By Teresa Geer, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANIERO, BRAZIL – Using revolutionary natural movement techniques, Ginastica Natural is inspired by practices such as capoeira, Brazilian jui-jitsu and yoga. This style of fitness training was invented by Alvaro Romano who created workout techniques to strengthen and tone all areas of the body using nothing but natural movement and the practitioner’s own body weight.
Living in Rio de Janeiro at the time, Romano created Ginastica Natural precisely for the lifestyle he led, outdoors, jiu jitsu and surfing. “I began practicing Hatha Yoga after a while but the influences of Natural Gymnastics are the ground movements that are very similar to jiu-jitsu techniques of dynamic stretching and flexibility, and breathing techniques,” he explains.
Romano says he developed the Ginastica Natural style by studying eastern techniques and the movements of the primitive man, then perfected these training techniques in order to later on apply them to teach others as an instructor.
After a successful run as an instructor – clients including the Brazilian jui-jitsu team – he published the “Ginastica Natural” book in 1987 and the movement began to spread across the world. Since then he developed a global business through the unique exercise method by training others to be instructors and representatives of the brand throughout the world.
It can now be found in 27 different countries through seminars, workshops and instructor lead trainings. “As a physical education professional, my vision was to develop a training program, much beyond of just only fitness activities, I built a workout applied to health issues, quality of life and longevity; Ginastica Natural, can be practiced for everybody that wishes for an integration between, body and mind, following my concepts and philosophy of life.” says Alvaro Romano.
Ginastica Natural became more than simply a fitness workout with a difference, Romano’s techniques have been utilized by the likes of the FBI, DEA and SWAT in Washington DC (U.S.) as well as through university courses such as Physical Therapy and Physical Education department’s of Estacio de Sa University in Brazil.
His techniques have also proved useful for physiotherapy and in the 2002 World Cup Romano was invited to help rehabilitate injured Brazilian soccer player Ronaldo. His methods are now used by physiotherapists the world over.
Keeping it in the family; Alvaro Romano’s son, Raphael Romano, followed his fathers footsteps and after graduating in Physical Education and with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, he is now the director of education for The “Ginastica Natural” method.
Raphael Romano coaches mixed martial arts (MMA), jiu-jitsu and surfing athletes including Vitor Belfort, Rodrigo Minotauro, Xande Ribeiro, Fabricio Camoes, Leticia Ribeiro, Penny Thomas, Fernando Margarita, Neco Padaratz, Fred Pattachia among others.
Romano senior is now based in San Diego, California but for those that want to train in the Ginastica Natural method at its birthplace, Rio De Janeiro, can sign up to classes with Rio based instructor Rodrigo Neiva, or, if they are lucky enough, find a gap in Rapheal Romano’s busy schedule. Otherwise simply pick up one of Ginastica Natural’s DVDs for the true fitness enthusiast to practice and learn in the comfort of their own home.