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Integrating Yogic, Martial, and Living Arts

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Flickr: Tom Mooring
Flickr: Tom Mooring

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Intent Blog's GaiamTV interview series features in-depth conversations with some of the nation's top yoga instructors and wellness experts. This interview features Budokon creator Cameron Shayne.

Hi Cameron! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. You teach a very unique blend of yoga and martial arts, Budokon, that I would guess many of our readers won't be familiar with. Can you describe what a typical Budokon session looks like?

A typical Budokon session opens with meditation, then transitions into yoga asana for range of motion, followed by martial arts techniques for cardiovascular power and finally finishing back in meditation. The session will be short, ranging typically around 45-60 minutes with very little rest between techniques. The techniques are yoga martial arts basics available to any person interested in practicing these arts together.

Tell us a little bit about how you came to create Budokon. What were your early experiences with martial arts, yoga and meditation practices, and what made you want to bring them all together?

Budokon was a spontaneous concept. It did not come from a desire to see yoga and martial arts merged together, but rather a desire to have the two practices compliment each other in my own life. First I learned that all art forms have limitations. Learning these limitations helped me to better embrace each art without unrealistic expectations placed upon it. When you recognize that martial arts benefits from yoga as yang does from yin, hard does from soft, Shiva does from Shakti, then martial arts become a more effective tool for serving society. Yoga in turn benefits from the same strengthening effects that martial arts offers. United and integrated, they are certainly something much more potent then when they are divided. This, like all things, is impossible to conceptualize and can only be understood correctly through direct experience.

There are many people who believe that changing or evolving "lineage-based" practices like yoga and meditation in effect "waters them down." Do you think that's true? What do you think Budokon offers that is different from say a traditional yoga or martial arts practice?

This argument would certainly hold merit if in fact no first generation lineage-based practice remained exactly as it was created by it's creator. This, however, is not the case, as no second generation expression of anything process-oriented is an identical match to its predecessor. In other words, the yoga that we practice today is in itself a reinterpretation of what our yoga forefathers (such as Krishnamacharya) were interpreting from their teachers.

All teachers are forced by a certain Darwinistic nature to adapt their creation to the environment in which must survive. For Krishnamacharya it was the Westernization of Indian, which brought with it a growing interest in yoga from Westerners. In fact, his son Desikachar once asked to be taught how to stop his heart from beating, a technique his father had mastered through yogic pranayama practice, his father refused by explaining it held no practical use in healing everyday people. So in turn Desikachar turned his attention to practical yoga for daily living. This simple moment between father and son, teacher and student demonstrates an evolution or change from first generation transmitter to second generation receiver. There is simply no static version of anything in existence.

What Budokon offers that is unique and evolved from first or previous generations of hath yoga is an integral approach to the study of the universe and our relationship within it through the study of yogic, martial, and living arts. Budokon has a six pillar system which makes a body of science and philosophy used as a moral code to provide a practical means of realizing the highest ideals in daily living. Rather than separating different areas of human knowledge Budokon integrates them together. Budokon studies the tree of life as a whole rather than limiting itself to one branch. This tree is a great organization of diverse elements yoked together by the unifying natural law. Budokon seeks to understand this law and teach its principles.

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