Boxing gyms and yoga studios rarely share the same zip code, let alone building. But the founders of Box and Flow, the latest boutique gym in New York City have decided to combine the two, in the same class. “It’s for women who aren’t afraid to get messy and men who aren’t ashamed to flow,” says founder Olivia Young. Skeptical and curious, we signed up — and found a workout that was like no other we’ve ever been through.
A typical session incorporates 35 minutes of boxing basics before cooling off with 17 minutes of downward dog, stretching and breathing techniques. The class begins with a warm-up that comes straight from the boxing gym: high-knees, weighted jumping jacks and a shadowbox session, in which students learned the basics of an appropriate hook, jab and cross. Hand wraps on, we moved onto bag work, incorporating the moves into choreographed sequences. The only yogi intonations so far are the motivational messages from the trainers. Sure, “Can you hit a little harder?” is a standard refrain, dropped multiple times over the overhead speakers by a female trainer. This is followed up by more existential motivation: “Why are you here?” and “What are you fighting for?” Good questions.
After 35 minutes and the last rumble round, the gloves come off, the lights dim, and we enter the yoga portion of the session. The low-key 90’s Spotify playlist, a little Dave Matthews Band, a little Coolio, is pretty much what you get when you marry yoga’s new-age staples with a boxing gym’s contemporary hip-hop tracklist.
We hit the mats, alternating between standing and twist yoga poses, like extended side angles and lunges, practiced breathing techniques, and finished with several moments of silence. Struggling to hear the instructions over the music, we imitated the fellow yogis as best we could for a 17-minute session that felt a bit like an afterthought.
Box and Flow is entertaining — it’s fun and it forces partner work in a loud, upbeat gym. Still, we’d argue it offers the best of two areas without the full benefits of both. It’s the beginner’s boxing class, with a yoga component that looks more like a light round of stretching. Which, come to think of it, is probably the best of both worlds for weekend warriors.
The class ranges from $33 for a single session to $725 for a 25-pack; boxandflow.com