Boxing, like any sport, requires a huge amount of skill, dedication, focus, and fitness. In that way, yoga can serve as a complimentary practice for any boxer.
With such a physical sport, it is inevitable for injuries to occur. Yoga has been known to help heal all kinds of injuries in the body, and work its magic on the most fragile and battered individuals. With the right teacher, boxers could use yoga as a means to heal their bodies from years of fights.
The most obvious connection between yoga and boxing is the physical aspect. Boxers are in peak physical form and work hard to achieve their strength. It is important for their entire bodies to be toned, not just their arms.
The following yoga poses work to strengthen the entire body, and are the perfect yoga poses for boxers.
Also known as the top of a push up, Plank requires attention to the entire body. In Plank, engage your abs, quads, biceps, and triceps to evenly distribute the weight.
Holding this pose alone won’t build muscle because it’s static, but there are ways to take it to the next level. Play with coming down onto your forearms with hands interlaced for a forearm push up which will incorporate the shoulders as well. Alternate between High and Low Plank a few times to get the muscles really working.
This challenging pose takes a lot of practice and even more strength. While it is necessary to have a good amount of upper body strength, to perfect Handstand, you must also have a strong core.
In the beginning, it is a good idea to practice at a wall. From Down Dog, walk your feet up behind your hands. Practice lifting one leg in the air and then using the other foot to push off the ground, trying to bring that leg up to meet the other. Switch legs to give each side the chance to keep things even. Eventually, you’ll be able to use the strength of your core to slowly raise both legs at the same time.
Once in the pose, engage the arms, core, and legs to maintain balance. Your entire body will be working to keep you aloft, and the blood will start flowing to your heart and brain, making you more alert and energized.
3. Warrior II
The pose of the warrior exudes strength and power.
Stepping the left foot to the back of the mat, rotate the heel down and make sure that your front heel is aligned with the arch of the back foot. Bend deeply into the front knee and extend the arms wide, reaching the right arm forward, and the left back. The hips should be open to the left side and your gaze out over your right hand.
This pose engages the quads, core, and shoulders. The longer you hold it, the more of a challenge you’ll experience. To make it a muscle building exercise, try straightening the right leg and then bending it again, pulsing up and down slowly. Make sure to repeat on the other side.
Beyond the physical benefits of these poses, each requires extreme focus and commitment. Boxers have to be completely present when they enter the ring. If they are thinking about anything other than the task at hand, their attention will wander, leaving them vulnerable to their opponent.
Part of practicing yoga is quieting the mind, harnessing attention, and gaining focus. In many poses, we literally focus our gaze at one singular point. For boxers, this will hopefully translate to a mental preparedness in addition to physical training.
Practicing yoga can offer a nice, calming counterpart to what is a mentally and physically grueling sport. Having time to connect with the inner self could create the space for a different perspective on life, beyond the experiences in training and in the ring. It can also help to leave the aggression in the ring and release stress and tension.
Are you a boxer who practices yoga? Which poses help you best? Share with us below!