First Rule of the Yoga Fight Club - Yoga Practice Blog

First Rule of the Yoga Fight Club

yoga teacher training courseBy Jenny Park

Have you ever thought that what was missing from your Yoga practice was… a blow to the head? Apparently, some practitioners in New York thought so, because there are now classes being offered which blend kickboxing and Yoga, known as the ‘Yoga Fight Club.’

Yoga Fight Club is not really held in an abandoned building, and it rarely results in injuries. It is a class that starts with twenty minutes or so of flowing asanas, typical of vinyasa style. The class then includes boxing drills and high intensity cardio. It does NOT include actual combat, or even contact with fellow classmates.


Is this kind of fusion beneficial to the Yoga movement today, or does it water down the practice with topical trends? Margaret Burns Vap, who founded Big Sky Yoga Retreats in 2007, offers hybrid classes with Yoga and hiking, skiing and horseback riding. “I firmly believe that yoga helps you do anything better,” she says, in an article in the Daily Californian newspaper on Yoga fusion classes. Still, one wonders about moments of silence and self-awareness within a class where you punch and kick a la Tyler Durbin. While the goal of a traditional Yoga class may be to make the practitioner conclude feeling grounded and in touch with the body, the goal of many Yoga fusion classes is to make a person feel that they’ve received a cardio workout.

Combining two very different practices may mean that you attract a wide group of students, who would not have participated in the “original” format- or it may mean that you have a group of people disappointed when their expectations are not met. Students may have a poor understanding of one or both practices and feel dissatisfied, leading to lower retention rates. If you choose to offer fusion style Yoga classes, be sure that you have a deep understanding of the mediums you are combining. Taking a weekend Pilates workshop will not make a Yoga instructor an excellent Pilates teacher. Injury rates are higher in classes where the teacher may be unfamiliar with all the movements. Be certain that the class description does justice to the fusion class. Will it be fast-paced or move more slowly? What kind of clothing should participants wear? A well-planned fusion Yoga class can be a joy to students and instructors, but that Canadian Yoga-curling fusion class may live in infamy.

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4 thoughts on “First Rule of the Yoga Fight Club”

  1. Overall I am disappointed when teachers confuse the practices which in turn confuses the public. Yoga is not violent, yoga is generally not aerobic and yoga is not boxing. Would you take violin lessons from a trumpet player? yoga is yoga, boxing is boxing. Certainly a boxer can benefit from yoga. But “fusion” really seems to be “confusion.” It waters down both, and serves neither well. A violinist can be a soloist or a symphonist, but it isn’t a trumpet player.

  2. Hi Patty,


    I can really appreciate your thinking, but yoga fusion has been around for over a decade. I wouldn’t teach a yoga fusion class either. But these types of classes may bring people into our types of classes because they like the “yoga cool down” part of their fusion class. At least the fusion teachers label their classes correctly. I was on vacation and decided to go to a gentle yoga class that was really hot power yoga.

    Happy New Year!


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