What is BoxingYoga? Kajza Ekberg answers our questions
As part of our Guest Instructor Programme, cofounder Kajza Ekberg will lead an evening of BoxingYoga at our Kings Road boutique on Wednesday, 14 August. In preparation for the event, we sat down with Kajza to learn a little bit more about it.
Tell us about BoxingYoga. What inspired you to set it up?
I have always thought of boxing as an intriguing sport. The way the athletes work, their regimes and their determination are inspiring. When Matt approached me with his vision of BoxingYoga, I was uncertain at first, but, always up for a challenge, I accepted. Our collaboration with boxers, athletes, martial artists, yogis, physios and dancers began.
When exploring a boxer’s strengths and weaknesses as well as a yogi's, it soon became clear how much boxing and yoga have in common and what an amazing thing it would be if we could learn from each other.
What are the benefits of BoxingYoga?
BoxingYoga gives you all benefits of a classic Ashtanga Vinyasa class and seriously strengthens and tones your entire body. It is also a really cool insight into the boxer's training regime, technique and philosophy. It’s fun, it challenges you, makes you sweat and works your mind as well as your body – all of which combine to improve your sports performance and make you look and feel great!
Is it just for boxers or just for yogis?
It’s for everyone! It doesn't matter what your training background is. We teach complete beginners including nurses, teachers and rock stars to sports professionals like Prizefighter Boxing Champ Yassine Elmaachi and even Saracens Rugby Club.
There is always more to learn about your body and my job as a teacher is to help you find confidence in pushing your boundaries, whatever your starting point. My favourite moment is seeing someone realise how much her body is capable of. My favourite quote must be, ‘I had no idea I could do that!’
What’s the most challenging part of the workout?
The whole workout is pretty challenging so the key is to keep your cool, breathe and don't give up!
What’s your favourite sequence in BoxingYoga?
My favourite move is the Boxing Goddess Sequence. It's a flow between lunges, punches, trikonasanas, backbends, boxing weaves and more. To me it feels empowering, graceful and grounding. In the sequence, we work on being both strong and soft, constantly expanding our physical vocabulary by going beyond our limits with determination and patience.
Tell us about your dance background.
I have always been a very physical person. My mother was a yoga instructor, and I learnt my alphabet through yoga postures. Headstands before bedtime were as routine as brushing my teeth. In my late teens I went through different sports – gymnastics and martial arts like Capoeira and Taekwando were my favourites.
I never planned to become a professional dancer, so I discovered the contemporary dance world rather late. One thing led to another and soon I had completed a year foundation course at Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, followed by a BA Honours and Post Graduate at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Before starting my journey with BoxingYoga I spent seven years touring, teaching and freelancing in many companies and theatres around the world.
When you are not teaching, what other workouts do you love?
Lately I've had a few beautiful summer evenings playing volley ball in Regent's Park. I also cycle everywhere on my new bright blue and orange single-speed bike which I love! Ballet and contemporary dance will always be a part of me, but the current focus is definitely my boxing training at Total Boxer.