Destination Relaxation

A new kind of escape at Raffa Yoga in Cranston


I knew I was lying on one of the heated waterbeds in the Urban Sweat Active Relaxation Center at Raffa Yoga in Cranston, but it felt like I was on cloud nine. Surrounded by the gentle rhythmic sounds of the sea, there was not a clock in sight and my daily to-do list, usually at the forefront of my mind, was the furthest thing from it.

I was in a state of complete relaxation, which I typically only find myself in when vacationing in a tropical locale. Except at this moment, I was just a few minutes from home.

My journey to “Destination Relaxation” began earlier that day when I walked into Raffa Yoga’s eco-friendly 15,000 square-foot building.

My first stop was AntiGravityYoga class. Raffa Yoga is the only studio in Rhode Island to offer this new suspension training yoga, created by former Broadway dancer Christopher Harrison. AntiGravityYoga is not practiced on a mat; instead, students perform aerial moves using a hammock that supports them and acts as a soft trapeze. I felt like an acrobat as I soared through the air, finding myself in positions I never would have associated with yoga - like having my body inverted completely upside down, my legs intertwined in the hammock.

After that, it was time to experience Urban Sweat, which just recently opened at Raffa Yoga. The first of its kind in the country, this active relaxation facility features 21 therapeutic massage and treatment rooms and six heat therapy rooms.

Owner Christine Raffa explains, “I’ve had the good fortune to travel worldwide and experience first hand the healing benefits of relaxation and detoxification, but longed to have them accessible for my own use in Rhode Island.”

After I received a Reflexology Foot Treatment in Urban Sweat (blissful!), I made my way around to its heat therapy rooms, each of which offers its own health benefits: detoxification, skin rejuvenation, inflammation reduction, an increase in metabolism and respiratory function enhancement, just to name a few.

“We must as a culture and community learn to slow down,” Raffa says. “When we relax we are more ourselves. I feel that Urban Sweat is the answer to learning to relax, bringing us all closer to a better state of wellness.”

After spending a few hours in Urban Sweat, I now know where I have to travel to find my own personal cloud nine. My destination relaxation is practically in my own backyard.