BudoFlow Yoga at Zoga Yoga Cafe fuses yoga Budokon

Kara Martin 10:08 02/07/2015
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  • More than Yoga: BudoFlow is another brilliant adaptation of yoga asanas.

    From Yogalates’ ingenious blend of yoga and Pilates to the guy whose Koga (yoga meets Kickboxing) classes were introduced with great success to a Westchester Martial Arts studio at the start of the year… it seems there’s no slowing down the hybridisation of India’s ancient mind and body artform. 

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    Purists may never warm to it but we can’t deny that hybrid yoga classes are proving a great way to renew or attract peoples’ interest to the mat. And after trying it this week, we’re expecting great things from the latest in line, BudoFlow. It is a fusion of yoga and some Budokon elements/techniques, created by local fitness fanatic and martial artist Becky Hart.

    Held Sundays and Mondays during Ramadan at the new yoga studio and café Zoga – who clearly aren’t afraid to take on board something new themselves – BudoFlow Yoga puts contact-free martial arts moves in the same room as asana to better develop flexibility, stability, agility and body organisation. 

    The strong and playful practice’s movements are challenging, controlled and strengthen the entire body outside and in, developing balance, focus and a range of motion as well. 

    Hart, also a FlyBarre teacher in Downtown Dubai’s popular cycle and barre cult club Flywheel Sports, has been into mixed martial arts since the age of 12 and has since then taken many other fitness disciplines into consideration including yoga, and could not wait to introduce the two in one studio.

    “Why? It’s the integration of movement, wanting to allow the body to flow and get some range of motion,” she says.

    “I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people who struggle just trying to hold the static postures [in yoga] and don’t allow their bodies to get into position. But when they come and combine the integration and that flow of movement, they can actually get further than when they’re just trying to hold all the time and eventually tense up.

    “I think BudoFlow will be most beneficial to people who have already got a bit of a healthy foundation in movement, have done a fair amount of training but who want to be able to coordinate better. They may have done Hatha Yoga, but want to take their level a little further and be able to do more advanced and powerful techniques such as balances. And importantly, be able to do it with control, whether they’re on one leg or one arm or whatever. 

    “But generally, any male and female of all levels, looking to develop their flexibility and strength, develop mental focus will enjoy it. That said, because of all the arm balance work, including things like moving into handstands and gymnastic movements, BudoFlow Yoga is not suitable for pregnant women.”

    In our introductory session, a powerful and incredibly slow and controlled flow, we did a number of rolling fluid movements from neck to all along the spine and back, just to wake and warm everything up before going into a series of basic but beautifully transitioned standing, lunging, and mild twisting balancing yoga postures.

    Amazing grace: BudoFlow Yoga is a clever mix of the ancient Indian artform with Budokon.

    Despite having a strong yoga practice ourselves, once the martial arts element was introduced in the later portion of an hour and fifteen minutes, it got us questioning just how strong we really are in the grand scheme of things, as well as pondering the possibilities of how much stronger we can really be if we just moved more in different ways and planes.

    It’s true yoga works wonders in opening up the muscles and the mind, but imagine what yoga and the discipline of martial arts could do, we thought. Indeed, the seemingly nonstop series of elegant, sweeping karate-like moves continued to further test our balance and stamina too.

    Becky is very good at utilising her years of knowledge and skill to enable your body to move through asana with power and grace, and we suspect, after all the little aches and pains the next day, that it will all really pay off. 

    We certainly worked that much harder every time we caught a glimpse of her incredibly sculpted, muscular yet lean figure in the mirror as it performed controlled but easeful transitions and contortions – obviously the result of commitment to incorporating as many complementary disciplines as possible into your fitness routine rather than sticking to, well, a routine, and one that your body will eventually get tired of.

    Budokon is a full contact martial artform that incorporates elements of capoeira, jiu jitsu and taekwondo among others, and we were actually surprised how well such an opposing technique fit in on the yoga mat.

    As strange as this will sound, the practice left us feeling comfortably out of our comfort zone; that is to say challenged, energised and excited, as well as grounded; a weird and welcome combination. Kind of like yoga and mixed martial arts.

    What: BudoFlow Yoga
    Where: Zoga Yoga Café, Southridge 6, Downtown Burj Khalifa
    When: Currently, classes take place Sundays and Mondays at 20:15 during Ramadan. 
    Cost: Dh85 a session, but your first class is free
    Contact & Info: www.zoga.ae; 04 276 7657; [email protected]

    You can also keep up to date with the BudoFlow community and any of Becky’s other pop-up sessions via her new Facebook page ‘BudoFlow Yoga’.