When I first heard the words “Buti Yoga” I’ll admit that I had visions of a yoga class with a whole lot of booties up in the air. Not that I had any issues with such a thing, but I was curious to know more about this recent nationwide soulful and tribal phenomenon.
BUTI, which comes from the Marathi word meaning “the cure to something hidden below the surface or kept secret,” is a female-empowering lifestyle brand whose main mission is to help women unlock their true physical and emotional potential, while cultivating a community of strong, confident women. Their signature style fuses yoga, tribal-inspired dance and plyometrics into a high-intensity workout that transforms the body from the inside out.
Founded by fitness expert Bizzie Gold, BUTI Yoga was born from a combination of personal trauma, post-pregnancy weight gain and a sense of overwhelming life circumstances. Finding it difficult to go back to teach3ing traditional yoga, Bizzie felt inspired to move her body in a different way to work through the pain, trauma and extensive weight gain and feel like a strong, sexy woman again. In turn, she created a much-needed form of movement to help women not only achieve physical results, but find themselves.
When I learned that BUTI Yoga was being taught at Defying Gravity School of Dance in Cranston, to say I was eager to check it out is an understatement. The moment I was greeted by instructor Alyssa Mandeville, I was already impressed. Physically, Alyssa is a powerhouse – one of which clearly stated hard work and dedication. Even more apparent than her outward strength was the spirit of her happiness. Her ear-to-ear smile didn’t leave her face the entire time I spoke to her and it was clear she was passionate about the discipline I was getting ready to take part of.
Alyssa’s fitness background was one of rigorous training – running four to five miles a day and heavy weightlifting. When a friend mentioned BUTI Yoga to her, she tried it and loved it, which prompted her to commend it on BUTI Yoga’s Facebook page, where she was challenged by creator Bizzie Gold to practice it, and only it, for one month. Alyssa did just that and was hooked, never looking back. For her, BUTI became her everyday sanctuary and an empowering place of peace, strength and emotional release, as she grieved the loss of her eldest daughter and father. It changed her life for the better, building confidence and allowing her to believe in herself and in her tribe of supportive women joining along for the ride.
When class was ready to get started, Alyssa dimmed the lights and lit candles. The ambiance is one that promotes self-confidence and embracement of your body. One where you feel strong and sexy as the lights go down and you begin to move your hips. One where if you want to rip your shirt off and go at it in just a sports bra, you won’t be judged. It was a room set for transformation of body, mind and spirit and a safe place to just let go. She cranked the music (which, by the way, was the best music I’ve heard played in any fitness class I’ve ever taken) and we moved into position.
The next hour was nothing short of amazing. It was also nothing short of hip circles, bootie thrusts and other lower-body movements I’d break out walking down the street if it was socially acceptable. We didn’t stop moving for an hour. We’d circulate from a yoga position, to a plyometric in that position to a hip opener – which is what BUTI emphasizes, since women tend to hold a lot of stuck energy in their hips. Every single move also engaged every ounce of my core. There were times that I felt like I was belly dancing and times where I felt like I was performing a spiritual tribal ceremony and times where I felt straight up primal and sweaty. In fact, my entire body, down to the end of my ponytail, was blanketed in sweat throughout this entire class and it was a sweat that made me feel beautiful.
I was captivated by Alyssa’s movements as she taught class. She was clearly really good at this (and incredibly flexible), which blew my mind for someone having zero yoga background (and a lot of muscle-tightening weightlifting) before starting BUTI. I am as flexible as a steel rod and my hips didn’t do quite what hers did (even though they felt great trying), but from speaking with her and the other regulars in class, it was apparent that consistently attending this workout could quickly fix that.
I loved how BUTI Yoga made me feel. Like a kick-ass, confident and sexy woman who just had one hell of a workout. It will gladly become part of my weekly routine and you might just want it to become part of yours.
BUTI Yoga at Defying Gravity. 140 Comstock Pkwy Unit #8, Cranston. 714-7530