Roman Acevedo on Aerial Yoga and Opening His Own Studio, Ra Yoga, in Downtown Phoenix

Categories: DIY

Ra yoga studio.jpg
Ra Yoga
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"Working out" might bring to mind images of slaving away on machines at the gym, running long hours in the heat, or generally toiling away somewhere, anywhere that you don't actually want to be. But getting in shape doesn't have to feel like work if you love what you're doing.

Yeah, you've heard that before -- probably from the few people who genuinely enjoy doing three sets of 15 reps for each muscle group on a carefully planned schedule. But what if there was a workout as tough as cross-training that retains the joy of bounding around the playground as a kid? No one's making any promises here, but to some, at least, that workout is aerial yoga.

Aerial yoga (aka anti-gravity yoga) takes traditional yoga asanas (poses) and adds a big piece of fabric that hangs from the ceiling, kind of like a lightweight hammock. However, lightweight does not mean that the fabric, called a silk, isn't capable of securely holding full-grown adults. Once you get used to working with it in different ways, you gain a lot of trust in the silk. When stretching, you can let your body sink into the fabric, extending your muscles for maximum benefit.

But don't think that aerial yoga is easy or slow; there's a lot of strength building involved, such as different varieties of pull-ups, and most moves use your full body. If you're giving it your all, aerial yoga can burn upwards of 400 calories per hour, and you will definitely feel it the next day or two.

In Phoenix, there are only a couple of places to try aerial yoga: Ra Yoga, located Downtown on First and Jackson Streets, and Tough Lotus, newly opened in Chandler.

Roman Acevedo of ra yoga.jpg
Roman Acevedo of Ra Yoga
Roman Acevedo, owner of Ra Yoga, is working hard on expanding the studio's offerings (including upcoming lessons in aerial silks). For now, Ra's FLYoga classes are every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; registration is online, and don't be daunted if the classes are full. There are often extra openings -- so if you're ready to get started, swing on by to see if you can snag a spot.

The first part of class is a mix of core-strengthening stretches and old standards like push-ups and crunches made tougher by keeping with your feet suspended in the swing. Then there are a variety of handstands -- when supported by the fabric, everyone can do them -- as well as some backbends and other inversions. The really fun stuff is saved for last, getting up into the air with poses like flying splits (no ability to actually do the splits required), floating angel, and Dracula.

We recently sat down with Roman to learn more about his studio and the benefits of aerial yoga.

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