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Body and Mind Synergy at Cranston's World Renowned Yoga Studio

By Marina I. Jokic

Christina Raffa's goal is to join the concepts of vigorous activity and relaxation. Her dedicated efforts have culminated in opening her own yoga studio in Cranston, Rhode Island, called Raffa Yoga. The studio pays homage to the ancient yogic disciplines, while integrating some modern elements of physical activity as well as relaxation techniques.

Raffa Yoga is not a traditional yoga studio with the customary mirrors, Buddha statues, and yoga mats. Raffa was built upon the idea of "clearing the cobwebs that often linger in your mind" while pushing your cardiovascular limits. It is an expansive, eco-friendly complex incorporating three distinct yoga studios and an active relaxation center with a raw juice and food bar. It aims to engage both mind and body, while teaching acceptance. Raffa points out that one of her primary goals is to teach people how to transfer the principles they learn in class to their everyday life.

Raffa coined the term "active relaxation" in her effort to ensure people fully understand how to calm the central nervous system, and practice relaxation on a daily basis. Not only do the different yoga practices teach meditative techniques to clarify the mind, they also engage the practitioner's cardiovascular system and build muscle and flexibility.

The studio offers a diversity of yoga styles, from heated athletic power yoga to stretch and chair yoga. In addition to teaching more than eighty classes a week, there is a class style suitable for every level of experience. While studies applaud yoga for its benefits to the central nervous system, a power yoga class can be the perfect combination of a mind-body workout. "The athlete in you will feel like you've gotten the workout you need, but unlike other physical activities, the yoga portion gives that additional feeling of relaxation and clearing out," says Raffa.

The Raffa Fit Club, a thirty-minute high intensity workout routine, incorporates various yoga moves, free form fitness equipment, as well as a mantra that keeps you focused on the positive. The routine differs from other fitness programs because it incorporates a whole body approach, teaching acceptance while conditioning the body.

Pictured above is the room for their Antigravity Yoga class

Raffa points out that the studio is the only one in Rhode Island to offer Antigravity Yoga. Unlike traditional yoga, Antigravity Yoga is done in silk hammocks and offers zero compression of the spine. The main benefit of this type of yoga is inverting the body, which is known to stimulate the pituitary gland responsible for releasing hormones and enhancing the mood. When you are upside down, you build strength in the upper body and back, creating long, lean lines in the torso.

Raffa Yoga also houses Urban Sweat- the only active relaxation center in the state offering six heated healing rooms, twenty one massage and therapeutic treatment rooms, raw juice and food bar, and a boutique. Urban Sweat's infrared sauna uses the latest in solar carbon technology to penetrate to the derma of the skin and detoxify at a deeper level. This sauna helps restore skin to a youthful appearance, reduce wrinkles as well as improve skin tone, smoothness, elasticity, and clarity. Not only that, but infrared saunas have been shown to aid in weight reduction as a single 30-minute session can burn approximately six hundred calories. The core temperature increases and the body works hard to cool itself, speeding up the heart rate, cardiac output, and metabolism.

Whether you are sipping juice and chilling on the brightly colored Sumo or Aqua loungers in the Active Relaxation Room, rejuvenating and enjoying the lulling sounds of the Oceanic Relaxation Room, or relishing in the negative ions and Dead Sea salt fog of the Salt Grotto which alleviates skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, Raffa Yoga can attend to your every need.

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