We are in the air, heading back to Nashville. A couple of slightly ragged but completely transformed and empowered women, drinking our Bloody Mary’s and wearing the same clothes we left in. Inside jokes from our 6-day, 5-city journey filter into our conversations… maybe a little too often but nobody else is listening… along with lyrics from hip hop hits that are still running through our heads. There’s also this continuous movement … spiraling at our core and buzzing in our brains … we are energized, and we have met a side of ourselves that we previously did not know existed. Yes, we are coming home from Buti Yoga Teacher Training.
Buti Defined: an Indian Marathi word meaning A CURE that has been hidden or kept secret. The mission of buti yoga is to help one strip away the layers that hide this cure and bring total freedom and transformation. The movements are inspired by tribal dance to unleash one’s primal energy to nourish and heal our bodies.
They (the founder of buti yoga and the master teachers) are focused on helping women in particular to find this hidden cure but I believe it is relevant to anyone. They express a commitment to creating a community of empowered women who support each other rather than compete with one another. They refer to classes or studios as a Tribe. I can definitely get behind that! Plus, this became a total reality at the training. Our teacher, Kate, said on our first day that in this tribe, we show up for our sisters. No matter what. About halfway through the training, I learned exactly what that meant. In just 2 days, me, Sarah, Kate and 9 French-Canadian girls, formed a tribe, a sisterhood, and we supported each other through something we each had never experienced before.
So let’s back up…. How did we get here and what’s this about 9 French-Canadian girls? Sarah Norris and I embarked on this journey to Buti training 2 days prior to our meeting of the French ladies in Quebec City. And actually, we started our Buti journey a few months prior in our home studio thanks to our own, Chelsea Young, who started the first Buti Tribe in East Nashville! It was not long after my first Buti class that I decided to go to teacher training. And I must note here that I haven’t been inspired to leave Nashville for a yoga training EVER. You could interpret that to mean I am a complacent yoga teacher but all I know is I found a fresh inspiration that totally awakened my desire to learn and grow. And for a skeptic like me, that doesn’t happen often. Never have I endeavored to teach anything outside of the Bikram Method, and here I was scouting our Buti Yoga trainings all over the world! Turned out that Sarah wanted to go too – you can get her side of that story from her sometime – but either way, we had a mission! Buti or Bust! And since the Atlanta training was already full, we decided to high tail it for Quebec City, Canada! I mean, why not, right?
After a breathtaking drive through the White Mountain National Park with fall foliage that I cannot begin to describe or capture on camera and an overnight stay in a rustic cabin in Vermont featuring no electricity, running water, or toilet, we found ourselves in Quebec City. We walked the 30 minutes to Studio Rebel, which is a beautiful studio in downtown Quebec with an herbal infusions bar (hmmm… next Nashville project??). Our walks to and from the studio turned out to be a great way to warm up and decompress from the demanding training. At the studio our first morning, we met our new classmates 9 French-Canadian gals ranging in age from 18 to 40 and in occupation from pole dancing instructor to landscape architect. Going into the training, I knew that we would be in French-speaking Canada but I guess I was expecting Quebec to be more like my trips to Western Canada. Much to my surprise and delight, we were all-in for a French cultural experience! Besides our buti teacher, Kate, who is a total badass from the Midwest, we were the only primarily English-speakers there. Lucky for us, the course was given in English and the French gals were amazing at following along and relaying their conversations back to us in beautifully broken English. The French gals seemed to be unaware of time… taking long relaxing lunch breaks with a full dining experience while we were wondering where the Turnip Truck at up in dis place and where we gonna get a Lara bar from? We had to slow it down … and eat real food… Our new tribe had some differences but we soon found that it didn’t matter and we could learn a thing or two from our new buti sisters.
