WLCA: Breaking it Down with Budokon
Budokon Primary Series was the first asana class of my Wanderlust experience, and my body was crying out for movement after sitting in airplanes and airports the whole day prior. My experience with Budokon Yoga had been limited to watching a few jaw-dropping YouTube videos of Kancho Cameron Shayne moving with superhuman strength and fluidity, and I was eager to dive in and learn more about the practice.
Essentially, Budokon Yoga is a fusion of yoga and martial arts, merging yoga poses and martial arts theory with seamless transition. Similar to traditional Ashtanga yoga, Budokon Yoga has a Primary Series — a set sequence of poses that become a moving meditation when practiced regularly. What makes Budokon Yoga unique, however, is the emphasis on spinal undulation and circular rotation, creating a practice that connects seemingly effortlessly from one movement to the next.
Cameron immediately set the tone for the class by reminding us that the work is supposed to be provocative, evocative. That regardless of how we feel about him or the practice, it’s all a matter of facing our own “stuff.” He came across as both serious and lighthearted, disseminating even the most esoteric concepts with humor and clarity.
We began by watching a demonstration of what we would be learning over the next 90 minutes, which contained familiar poses like Downward Dog and Chaturanga that flowed from one to the other through innovative transitions similar to the action of a whip or the locomotion of a snake. The Budokon series is beautiful, and Cameron aptly described the practice as follows: “Every time you practice is an opportunity for you to share something beautiful with other people — it’s not about showing off your practice, it’s about sharing it. People should be moved by your movement, because you are pouring your soul into it.”
Physically, the most powerful work we did was in strengthening the shoulder girdle, or, according to Cameron, “activating the Cobra Hood”. Moving from the core, we rippled forward from Downward Dog to a variation of Plank pose, pressing firmly into our hands to fill our the upper back and connect to the source of our strength. Cameron told us that the stronger our shoulder girdle, the lighter our practice becomes. Something to keep working on — press handstand, here I come!
After sweating and breathing through the Budokon Primary Series (with a breathtaking view 2,000 feet above the village, no less!), we bowed and closed our practice with “Osu”, loosely translated as “patience” — patience for ourselves, for our practice, and for those around us. Indeed, the spirit of the Budokon practice lies not only in the circularity of the physical movements, but also in the circular nature of who we are and how we show up in the world. As Cameron reminded us, all things are perfect as they are — we just have to keep remembering to practice patience for all the times that we forget.
~ Julia Lee is a Toronto-based yoga teacher, writer, life coach and Reiki healer whose mission is to help others light up their lives by tapping in to all of their boundless potential. Julia blogs regularly for DoYouYoga and KharmaKhare, and has also been featured in Elephant Journal. Find out more about Julia at www.julialee.ca, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @julialeeyoga.