Samantha Whitaker trials a new, powerful combo: boxing and yoga
When it comes to the sport and fitness spectrum, boxing and yoga couldn’t be further apart. However, the world is beginning to realise that, actually, practising yoga can be hugely beneficial to literally everyone – from ultramarathon runners and beefy rugby players to the many millions of us who sit in front of a computer all day.
Taking this idea a step further, BoxingYoga, a brand new super-effective and totally unique workout, combines dynamic Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga with boxing technique and hardcore body conditioning exercises. Conceived by Matt Garcia, founder of Total Boxer, and developed by ex-professional dancer Kajza Ekberg in collaboration with boxers, boxing coaches, martial artists, yogis and physiotherapists, the practice demonstrates that boxing and yoga actually have much more in common than you might think. Both demand flexibility, balance, core strength and physical control, as well as extreme focus and concentration.
‘A key element in BoxingYoga is opening up the chest,’ explains Kajza. Boxers tend to hunch over in self-defence, so this is an important counter-stretch for them, but also for anyone who is hunched over a desk most of the day. What’s more, by increasing your mind-body awareness, and improving your posture and co-ordination, BoxingYoga can aid injury prevention and recovery for any sport. ‘Some of the rugby players we trained at Saracens Rugby Club Academy have got beautiful six packs, but they can’t do some of these moves because they’re not used to engaging their core,’ says Kajza.
I certainly engaged my core when I tried BoxingYoga at Total Boxer’s boutique gym in North London. There are nine ‘rounds’ in a one-hour session, with dynamic sequences that flow between lunges, controlled punches, trikonasanas, backbends and fists-on-the-floor planks. Clenched fists made some of the well-known yoga asanas feel more powerful, and it wasn’t long before I’d worked up a sweat. It’s challenging, pushing your endurance levels to build stamina as well as lean muscle, and forcing you to focus on the task in hand. Whether you box or not, BoxingYoga is a fresh perspective on yoga that will take your practice to a whole new level.
To try a 30-minute BoxingYoga virtual workout video, visit www.boxingyoga.com. Total Boxer offers a range of boxing training options that are accessible to everyone. Read more here or visit www.totalboxer.com.