Always willing to try new athletic things, I jumped at the opportunity to take a private Budokon class with Leslie Parker at Mindful Movement Centre in Yorkville. Budokon is a fusion of martial arts and yoga that provides an intense work out as well as helpful tips for self-defense. Parker established Mindful Movement five years ago and has years of experience. She has practiced budokon for three years, yoga for 12, and pilates for 20. The studio offers yoga, budokon, and pilates classes complete with traditional yoga studios and several pilates machines.
Mindful Movement’s key feature is to provide participants with a high quality experience that is customized to their goals and needs. As I like to run, Parker tailored a budokon class that focused on working muscles most strained during running. My favourite move was the downward dog to runner’s lunge up to a front kick and back to a runner’s lunge because it helped to stretch my legs. I was a bit clumsy at first, but quickly learned how to maintain my balance while completing all motions of the move.
This was my first time using a pilates machine, which looks like a torture chamber. Originating in WWI to help injured soldiers recuperate, Joseph Pilates used the materials available to him (hospital bed springs) to create exercises that helped patients recover from their injuries. The pilates machine felt great on my legs and ensured correct posture and a wide range of movement while conducting the exercises.
We finished the class with some helpful stretching of my neck and upper back. As I spend much of my time sitting in a desk in front of a computer, I am prone to chronic upper back and neck pain. Parker taught me how to stretch with a ball under my back which eased the discomfort. My favourite part of the class was being blissed out during the finishing stretches!
Interested in trying budokon? Mindful Movement has a beginner’s special for new students: one week of unlimited group classes for $20, or two weeks for $35.
--- Alicia Vandeweghe