Shadow Boxing Might Help With “Shadow Work,” Working Out Your Frustrations, Increasing Balance and Calmness
Shadow-box/Shadow-work: This week’s installment in the Fit Fusion Series by Andre Zemnovitsch
Life is hectic; there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it—life is hard and seemingly getting harder these days. It is of paramount importance for one to practice daily means of balancing all of this energy out—without allowing it to get the best of you. “Energy cannot be created nor destroyed”…this is physics! Energy, however, is in a constant state of transmutation (changing from one form to another). It is entirely up to you what it is that you change your energy into. Martial Arts has been teaching us students how to alchemize the proverbial “lead into gold”, i.e. negative energy into positive energy—for thousands of years.
In certain forms of Martial arts, there are special techniques available for one to get out bad Chi (negative energy). In the beautiful styles of Tai-Chi and Qigong: one can draw-in good energy via certain moves—while simultaneously “shooting-out” negativity—by making punching gestures with their hands. As one partakes in such curative practices, it is also important to know how to properly utilize the breath, as well as how to generate certain sounds—usually therapeutic grunts and yells.
Have you ever just wanted to punch-out that bad juju that has been building inside of you for a while?! In this day and age, time is a precious commodity; most of us simply do not have the hours necessary to regularly practice such beneficial disciplines as Tai-Chi, Qigong, Zen meditation, advanced Yoga, and Kung-Fu. However, most of us have the time to frequent gyms on a regular basis.
Do you have ten minutes a day to spare? Have you heard of shadowboxing; boxers and MMA fighters love practicing these cardio-heavy, stamina-building, hand-eye-coordinating maneuvers. It’s simple; all that one really needs for this exercise is to imagine that they’re boxing a few rounds against an imaginary opponent. The fun part is—the opponent is quite real—your opponent is none other than yourself (your bad energy) that you are fighting! Shadowboxing is a splendid meditation: one where you can get in shape and balance your mental imbalances at the same time. I always practice weighted shadowboxing—which is regular shadowboxing—except you’re also holding a pair of low-weight dumbbells the whole time. Make sure to use only very light dumbbells when participating with weighted shadowboxing; one-to-three pounds is enough.
You want to make sure that you’re punching properly; this is why it’s important not to use heavy weights for this exercise. As you jab and uppercut with the dumbbells—make sure to ALWAYS KEEP GOOD FORM! Breathe regularly and have your core naturally engaged the whole time; this is accomplished via feeling your ribs expand to the sides as you inhale, and then contracting your abs as you exhale (think of pulling your bellybutton up and in towards the spine).
Not only will practicing weighted shadowboxing help increase your punching speed and power, increase your endurance, burn fat, build and tone your shoulders, lats, triceps, and biceps; you’ll also notice just how cathartic this exercise is. Imagine all of the bullhonkery in your life being punched out as you practice this exercise. After a few minutes of participating with weighted shadowboxing—you’ll have an amazing physical workout AND a wonderful primal therapy session for your mind; eventually you can up-your-game by using ankle weights. Get lost in it and then come out feeling supercharged, fresh and motivated.
Then you’ll be ready for round 2; go get em’ Rocky!
Banner Image: Shadow boxing. Image Credit – Harut Movsisyan
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