Recently, I started teaching at Kickfit in Breda. Kickfit is a boxing/ circuit training fitness club on de Slingerweg (behind Academiesingel) in Breda centrum.
Kickfit is a unique gym because it combines kickboxing and boxing with group lessons such as Circuittraining (Crossfit), Bag training, HIIT,and Bootcamp and Running. The qualified trainers at Kickfit offer a variety of training options for the members. The club attracts both men and women and they even offer classes for kids!
When I was asked to teach at Kickfit, I was not only excited about joining the team but also inspired to offer yoga to this type of clientele. Most people wouldn't imagine taking a yoga class at a kickboxing gym and would be wondering how does yoga fit into this atmosphere? Would members even want to try it out? Could a yoga teacher fit into this team?
Does yoga fit into this atmosphere? Yes of course it does! Most people don't really understand what yoga is or what it means. It is always my personal pleasure to educate people on yoga and show people that yoga is not exactly what they think it is or what they have heard that it is.
Yoga is not just stretching, chanting, and sitting on the floor meditating. It is also not just for a "certain type of person": mostly females, or people who are tree-huggy, wear patchouli and sing and chant, eat granola, and don't drink alcohol or eat meat. Most men think that men don't practice yoga. Some people think that yoga is too easy, or too boring, or not physically challenging. Most people think that because they are not flexible, they can't practice yoga.
WRONG. WRONG, and WRONG AGAIN.
There are many different types of yoga: Hatha Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Yin Yoga, Easy Flow yoga, and Kundalini Yoga to name a few. At Kickfit, I am teaching an active version of Hatha Yoga called Power Yoga. Power Yoga is a faster paced Hatha Yoga Flow where we combine movement, stretching, and strengthening. During the class we utilize yoga breathing techniques called pranayama and combine that with the movement from one asana to another (yoga posture). Every class begins with breathing exercises and then transitions into a warm-up. From the warm-up we move quickly to build up heart rate and work the muscles, but at the same time we are also lengthening muscles and opening up inflexible areas in the body. We also focus on opening and strengthening weaker muscles to help balance out the stronger muscles. Some asanas are challenging but every person is given an option so that they can keep up with the practice and essentially create "their own practice". At the end of the hour, students are asked to lie down and are lead through a mindfulness guided relaxation/meditation. (Um, did I say "meditate"?) Don't worry. You won't even realize that you are practicing mindfulness. : )
I think the most challenging thing about yoga for the students at Kickfit (and for most people) is knowing where the body's boundaries are and not pushing ourselves too hard. Yoga teaches us, not only during asana practice, but also in everything that we do, that we need to learn to respect ourselves and our bodies. We must accept that we all have boundaries (personal, emotional, and physical). Maybe we haven't accomplished what we want to accomplish today (because our mind is telling us that), but maybe our bodies are not ready for that thing yet, and that is ok. Acceptance does not mean failure. This mentality actually creates great personal strength and helps reduce our own personal fear.
Once a person begins practicing yoga regularly, they will notice changes within themselves. Their posture will improve and their breathing will become more efficient. Yoga teaches people how to utilize breathing to maintain calmness and personal control. It has been proven in research studies that yoga improves flexibility (both mental and physical) and decreases depression. People may even comment to you that you look differently or that you act differently.
So, if you want to try out yoga, come on down to Kickfit on Monday nights at 21.00 and Saturday mornings at 11.00. I promise that the class will be fun and challenging, and you will leave feeling refreshed. You may even learn something about yourself that you didn't already know. : )