Q: What is trauma-informed?

SYL uses a trauma-informed approach which takes into account the lasting effects trauma in the lives of participants. Trauma and violence-informed boxing is participant-centred and is built on knowledge about the impact of violence and trauma on people’s lives and health. We run SYL in a way that integrates this knowledge into all aspects of the boxing program in ways that foster participants’ safety, respect and empowerment.

Q: Why boxing? Why is non-contact boxing a good thing for individuals who have experienced violence?

Physical exercise can directly contradict the helplessness and rage that are part of trauma. Non-contact (no sparring) boxing can help our minds and bodies heal from the impact of violence and abuse. It can help us recover from trauma. Being part of an safe and trauma-informed fitness environment can help us reconnect to our bodies and encourage positive changes in our lives. People who have experienced abuse, trauma, poverty, and racism have a right to express the anger they feel at the injustices in their lives in ways that are positive and safe. Exploring healthy aggression in a safe space can help us express ourselves and build confidence. Boxing can help us get in touch with how strong we already are and contribute to building futures that are free of violence. Plus boxing is a lot of fun, especially when you are in a non-contact, safe program.

Q: When is Shape Your Life?

The Shape Your Life boxing classes take place once a week. Classes are always full, so you must be registered in advance to attend.

Q: Does Shape Your Life cost anything?

No, Shape Your Life is a free program. The SYL program contact in each region will also be able to share what additional supports are available. For example, in the SYL Toronto program healthy snacks are provided and TTC tokens are also available for those who need them. In addition, each participant will get a set of hand wraps to keep. Participants should come with comfortable workout clothes and runners if you have them.

Q: Are there any other supports?

SYL understands that many women and trans people, particularly survivors of violence, face multiple barriers and challenges in their day-to-day lives. We aim to make the project as inclusive and accessible as possible so that even women/trans people with a lot on their plates can join.

SYL also aims to connect boxers with other neighbourhood services, programs and resources that will benefit them- be it in the area of housing, income supports, counselling, parenting help, healthcare, community legal services etc. Also, the SYL coaches and partner agencies are always on hand to listen and offer support.

Q: What should I be doing between now and my start date to get ready to box?

The SYL boxing classes are designed for beginners, so you don’t need to be super fit or have any experience with sports in order to participate. That said, its always a good idea to be promoting your overall health and well-being by eating a nutritious diet, getting plenty of rest and doing some form of exercise such as walking or biking.