For yogi, boxer, dancer and entrepreneur Thomas Taubman, life is all about balance, coordination and flexibility. Much like we’d like to envision our lives unfolding in one graceful swoop, plie jeté or left hand hook, the beauty of movement is what has lead the New York-born multi-tasker to combine his greatest passions and create Yo-Box – the therapeutic and empowering workout that is gaining traction throughout the US.
Yo-Box combines the power, speed, co-ordination and cardio fitness of boxing, with the strength, flexibility and stress relieving techniques of yoga. In other words, walk into Taubman’s class and you know you’re in for a serious hour of much needed you-time.
Growing up with four competitive brothers inspired him to use his body to keep up with them on and off the courts. This focus, discipline and passion for sport was then channelled into teaching. He now teaches at YogaWorks and serves on their Teacher Training faculty as well as his own Yo- Box™ classes at various locations and retreats.
We spoke to the California based yogi to find out a little more on how it all started, and his thoughts on healthy living.
Meet Thomas Taubman
What sparked your interest in health and wellness?
From an early age I was enamored with movement and athletics as my two older brothers were constantly playing with me on and off the courts. During these formative years I realized how much I loved competing and exercising. Secondly, I grew up in a tough neighborhood in New York, so playing sports was a way for me to stay out of trouble and channel my anger and aggression in a positive and productive way. I became more interested in the other aspects of wellness, like foods, thoughts and energies after I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. My believe is that health and wellness work best when they are mutually inclusive. Its a way of life, and not just something we do when we are working out.
How did you build your passion for healthy living into a career?
My dream was to be a professional athlete, so I started studying dance at Broadway Dance Center while I was boxing in the Golden Gloves. People began asking me to help them improve their physical performance. To my surprise, I was very skilled at teaching in a clear, comfortable and concise manner. When I moved to California, I was introduced to yoga, which is still is a major part of my life. I love interacting with my students, and working with them to help them feel better about themselves on every level. I continue to have an immense amount of passion when it comes to being healthy, because it has always had a profound effect on my life regardless of my age, situations and circumstances.
There is no better gift then helping someone find there true light.
Can you tell me a bit more about Yo-Box?
Yo- Box™ is an awesome and truly unique workout that combines the power, speed, coordination and cardio fitness of boxing, with the strength, flexibility and stress relieving techniques of yoga. The perfect Yin and Yang. My philosophy is that when we move, everything else will improve. This class is packed with fun filled exercises for all ages. This program was born out of working with a friend that was diagnosed with cancer. We started doing yoga together, and I sensed a tremendous amount of fear, anger and doubt. I wanted her to tap into her physical strength and fight back, so we began boxing. Right before my eyes she turned into a warrior by expressing her feelings through her physicality. She was able to transform her negative feelings, into positive, powerful and productive emotions. Then we were able to approach yoga in a more mindful, steady and relaxed way. This combination of the yoga and boxing provided her with all the necessary tools to empower herself. I have since worked with many people with health issues and women who have been in abusive relationships as well. Two years ago, my wife was also diagnosed with cancer, so on a personal level I can relate to the feelings of being so utterly afraid of the future that it can become absolutely paralyzing and overwhelming. My wife and I participate in many healthy activities together and one of our favorites is boxing and doing yoga. Regardless of what’s going on in our lives we always feel better at the end. We will all face challenging situations, but they can help to build our strength and character. Let pain be part of your process.
What makes Yo-Box unique?
Well first and foremost me, not to be egotistical, but I have been around movement my whole life and studied with so many amazing instructors and this class is a reflection of my experiences that I have had, and that is unique. This class helps us experience our full potential in our minds, body and spirit. We work out to work in, that is we use specific exercises, cues, combinations, meditations and affirmations to create a strong and graceful experience.
Everybody is so different, but for me I have pretty much eliminated meats, dairy and gluten – for the most part. You know, we always make sure that our vehicles have the best oil circulating in the motor. Our bodies deserve the same. Feed yourself the best, healthiest, soulful, organic foods as possible. It’s important that each individual feels good about what they’re putting into his or her system. Remember, there are a variety of cars just like there are many different people. We need to eat for our own type.
Any health or wellness secrets you swear by?
To make the most concerted effort to give your mind, body and soul the best thoughts, foods, and energies as possible. In moderation of course.
What do you like to do in your downtime?
I love watching sports, going for walks with my wife, working with my hands around the house and my favourite is watching my daughters dance.
What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
I just completed a retreat in Ojai with Yo- Box™. – I have a couple of retreats on tap, including Ojai and Ireland. I’m also in the process of creating video content and sharing Yo – Box™ with children, at women’s shelters and jails as well.
First thing I do in the morning:
Take five deep breaths and take a moment for gratitude
Last thing I do at night:
Take time to reflect on my day and say a prayer
Most people probably don’t know this about me, but:
I won a hip hop dance contest in New Jersey when I was 21.
Best piece of advice I’ve ever received:
My dad told me to always enjoy what you do and never base it on money, fame or accolades
If sugar were a superfood, my diet would consist of:
Chocolate lava cakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner
I never leave home without:
I’m inspired by:
The human body
My favorite emoji is:
The face that has the hearts on the eyes
My pet peeve is:
The lack of empathy we have in our society