From the mat to the ring

Recently I have started going back to kickboxing with my trainer again. To be honest, I like kickboxing but not as much as I love yoga (of course). I am doing it because of my husband. We usually do an hour of private session with our trainer together. It’s a great thing to do something active together as husband and wife (more on that later).

As I become a yoga teacher I have dropped boxing for almost a year, as I teach in most mornings and I just have less time to do anything else on top of my teaching schedule and own yoga practice. However as the teaching part get more stabilised I am finally finding some time to “cross-train” a little bit with other sports. And it is nice to workout with my husband again.

I am never good at this… even before. But after dropping it for so many months it’s really hard to pick it up again. I have been to 3 sessions so far (once a week) and I still move like a crab.

First in the warm up I did a forward jab and than I screamed “Aw!”. I hurt my wrist. I was probably turning my wrist down instead of keeping it straight as I extended my arm.

Then in the middle of the 2 minutes sparring, I started losing balance. Finally I said “Time out”. I told him I just found my moves really awkward and I did not feel comfortable. I asked him to slow down, explained to me all over again about the stance, the alignments and the movements before we started again.

It was much better afterwards. After the class I couldn’t help but think… How important it is to approach our exercise intelligently. Where you place your foot… How you move your arms… Which direction do you extend. They are not random moves. Once you put yourself in the right alignment your moves become natural (well.. a little bit more natural), but definitely more stable and powerful.

It makes me think of my yoga practice. For years I practised with wrong alignments (I tend to hyperextend) and was probably not caring too much about placing my hands and feet properly. Most people rush from pose to pose, especially in a flow class. Or they kinda just do their poses in a “half assed” way. Tell me if you always bend your front foot to full 90 degree angle in every Warrior 2 that you do. I admit.. I don’t.

However, when I was doing my kickboxing this morning, because I am not familiar with the movements, I gave extra interest and attention on the alignments and how I moved. From that I created strength, flexibility and power.

When I get back on the mat today, I asked myself not to go autopilot, and looked at every single basic pose and approached them with fresh eyes. Every time I placed my foot or my hand, I carefully and mindfully put them down. Every time I extended my arms, I extended them fully so my biceps touched my ears. Every pose I took my time to engage in all the necessary muscles.

Needless to say, it was an amazing practice. I walked out feeling so strong, so open, like all channels in the body were unclogged.

It’s easy to go to auto pilot mode after you have been practising for years. It’s easy to have your mind drift away. Try to approach your next yoga class (or your exercise) with a beginner’s mind. You will find some new light in your practice.

And also… be curious about anatomy.. so when your yoga teacher mention about the sacrum or the pirifomis next time you know exactly where they are.

I am going to dig out my book now.

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