Should You Give Buti Yoga A Try?

Photo: Olivia Santner
There have been many different iterations of yoga over the years. From power yoga to laughter yoga, dance yoga to dog yoga, it's clear that for some people, a classic chaturanga isn't quite enough.
And that's okay. Whatever gets you exercising, for the benefit of both your body and your mind, is fine by us. Our latest yoga obsession, though? Buti yoga.
Buti yoga isn't by any means a new thing and, since its creation in 2012, the hectic dance meets yoga fusion has gathered a dedicated following. Master trainer Gemma Cousins describes it as a workout that "fuses power yoga with cardio-intensive tribal dance, plyometric and body-sculpting movement and conditioning". FYI, for those unsure, "plyometrics" are exercises where you use a whole lot of energy in a super short space of time. Those people jumping up on blocks on the gym floor while you're trying to stretch? That's plyometrics.
The name apparently comes from Marathi, the language spoken in the Indian state of Maharashtra, in the west of the country. It supposedly means a "cure" or something "kept hidden or secret", although online Marathi dictionaries refuse to confirm this.

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The mindful aspect of yoga is still important in buti; intentions are still set and each class finishes with savasana (that excellent bit at the end where you lie flat on the ground and do nothing) and meditation. "Buti yoga is about being part of a tribe," Gemma explains. "Connecting back to yourself and supporting and lifting each other to be the best versions of ourselves."
As with any other yoga practice, breath work is key. Although there isn't a specific focus on the ujjayi breath, class starts with a round of kapalabhati breathing (where you breathe out in short sharp bursts, tightening the abdomen each time) in order to "create fire in the body".
The practice makes use of the "Spiral Structure Technique" which, Gemma explains, literally refers to making spiral movements with your body. "Spiral movements are used through the torso and hips to open the chakras and awaken 'shakti energy'." This, she explains, is our female energy which "relates to mother nature allowing this energy to travel through the body and to unite with Shiva, our masculine energy". This, she says, "allows us to connect with our divine consciousness".
What that means in fitness terms is that your deep abdominal muscles will be toned through spiral movements: "Instead of linear movements, buti favours movements that challenge the body along all planes of motion."
While the calorie-burning potential is HIIT-worthy (not that that should always be your main focus of a workout), buti isn't consistently intense. "It builds up into an intense cardio burn," says Gemma, but it "always comes back down again, giving you time to regain your energy."
"There is a constant flow to the practice." The result is long, lean muscles and a strong and toned core.
To try buti yoga, find a class at your local Gymbox.

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