The music will move you, but you’re unlikely to have time for intentional breathing.
WE STARTED CLASS seated on the floor and immediately dived into some fierce arm-pumping and head-whipping — the energy ramped up fast, and I knew this was only the beginning.
I was ready for an eclectic experience at a Buti Yoga class, which I took at Get Zen Hot Yoga in Bellevue. Based on the description — yoga, tribal dance and plyometrics/strength training — I anticipated a vigorous, dance-heavy class.
I was right. After our brisk warmup on the floor, teacher Vanessa Estes had us in a reverse tabletop pose, hands and feet on the floor, chests facing up to the ceiling. We bounced and swiveled our hips while holding the pose, and added in leg lifts and leg lowers that made my legs and shoulders burn; I could tell I was going to feel this in my shoulders the next day. We also jumped our feet wide and hopped back in, pushing my heart rate up.
We moved to downward facing dog, bending our knees to warm up our legs before moving into familiar poses with lots of extras, like a flip dog, where we pulsed our hips up and down, and a lunge, where we pushed and pulled our arms in and out.
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Sometimes, we were on our knees, our hips slightly lifted while doing hip circles, or slapping the floor with one hand at a time and reaching up to the ceiling. Other times, we were in a squat on the balls of our feet, working in hip circles. We also did wide, high squats, lifting one leg at a time.
In the balance pose airplane, leaning forward on one leg, we held on to neighbors to stay upright, then held on again for another balancing pose so we could lean into a backbend with extra support.
The pace was fast. It was hard to catch my breath, let alone do any intentional breathing.
That didn’t seem to be the point.
The class included a lot of drumming on the floor, pounding with our hands, and periodic yelping and yipping from Estes and regulars. At one point, the woman next to me smiled and said, “I can’t hear you.” I wasn’t interested in yelping. Estes also encouraged students with ponytails to let their hair down and whip it around.
I preferred to feel freedom and expression from the movements. I especially liked lifting one leg, and hopping in circles, or jumping in circles in high squats. It felt good to add more circular motion into my torso and hips, and to push my body in different directions.
You can build a lot of strength in Buti Yoga, particularly with the combination of balance, strength and constant movement. We also worked to isolate one glute at a time during one seated pose, which required a lot of focus.
The music is a big part of a Buti Yoga class, and as we did cool-down stretches, the class sang along to “Queen” by Jessie J: “I love my body, I love my skin, I am a goddess, I am a queen.” We did some final thumps on the floor with our hands, hitting the ground and tapping our chests, then moved into final rest.
I appreciate it when people combine disciplines of movement; a lot of creative spirit goes into Buti Yoga. I am more inclined to keep my yoga and dance classes independent of each other. If, however, you wish yoga had more dancing, freedom and fun, and that it always came with an energizing playlist, Buti Yoga could be the right fit for you.