'Buti Yoga' Melds Asanas with Rump-Shaking Dance Moves
By Kiratiana Freelon on December 3, 2012 9:20am
UNION SQUARE — Downward-facing dog, meet Sir Mix-A-Lot.
A new fitness craze that melds yoga moves and '90s hip-hop-style dancing is sweeping the city, with the aptly-named "Buti" — pronounced "booty" — yoga.
"Cross your ankles and sit your booty down."
The class, which fuses Miami-style dance, vinyasa-style yoga and plyometric moves — or bursts of movement for strength building — is the brainchild of personal trainer Bizzie Gold.
Gold launched the line — a sweat-inducing, 60- to 90-minute workout — in Los Angeles earlier this year.
"Our workout is an all-in-one strength, flexibility, conditioning — and it's fun," said Gold. "It will probably be one of the most challenging workouts you'll try."
Students swivel their hips in classic static yoga poses like "warrior two," and pop their rears in long-held prayer squats. They jump up and down and side to side for a mash-up of pylometric exercises. Dynamic movements push the momentum to a continuous flow and amp up the cardio burn.
"The way of the workout is through vinyasa [yoga], then you'll start a posture and then you'll start to move your hips. And that's when you do the booty shake," said Gold who equates the hip-shaking moves to early-'90s "booty rolls."
Gold, who comes from a dance background, infuses Buti Yoga with elements of "booty dance that emerged from early-'90s Miami Bass-influenced music, such as Sir Mix-A-Lot's "I Like Big Butts," 69 Boyz's "Tootsee Roll" and Tag Teams' popular 1993 hit "Whoomp! (There It Is)."
Suggestive moves and booty shaking, Gold said, relieves tension held in the hips and promotes self-confidence and esteem. The challenging workout causes most students to sweat and shed layers, stripping down to sports bras and hot yoga pants.
"When I went to my first Buti class, I wore leggings and a top and was sweating," said Welborn, who took her Buti teacher-training course at Crunch Gym in New York with Gold in July. "By the second class, I was wearing booty shorts and a sports bra. I came in proper booty attire."
Many first-timers to Buti Yoga blush and giggle at the demonstration of more provocative moves before embracing it as part of their new fitness regimen.
"There's a lot of stress release — the jumping up and down and then the relaxing," said Midtown East resident Laila Burman, 27. "It's a whole bunch of things in one hour. I get my workout and relaxation."
The abundance of the pylometric jumps in a Buti class is exhilarating, but can be strenuous on sensitive knees, organizers explained. Plyometric exercises are strengthening techniques for experienced athletes, according the Virtual Sports Injury Clinic.
"It's helpful if you have some yoga knowledge, because we don't spend time on alignment or technique," Welborn said. "For a lot of people, it's a high-intensity workout.
National fitness franchise Crunch Fitness partnered with Buti Yoga and offers seven weekly classes across Manhattan and Brooklyn, Gold said.
"We chose to align ourselves with the Buti program. Bizzie has created a program that is innovative, fun, challenging and connects with the various demographics that partake in our group fitness programs," said Kendell Hogan, director of Crunch's group fitness programs.
"I always wanted to do yoga," said Janet Velasquez, 36, from Bayside, after finishing her first Buti Yoga class at Atmananda yoga studio. "For me, this is very much an introduction to it."
Buti Yoga classes are held at studios including Shockra Studio at 114 E. 28th St., Chelsea Studios at 114 E. 28th St., David R. White Studio at 219 W. 19th St., Atmananda at 67 Irving Place and Brooklyn Body at 68 Nevins St.