the holidays, and they think they have to add more and more workouts to decrease stress,” said Lashaun Dale, senior national creative director for group fitness at the New York-based chain. “The point of the class really is to remind people how powerful a nap is, as opposed to a cup of coffee. It’s good for your body, and it’s so restorative.”

The hour-long PowerNap class runs through December for Equinox members. It starts with five minutes of mobility and breath work, followed by Vinyasa yoga and stretching. Then comes the SavasanaNap — Equinox’s take on the yoga “corpse” pose — when members listen to soothing music on headphones for a 20-minute “brainwave restorative session.”

“People come in all jacked up, so we basically use movement to lure the body into a relaxed state,” Dale said. “Then we use brainwave music that helps your mind move into the meditation state or the sleep state.”

Participants lie on the floor with yoga blankets and props for their backs.

“People usually cover up all the way to their chin with the blanket,” Dale said. “It’s the most beautiful thing to see as a teacher — 30 people sleeping.”

While it may take some several classes before they can fall asleep, others are out in about two minutes, according to Dale.

Most research suggests a short nap of 10 to 20 minutes is most beneficial, with those benefits lasting up to two hours, according to Dr. James Mojica, director of the Sleep Center at Spaulding.

But the time of day and how much sleep one gets the night before are critical.

“Ideally it would happen during the normal dip in our biological or circadian clock, which for most people is between (noon) and 2 (p.m.),” Mojica said. “And most of the benefit has been shown in healthy people who are sleep-deprived. They get less than six hours of sleep.”

While yoga and music may be helpful for those who have a hard time falling asleep, a catnap anywhere should work well enough, Mojica said.

“For some patients that have either mild sleep apnea or something else that impacts sleep, we’ll prescribe a 10- to 15-minute nap after lunch — wherever they can lie down,” he said, noting naps improve alertness, and cognitive and motor performance.

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