Editor's blog - "Iberian yoga": the siesta returns

Friday 20 July, 2007

Spanish dancerWe all know yoga if good for you. But it's a tribute to its positive associations that the Spanish siesta tradition is being re-branded - somewhat tenuously - "Iberian yoga".


According to a story in The Independent, the Spanish are resurrecting their much-envied tradition of mid-afternoon slumber and escape from the heat.

The health benefits of napping in the afternoon have been found to include a reduced risk of heart attack - not to mention developing the ability to party to the early hours, as the Spanish are so good at doing.

Hoteliers in Seville, the country's hottest city, are offering rooms between 3pm and 7pm at 30% of the normal rate, to lure siesta-seekers.

Restaurateurs are also getting in on the game - diners craving a post-lunch, post-wine snooze can get restaurants to book a slumber place on their behalf.

Alas, there's no yoga (as we know it) involved and I can't make up my mind whether the "Iberian yoga" branding is a compliment or slight insult to those of us who follow the real thing.

Either way, I do know that I wish the UK had the weather, and working culture that says having an afternoon sleep is an activity to be encouraged.

Fascinating postscript: according to online dictionary Wikipedia, the Spanish aren't the only ones to swear by a midday nap. Siestas are especially espoused in China and Taiwan, where day-time sleeping is a constitutional right. Schools even have a half-hour nap period straight after lunch.


Lucia Cockcroft, editor



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