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Featured Teacher: Kajza Ekberg

David NelsonArticles

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We’ve had a lot of fun getting to know some of Bay area’s best teachers through our featured teacher articles. Today’s feature is on Kajza, BoxingYoga‘s Master Coach, yogi, dancer, and world traveler. She’s dynamic, inspiring, and can throw punch!

Tell us about yourself! What was your first job? Any fun hobbies or personal interests?

I’m Swedish but grew up in different countries around the world. My parents loved traveling and worked a lot abroad, which clearly rubbed off on me. I left home when I was fairly young and embarked on classical and contemporary dance studies in Spain, Austria and later on in England. Following this I spent a few years on the road touring and performing with leading dance companies in Europe, Australia, Central and North America. My niche was experimental and improvisational movement studies, which taught me a lot about the body but also somehow about life.

Yoga and meditation has always been a grounding source for me wherever I am, and I am very thankful to my mother who gave me the gift of a mantra and taught me the alphabet with asanas and practiced stuff like headstands before bedtime. I thought it was as normal as brushing my teeth, but realized soon that not everybody did that..

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For those of us who’ve never done BoxingYoga, what does a BoxingYoga sequence look like?

A BoxingYoga class is divided into four stages – warm up, strengthening, mobility, and a cool down – It’s an incredibly strong form of training with sequences that are modified to directly target the needs of a boxer. There is a beautiful flow of breath and movement going through the class, and an equal emphasis on strength and flexibility so you are guaranteed to be challenged and sweat!

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Tell us about your journey since the inception of BoxingYoga and what you’ve witnessed with those who’ve tried it.

My BoxingYoga journey has been incredible. Since Matt Garcia and I launched it officially in May 2013 we have gone from strength to strength, from boxing club to yoga studio, from country to continent. The greatest reward has been the amount of people that keep coming back, almost religiously since their very first class. The majority of our clients are men, athletes and people that would normally not go to yoga classes. To see these guys and their bodies changing, and to hear them speak about the benefits BoxingYoga has given them physically as well as mentally has been amazing.

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For the practicing yogis out there how can they compare and contrast BoxingYoga with vinyasa yoga?

BoxingYoga was born in a boxing club, and abandons yoga’s more traditional conventions – chanting, esoteric beliefs underlying yoga philosophy and Sanskrit terminology – and focuses on a streamlined activity, directly targeting improved sporting performance and injury prevention.

I believe it is an exciting fusion and a beautiful balance of something very masculine and feminine at the same time, and also – just as a vinyasa class – offers a considered approach to explore coordination, body awareness and correct posture alignment.

We encourage each individual to push beyond their limits in a safe and effective mannar, and adapt the intensity to their individual needs. As a fun perk, it also provides those new to boxing with an insight into the science behind the sport, its technical aspects and into the mind-set of a champion.

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Aside from yoga, what are you truly passionate about?

I have always been inspired by my travels. I used to do it for the sake of the challenges, the enjoyment of going with the flow and allowing life to take me on a journey -one that may not always pan out the way I had imagined. Today, I think my “free spirit” approach though is becoming more and more about traveling with a purpose, of being a part of a community (if even just for a day) and for a cultural exchange.

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What is next for Kajza?

Next up I am going to Fiji for two weeks to teach at MAD (Make A Difference) Yoga Retreats, where yoga and meditation meets volunteer work in a beautiful rural beach village. Then I’ve got a very exciting six months ahead with BoxingYoga Teacher Training Courses in London, Berlin, Amsterdam and of course here in San Francisco.