Did you hang up your boxing gloves when you found yoga? Now there's no need. BoxingYoga™, the latest yoga hybrid workout, is attracting fans from inside and outside the ring, and it's about to expand in the U.S.
"We launched in 2013 [in London], but we're just coming to America now," says BoxingYoga Master Coach Kajza Ekberg, whose business partner is BoxingYoga Founder and CEO Matt Garcia. "We have two teachers at four different venues in San Francisco. There are 20–30 people in every class. We're having a teacher training at the Yoga Garden in San Francisco in March; it's our first teacher training in America. We need instructors so we're going out there to train people. So many people want to take classes but we don’t have [enough] coaches."
BoxingYoga was originally intended to specifically address the needs of boxers: to open up tight muscles in the chest, shoulders, and hips; create mobility in the spine; develop core strength and flexibility; and help boxers stay grounded and loose, among other benefits. So why is it attracting yoga purists? "Many people love the benefits of yoga but they still want a more physical workout—they want to sweat," says Ekberg, who had a background in yoga (her mother was an Ashtanga yoga teacher), dance, and martial arts, before she met Garcia and helped him develop BoxingYoga. BoxingYoga is based on Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow, but the practice avoids Sanskrit in preference of "very functional, plain language." BoxingYoga also steers clear of the more spiritual aspects of yoga. "We are a yoga-based training system, a training regime based upon asana. We don’t claim to be spiritual," Ekberg explains, adding that BoxingYoga can offer benefits beyond the physical. "For me personally, through movement I feel grounded. It keeps me staying centered and that's what we are teaching. We don’t call it meditation, we call it focus."
11-Pose BoxingYoga Flow
The following sequence is an extract from the original BoxingYoga class structure that consists of 4 stages (warm-up, strengthening, mobility, and cool-down). Perform poses 1–9 in a flow on both sides and hold each posture for 3 deep and calm breaths.