Boxing and Yoga

Recently I treated myself to a 1:1 yoga session.

I am very much interested in learning as much as I possibly can about the practice of yoga. I have been familiar with the physical practice of yoga for a number of years, but my understanding of its principles and origin is limited.

During my first 1:1 I was introduced to the Ahimsa principle which means, do no harm.

The term ‘do no harm’ includes harm to yourself, others, animals and objects. As a boxer and boxing coach, I wondered; is the sport of boxing something that goes against this principle?

For me, boxing training has always been a way for me to connect with my spirituality. I wanted to explain this at my 1:1 but couldn’t find the words. I just know that it’s something I’ve always had a deep passion for. Something innate.

On my way home I wondered how to put into words my feelings about boxing and spirituality.

So here we go…

What does the word spirituality actually mean?

Spirituality: The quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.

When I was around nine or ten years old I was lucky enough to see a film called, Rocky. For those of you who don’t know, the film is about an underdog boxer who is given a chance at a world title.

The film made a deep and lasting impression on me. Here was a man who had no family to speak of, no friends and no money. He lacked in every area that our society deems so valuable, and yet, he was full of kindness and compassion. He was concerned only with doing what is right, both inside and outside of the ring.

This mans heart beat with love, with no trace of anger or bitterness and all he wanted to do was ‘go the distance’, which in boxing terms means reach the end of the bout. Despite his perceived lack, this man only ever wanted to give, and give his best.

I guess you could say he was a spiritual man, concerned with the human spirit as opposed to material and physical things.

At the age of nine or ten I could not have put this into words but the way he was and the way he chose to behave resonated with my core. I really felt like I could understand him and it made me determined in my own life to give my best despite my personal challenges, following my own moral compass in the absence of a caregivers.

When I put my gloves on as an adult, I am reminded always of these spiritual principles. When I step into the ring to spar or compete, it has always been with a willing participant of an equal ability.

So, does the sport of boxing go against the Ahimsa principle?

In short…No.

Namaste : )

Zoe

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Hope

So far, my blog has been viewed in 59 countries since the publication of my book in March of this year. I never imagined that my story and messages of hope and love would travel so far around the globe. So I decided to buy myself a scratch map of the world, so I could see for myself just how far my story has travelled.

Every time I look at that map now, I can not help but be reminded of myself as a girl of 13, sat alone upon the roof top of Denver House, gazing at the stars and hoping for change. The memory is a sad one but also a powerful one, that serves me as a reminder of the power of hope and faith.

At 13 I learned that it is quite possible to find yourself in a situation where you are completely alone, without anybody to care for you. My family had told me that I was not wanted and that they were better off without me. The staff at the children’s home, my social worker and even some of the police officers I encountered, did nothing to protect me from being sold and used. And yet, in my darkest moments I was still able to hope, even at the age of 13.

I am so very thankful to the universe for all of the ways it has inspired hope in my life.

Hope is life saving and life changing. Hope inspires faith, and with faith you can summon the courage needed to keep moving forward, even when everything else around you is trying to hold you back.

I have taken a picture of a Christmas cactus that I believe sums up beautifully the power of hope. For those of you who don’t know, the Christmas cactus is a small genus of cacti found in the coastal mountains of south eastern Brazil.

There are around 6-9 species and the Christmas cactus gets its name from a legend about a young girl called Pepita from Mexico who was too poor to buy a present for Jesus’ birthday. Instead she gathered what greenery she could find in the mountains and placed it on the church alter. Then, when what was thought of as weeds by the local villagers suddenly burst into bloom, the legend of the Christmas cactus was born.

The Christmas cactus in the picture below was in need of watering. It was dying and it knew it. I know this because it had started to send out roots, in the HOPE of preserving its life. It had been trying to move to a new place that would better fulfil its needs so that it could live and bloom.

The Christmas cactus can not see, but still it sends out roots and reaches out when it is in need. Like the Christmas cactus, we too must reach out whenever we are in need or blinded by dark situations. We must hope and have faith in the universe that created us.

Since the publication of my story in March I can not believe how far I have been able to reach, and all of this has stemmed from a 13 year old girl who never gave up HOPE!

May you always carry hope in your heart,

Love,

Zoe

Christmass cactus
Christmas cactus