Yoga at the Downtown Boxing Gym

The sounds of the boxing gym are unmistakable. From jumping rope to gloves hitting the heavy bag to the ringing of the bell, the gym has a rhythm all its own.

Students at the Downtown Boxing Gym participate in a Monday evening yoga class.
Students at the Downtown Boxing Gym participate in a Monday evening yoga class.

It may seem like an unusual setting to roll out a yoga mat. But the Downtown Boxing Gym and the Humble Warrior Project are proving that right hooks and downward dogs can co-exist in a powerful and peaceful way.

Every Monday at 5 pm, yoga experts Dan Gottlieb and Nikki Fayne Jacobs lead a yoga practice that incorporates movement and meditation. Nikki says the goal is to teach the kids the “spirit-filled connections between mind and body.”

Humble Beginnings
It all started when Nikki and Dan attended a benefit for the gym. That experience inspired them to collaborate with the Downtown Boxing Gym, and the Humble Warrior Project was born.

Nikki and Dan lead our students through a variety of movements and poses, the benefits of which extend far beyond the yoga mat.

The goal is to help each student open up to the physical and emotional power they posses. The students tap into their “prana,” or power. They begin to let their light shine, which in turn, allows others’ lights to shine.

Through the practice of disciplined movement, the mind and body work in unison. Nikki says the students learn to be a master of their actions, rather than a prisoner of their reactions. The goal is teach students they can thrive in any environment; they can do anything they set their minds to.

Sense of Purpose
Dan says he feels a deep sense of purpose when sharing his love of yoga with students at the Downtown Boxing Gym.

“I’m not giving back, as much as I’m being given the opportunity to learn from these future political leaders and business owners. It has honestly changed my outlook on Mondays,” he says. “Before the Humble Warrior Project, Mondays were not high on my favorable list. Since we launched in November, I look forward to Mondays, and the drive down Vernor to the gym.”

Nikki agrees that the most meaningful part of the program is the relationships she is building with our young people at the boxing gym.

“I love having the opportunity to enjoy the company of the kids whose paths I might not normally cross,” she says. “Sharing space, time and love.”


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