Want to find inner peace and perfect your right hook at the same time? Yoga Garden combines boxing techniques with traditional and innovative yoga postures to improve athletic performance in 12 grueling rounds. All you have to do is get in the (figurative) ring.
Born in a boxing club in London, BoxingYoga abandons yoga's more traditional conventions and focuses on alignment, endurance, mobility, and strength in a 60-minute class. While we know how to throw a jab and can nail a sun-salutation, we never thought of doing them at the same time.
Set up like a standard yoga class with just mats and blocks, the instructor Martine welcomed us with a brief history of BoxingYoga and the intent behind the movement. She explained that professional fighters found that practicing yoga increased their balance, mobility, and recovery time from injuries. (If it worked for Muhammad Ali, it's good enough for us.) The biggest difference between traditional yoga and BoxingYoga is the exaggerated curvature of the back along with the open and closed shoulder movements that mirrored a boxer's protective stance.
The class is structured into 12 rounds (to mimic a traditional fight) and divided into four phases: warm up, strength, stamina, and stretching. Martine worked in traditional yoga poses such as warrior one and warrior two and added a boxing flare with punches in each position and closed fists through the majority of class.
Martine often reminded us to protect our face during transitions as if we were wearing gloves and dodging punches. Secretly I was sizing up my neighbor in case it came to that, but similar to traditional yoga, the focus was on the individual and modifications were offered throughout for varying levels of difficulty.
By the eigth or ninth round, deep into the “Stamina Phase" with a fast paced flow, the room was heating up and our intimate group of 12 had steamed up the windows. It's usually around this time that my mind would think about the clock or lunch in a typical yoga class but the pace and originality of BoxingYoga kept my attention for the full 60 minutes. It may be a while before we see Mayweather in savasana, but BoxingYoga is a fun alternative for any boxer or yogi.
// Yoga Garden is located at 286 Divisadero Street with individual classes starting at $19 and discounted packages and monthly memberships available. For a deeper dive into BoxingYoga check out the February Workshop and March teacher-training sessions.
- Bring your yoga mat and prepare to sweat
- Towel and water are recommended
- Wear tight fitted clothing ideal for planks and inversions.