To move forward, BOX + FLOW is looking inward.
Liv Young founded BOX + FLOW in New York to teach what she loves — boxing and yoga. Boxing’s sheer grit and yoga’s graceful flow inspire the studio’s signature workouts, which show people how to move through resistance with ease.
Earlier this spring, her second BOX + FLOW studio had been open for three weeks when, like many entrepreneurs, she found herself in a high-stakes quandary. COVID-19 had the city of 8.4 million in an uncompromising grip. Businesses hadn’t yet been told to shut down, but it isn’t Liv’s way to wait to be told what to do. Besides, the inevitable was already clear.
“It got bad in New York and my business dropped like 70 percent. So people were scared to come work out. Think about it. You’re sweating. It’s a very physical, very intense environment and it wasn’t worth it for me or for anybody else.”
As she decamped the city for the shelter of her parents home in Miami, the hand-lettered words on the studio’s front door would prove prophetic: “Everything you need is inside.”
Flowing through the fight.
Liv and BOX + FLOW’s instructors teach fitness classes, but tucked inside each workout is a way to live: instead of avoiding difficulty, flow through the fight. Rather than resisting, surrender to the reality of the moment and give it everything you’ve got.
Since closing her studios, Liv has shifted workouts online, with $7 Zoom classes anyone can take. “I put on a leotard and I live stream my classes all over the world almost every day, which is insane because I’ve never live streamed or taught on camera. I just literally put an iPad on top of a chair covered by a dog carrier. My mom is like my film production manager, screaming from the sidelines. I started teaching classes. And it’s been insane.”
“I had a choice to stay open or to close. I had a choice to leave New York or to come to Miami, and then I had a choice to create something out of this. And so I did. I started teaching classes and the best thing I’ve learned so far is that anything’s possible.”
Her can-do comes in spite of what’s been lost. She’s had to let employees go, and while some are back teaching classes online, it still hurts. “It’s the worst feeling you could ever imagine. You don’t even know what it means. I’ve never felt it before so I’m still trying to figure it out.”
However awkward the shift may have felt, BOX + FLOW’s online classes have broken through, with people around the world expanding the community. Joining her regulars for real-time workouts are new fans from Malaysia, Chile, South Korea and Spain.
For Liv, the unasked-for has offered up a revelation — and a way forward. “The future of my business doesn’t necessarily rely on physical spaces, which gives me a lot of relief because I never wanted to be in the real estate business. I will most likely close my first place, focus on my flagship and continue to live stream and then hopefully bring this to secondary markets and international. I always want to see the opportunity in the circumstance.”
The future of my business doesn’t necessarily rely on physical spaces, which gives me a lot of relief because I never wanted to be in the real estate business.Liv Young
Tough love for tough times.
Like BOX + FLOW’s mantra, her advice for others is about how we respond in the moments we naturally want to chafe against. “I still have to keep the motivation alive and I think ultimately that’s the message. We can’t rely on externals to give us excitement. You want a great meal, cook one, right? You want a fitness experience, pick yourself up and move yourself. You want connection, reach out to a friend. The only person holding you accountable right now is you.”