The BoxingYoga™ Story
BoxingYoga™ was conceived by England Boxing Coach, Matt Garcia. He knew the benefits of yoga and wanted a method that would specifically help his boxers increase corse strength, reduce injury and improve athletic performance.
An expert in boxing, but not yoga, Matt needed the help of a yogi to develop his idea. It was at a local café in Crouch End, North London in 2011 that Matt got chatting with Kajza Ekberg - a lifelong yoga practitioner, martial artist and former international dancer.
Kajza’s career as a dancer had been curtailed by a cycling injury and she was considering her next step. It was clear to Matt that Kajza was the person he’d been looking for.
An intense development period followed with Kajza, Matt and Total Boxer Head Coach Deniz Ates creating postures and transitions with the help of physiotherapists, osteopaths and other sports therapists.
Total Boxer members who tested ‘BoxingYoga’ gave overwhelmingly positive feedback and classes soon filled up. Endorsements came from early adopters such as boxing champion Yassine El Maachi, mixed martial artist Charlie Watts and super-bantamweight world boxing champion Scott Quigg, who said, “A lot of fighters don't know how to stretch properly. BoxingYoga has everything they need.”
In 2013, at Europe's biggest Yoga Show, Matt and Kajza introduced BoxingYoga™ to the wider yoga community, and their training method was met with great interest. The value to boxers was evident, but it was clear that BoxingYoga™ could also introduce yoga to men and athletes who wouldn’t ordinarily try it.
Interest continued to spread, leading to enquiries from boxing clubs, yoga studios, and health centres throughout the UK as well as diverse sporting groups including Chelsea FC, the Swiss Olympic judo team and Saracens RFC, whose performance director Philip Morrow said“We couldn't be happier with the effect BoxingYoga is having on the players and their ability to consistently perform at the highest level. I strongly recommend BoxingYoga to everyone.”.
Increasing demand required more coaches and led to the development of the BoxingYoga™ Teacher Training Course. The programme is accredited by SkillsActiveUK and in 2014 the first BoxingYoga™ training course took place at Chelsea Football Club.
To accommodate the global demand for courses, the BoxingYoga™ Online Teacher Training Course was introduced, enabling trainees to study at home via video link to a head coach and in 2015 the BoxingYoga™ Coaches Association (BYCA) was established to provide ongoing business, marketing and technical support to the growing global community.
In less than three years BoxingYoga™ grew from a standing start to what Forever Sports Magazine called ‘a fitness phenomenon’.