No more namaste
My little sister, Marissa van Niekerk, the budding biologist and health nut, has been letting out some of her post-university, just-moved-back-home frustrations with a novel and incredibly stress-relieving (just ask our grateful mom) type of yoga that combines the best of the Eastern yogic techniques with Western-style combat boxing.
The boxing yoga style she has been practising is typical Vinyasa yoga – lots of continuous, energetic movement – but the class takes things to the next level by combining boxercise.
It’s all put together as part of an hourlong session in a hot pod that’s warmed up to 37°C. Think Bikram-boxing-Vinyasa. If that sounds hectic, it is.
“It was really fierce,” Marissa says. “It’s Vinyasa yoga, so there is a really natural flow to it, but sometimes it gets really quick like superquick. If you punch out your arm, then that arm becomes the arm that extends backwards to stretch with, and then it’s that arm that goes down to stretch out into something like a triangle pose.
“Obviously you’re working your arms more, because your fists are always clenched and raised. As opposed to traditional yoga, you do find a difference in your arm muscles.
“My teacher said you could go beat someone up afterwards, but I haven’t tried,” she says, laughing and winking at her brother.
She warns that there have been mixed reviews. “One woman wasn’t happy about walking out with her jaw clenched, but another said it was nice to get your aggression out once a week.
“These are all avid yoga-goers who go to yoga once a day, so it’s been interesting to see the reception.”
Boxing-yoga instructor Yaela Orelowitz, who teaches the class, warns that the programme is not for the faint-hearted, but is intended to improve physical strength and flexibility, and prevent injury.
“It brings the mind-set of a champion, one who learns equally from failure as from success, teaching participants to maintain focus, determination and composure in highly intense, challenging situations, just like a boxer.”
If you’re tired of the chanting and foreign words, then get rid of the namaste and kick your fitness into first gear with a punch in a new direction. Contact Yaela for class
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