Boxing and Hot Yoga – a winning combination?

Simon Bevan – a Yogafurie “morning crew” regular for many years and graduate Teacher Trainee – is boxing for Cancer Research. You can support him by donating through his JustGiving link. We caught up with him to talk about the event, and how Hot Yoga has helped him to prepare.

You’re boxing for charity, can you tell us a little bit about why you chose boxing, and also why you chose Cancer Research UK?

I lost my dad to lung cancer when he was  67 in 2013.  I wanted to show my gratitude for the support Dad received and to raise more money for scientific research.  I qualified as a yoga teacher with Yogafurie in 2019 and thought I should search out an event which was a complete contrast.  I wanted another challenge.  I think I found that with boxing.  Dad had to box when he was growing up and hated it.  It may sound perverse but when i train, it makes me feel closer to him, like he is with me, (even if just to tell me I am an idiot and should do something else).  

How are you feeling about the fight? Do you know much about your opponent? What’s your realistic prediction? 

I love the box fit training. As a combination with yoga, it works perfectly.  I try to alternate between the two practices during the week.  Yoga restores and strengthens me for the boxing training.  Yoga really helps with my mobility and to avoid aches and pains.  When i signed up for the event, it was to raise money for charity.  I also really wanted to train hard for something and improve my fitness.  I have certainly done that and accept that at the end of the journey there is an event.  I have now started sparring in a very controlled and measured environment.  Even controlled,  I am afraid it is still just not me.  The yogi in me is much stronger than the boxer.  I don’t have any desire to hit someone and hurt them.  I don’t like being hit either.  I signed up though and i don’t quit!  There are about 70 people training in the group who will fight on 11 December and i will fight one of them for 3 rounds.  At 52, i appear older than most others in the group.  I will train hard and my objective is to complete the 3 rounds.  If i do that i will feel a winner, whatever the outcome of the fight.  It really is about the taking part and raising money for charity.        

What was your first introduction to Yoga? Was it love at first class? 

I never really had the confidence to try yoga until i was in my 40s.  It started being my new year’s resolution and most years I wouldn’t even make it beyond a few classes in a January!  It was when I discovered hot yoga that it became a passion.  When Yogafurie opened close to my home, i  found a routine and have been attending 2/3 times a week ever since.  

What is it about the practice that keeps you coming back? 

I love the heat and the euphoria i feel when I practice.  I loved it so much that i enrolled and completed the teacher training course at Yogafurie in 2019.  It was my treat to myself when i was 50.  It was a big time commitment and I was very grateful to LIz and the children that they gave me the time and space to do the training.   I feel I am a better husband, father, colleague and friend when i do my yoga training.   I hope others agree.  When I first started box fit, I was amazed at how well yoga had prepared me for it.  TRaining in a hot environment is really good cardio training.  All that planking and down dog really strengthens the upper back and shoulders, giving the stamina and strength to keep punching the heavy bags. Flexibility and mobility in yoga helps with all the twisting and weight shifting which is required in boxing.  The two disciplines work surprisingly well together.  I do box fit at the Empire in Easton and find it a very friendly and supportive place to train.  I would recommend it to anyone.   

Has your yoga practice changed your outlook on the world? 

I am more relaxed, resilient and more content.  This is always work in progress.As you train for the fight, are you seeing any benefits thanks to your yoga practice? Definitely.  First, is the confidence to do it and take on a new challenge.  We are all so busy professionally and with family that there often seems little time for anything else.  I used to think i didn’t have time to do yoga, now i realise i don’t have time not to do it!  Yoga has given me a greater self belief that i can do new things.  I can take on new challenges.  I am not too old or unfit.  I can change and develop.  I don’t think i would have signed up for such an event, pre my yoga training.  Second, i feel calmer under pressure.  I can control my breathing better, even when someone is trying to punch me in sparring.  I feel more focused and can filter out other distractions, i need to concentrate on maintaining my guard, protecting myself.  The fitness and muscle stamina are all so much better but the one I never expected was just how pertinent the expression ‘fighting fit’ would be.  So my fitness to do an hours box fit or yoga appears good, but in sparring, if I don’t control my breathing, i am exhausted after just 3 minutes and struggle to breathe.  This needs more practice and is a little frightening.

Do you have a boxing nickname? 

My middle name is Richard, so with the initials SR Bevan, i was inevitably going to be referred to as Sugar Ray.  This is with great respect to the great Sugar Ray Leonard, I do not share any of his amazing skills!

How can people support you? 

By donating on my Just Giving Page if they wish.  For those paying to attend to support me, I am going to ‘match the costs of the tickets’ and personally donate the equivalent sum to Cancer Research.

Support Simon through his JustGiving link. 

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