I was first introduced to Budokon® Yoga back in the fall while in the early stages of my yoga teacher training program. One of my favorite teachers infused our normal sun salutations with a technique called the “rolling wave” and I was absolutely entranced by the graceful movement. I can be a complete klutz (some might say spaz) in my everyday life but when I practice Budokon® Yoga I feel like a prima ballerina. Long and lean, soft and strong.
Budokon® is all about circular transitions. You never stop as you progress from one posture to another. This constant movement means you have to be connected to your core and shoulder girdle (the muscles across your upper back and in between your shoulder blades) at all times. To practice the primary series is to be fully engaged in the muscular body, completely focused mentally and emotionally, and wholly committed to your breath work. For all you skeptics out there, believe me when I tell you I have never been stronger in my entire life.
Captivated by this movement art, I decided several months ago to pursue a Budokon® Yoga teaching certification immediately following my Vinyasa Power Yoga teacher training. Last weekend I traveled to the Utopian community of Doylestown in Bucks County, PA for a weekend of intensive training with an incredible family of yogis and martial artists. During our training I learned that in Japanese Bu means warrior, Do means way, and Kon means spirit. Thus, Budokon® literally means “the way of the warrior spirit.” This style of yoga does make you feel like an Amazon and/or ninja. Fierce and sneaky. It is also the most meditative yoga style I have experienced to date. The spinal rolling and circular transitions require complete presence. It is easy to get lost in the movement and walk out of a class feeling like you’ve just participated in a long meditation–except that your abs, glutes and shoulders will be screaming.
All classes begin with the “rolling wave”, which fires up your core and shoulder girdle and teaches your body how to smoothly transition from downward facing dog into countless other asanas without dragging your feet across the mat. It then progresses through several twisting, rolling, and balancing sections until reaching its climax: the animals. Above you can see me in preparation for a “leaping leopard,” where you spring from a deep squat turning 180 degrees around mid-air and landing back in your squat. This powerful plyometric move is just the beginning of a string of dynamic jumping feats of strength and agility. Believe you me, the animal section in no joke. If you don’t think yoga is aerobic or cardiovascular, think again. You will be panting like a panther after you make it through this section for the first few times, no exceptions no matter how fit you think you are.
I am proud to say that I survived the 10-hour training days in one piece minus a severely bruised toe, and that was from nailing my foot on the metal leg of a locker room bench–like I said before, I’m a klutz. I can’t wait to begin sharing this beautiful, strength-building practice with my students in DC. Speaking of (shameless plug!), I will be teaching a Budokon® Flow class at STROGA every Sunday at noon beginning June 2nd. Come ride the rolling wave with me this summer and get stronger than you’ve ever been before!