Wednesday June 19, 2019
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Boxing Yoga is the new fitness mantra

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Image Courtesy: theresident.wpms.greatbritishlife.co.uk

By Zara Stone

Boxers may be known for their toughness, but there is one thing many fear: yoga. “They think it’s all bendy women in Lycra,” says Martine Hamers, who teaches a “boxing yoga” class in San Francisco.

By blending traditional yoga asanas, or poses, with boxing drills, this new fitness iteration hopes to attract a more macho audience, one that would benefit from some extra stretching and core building — as well as a little zen in the ring.

In Hamers’ class, you’ll find exercises familiar to practitioners of both sports. Punching, deep breathing, sun salutations that morph into fighting poses with fists clenched as you jab right, swing left. Planks are performed balanced on knuckles, with emphasis placed on elongating the calf muscles, which get shortened in the southpaw stance. Some people wear boxing gloves to class, but wraps or bare hands are more common, as they help build wrist stability.

While the melding of the two practices might sound unnatural, the sequencing flows rather seamlessly. And classes cater to all levels — desk jockeys, for example, will benefit from the shoulder opening drills, which help straighten backs rounded from typing all day. For her part, Hamers, 31, stays away from Sanskrit, explaining that terms like “savasana” and “pranayama” can be off-putting to someone who is just learning downward dog.

Boxing yoga began in England in 2011 as a collaboration between boxing trainer Matt Garcia and fitness coach and former ballerina Kajza Ekberg. After Garcia opened a north London boutique boxing gym, he began looking for ways to improve his boxers’ flexibility and to reduce injury. With the help of Ekberg, the two selected yoga poses that would strengthen and lengthen the body. Their slogan: “Yoga for Tough Guys.”

With 21 studios across England and one in Berlin, demand for classes was so high that Garcia and Ekberg established the Boxing Yoga Coaches Association last year. There are now 100 trained coaches teaching classes in Israel, Ireland, the Netherlands and the U.S. And the market potential is huge: In the U.S. alone, 21 million people practice yoga regularly, creating close to a $9 billion industry.

There has been some resistance from the yoga community, with concerns that boxing clashes with the peaceful ethos yoga is built on. Some who’ve taken a class complain that the “boxing” is more gimmick than substance. Regardless, yoga offers a lesson useful for any athlete, whether a fighter or a dancer, and that is mindfulness. As yoga pioneer Daniel Lacerda, aka Mr. Yoga, says, “You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”

Source: http://www.ozy.com

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Yoga Apps to Make you Stay Fit this Summer

Pocket Yoga app is like an instructor in your pocket, owing to detailed voice and visual instructions that guide you through each pose and every breath

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yoga, yoga apps
Surya Namaskar consists of twelve yoga poses which will activate an impressive variety of your body-parts. Wikimedia Commons

As the International Yoga Day approaches on June 21, there are several apps and online platforms to help yoga enthusiasts boost their health in the absence of a trained guide. Some apps also offer integrated services with Apple health app and other Android devices.

For the beginners, the Breathe app on Apple Watch guides you through a series of deep breath and reminds to take time to breathe daily. Choose how long you want to breathe, then let the animation and gentle taps help you focus.

Pocket Yoga app is like an instructor in your pocket, owing to detailed voice and visual instructions that guide you through each pose and every breath. Over 200 illustrated images show you the correct posture and alignment, and an included dictionary describes the benefits and techniques of various poses.

yoga, yoga apps
Pocket Yoga app is like an instructor in your pocket, owing to detailed voice and visual instructions that guide you through each pose and every breath. Pixabay

“Daily Yoga” app offers over 500 asanas, more than 200 guided classes of yoga, pilates, meditation, over 50 workout plans and top coaches’ workshops that suit people from the beginner to advanced level. “Daily Yoga” integrates with the Apple Health App.

“Simply Yoga” — available on both iOS and Android — is an app that keeps it simple with just a few routines and multiple poses. Choose from a 20, 40 or 60-minute workout, or master more than 30 yoga poses with helpful audio and video instruction with this app.

Available in six languages, “Asana Rebel” on iOS platform is for anyone who aims to lose weight and start a healthy lifestyle. The app helps burn calories, strengthen the core, increase flexibility and balance the body while focusing on the mind.

“Yoga-Go” combines customized fitness and weight loss plans, along with a healthy meal tracker. “Yoga-Go” workouts only take between 7-30 minutes and you can burn up to 200 calories per session.

Yoga, yoga app
Avoid Diabetes by practicing Yoga. Pixabay

“Mindfulness means living in the present moment. By simply being aware of this tendency of the mind, we can actually save ourselves from getting stressed or worked up and relax the mind,” Mumbai-based yoga expert Natasha Noel told IANS.

ALSO READ: Starting Over: 3 Best Yoga Practices for Getting Back in Shape

“What I really like about the Breathe app and about any kind of technique that is accessible to people, is that they do give people who might not otherwise give meditation a try, a sense of how powerful those techniques can be,” Noel added.

“Pocket Yoga” Android app gives detailed voice and visual instructions to guide users through each pose and every breath. “5 Minute yoga” add has quick yoga sessions for improved flexibility, increased strength, toned muscles and reduced stress. (IANS)