The training was intense – a crash course you might say but we absorbed a lot and will continue to study and grow in our knowledge of this yoga practice. The knowledge we gained was great but the experience was what truly transformed us and was worth all the miles travelled and all the dollars invested. The first day began with a Master Buti Class (which was phenomenal by the way) and then the remainder of the day was spent in studying the postures and movements, while learning the form – i.e. practicing. We were POOPED by the end of the day. We also learned that we were required to give a 14-minute demo of a buti class the following day as our final test in order to receive our certification. Now, Chelsea had given us a heads up on that requirement but it turned out to be a more involved demo than I had realized – had to incorporate at least 6 different aspects of the buti class. I immediately started planning my night – get back to the flat; shower; have a glass of wine; and then cram, cram, cram until I had the PERFECT routine. Note – we were specifically instructed by Kate NOT to plan, not to prepare a studied routine but of course I wasn’t going to listen to her. By 8:30 when we arrived back at our flat and still needed to find dinner, all bets were off. Shower did not happen; studying did not happen; creating the perfect buti demo did not happen.
Wine did happen, however, and shortly after, we crawled into our bunk beds and our sore bodies immediately fell asleep. About 4 am, I was awoken by dreams of my near-future buti routine dancing through my head. I decided to get up and prepare. Playlist – check. Careful notes of postures and sequences – check. Practicing it 3 times through from start to finish – check. I felt ready, or as ready as I’d ever be. Sarah awoke shortly after I started my third rendition of my routine and said, “I thought we were ordered not to practice the demo? What are you doing?!” Well, my Type A personality just couldn’t help itself. But Sarah was obedient to Kate’s instructions and also true to her spontaneous nature and did not prepare. I smugly thought to myself, “How can Sarah be so negligent? I could never go into this demo without preparing.” But I was yet to be proved wrong by Sarah and by many others!
We finally arrive at the studio and start with an “easy buti class” which is not easy at all and was somewhat defeating for my tired body. I start to wonder if I’m going to feel and be 100% for my demo. I decide to drink more coffee… we then have to draw numbers to see who goes first. Thankfully, I’m number 6, so I’ll have time to perk up. One of the younger french gals is to go first. I honestly wasn’t expecting much from her. I kinda thought she was gonna bomb the demo (I have already admitted to being skeptical but I’m here to find the hidden cure right?). She had never taught a yoga or exercise class, she hadn’t been practicing buti yoga very long, and she seemed quiet and a bit timid. Well she got up there and the music began. It was LOUD! We could feel the bass in our ribcages, and she spoke au francais, “Attention! ….” And that was the last I understood of words. We were moving, and she was fierce! Kate started whooping and then everyone was chiming in! Like war cries coming out at random from all over the room. Everyone was involved. We were all IN IT! She might not have had perfect form or transitions but she was incredible! An inspiring Goddess up there, not holding anything back. All the whooping and music and energy was driving her even more. Before we knew it, her demo was over, and we were sweating, clapping and giving high fives. She nailed it!!! I knew right then and there that my smug study session was going to do nothing for me if I didn’t give it everything I had in the moment. I had a new perspective and I was ready to be and do and give my 100%.
Soon my turn came, and I set up my mat in front. Sarah set hers up next to mine. My music started, and I began with kaphalabati breathing. The fire was lit and we were off! Hair flying, butts shaking, whooping, hollering, jumping, and being totally caught up. Some things I didn’t plan came in and some things I had planned were forgotten. It was as spontaneous as a math/science major like me gets and it was glorious! I was happy. Everyone told me it was great and fun and Sarah said I killed it! I immediately felt the overwhelming support of my buti sisters! I was getting it now. Sarah said that it was like a different Brooke up there, and I would soon say the same about her! She was second to last of the demos and had been chomping at the bit to do her demo. In came a Sarah I had never seen before. Her hair came down, “Bossy” by Kelis came through the speakers, and the creativity just flew out of her! We were spiraling our hips and then our ribcage and then lunging and then in the standing splits. It was an amazing transformation to see! And we all saw it in each other. Not a single person was the same as when they walked in the day before. I have a mental picture of each awe-inspiring soul that got up there and put everything out on the mat. I was proud of all of us. So proud!
So that was the training. We had much to reflect on as we drove off to Montreal that night. We were chasing the sunset towards the west, and it lasted for 2 hours, like seeing 8 different sunsets. The sky was as expansive as we felt.
The Buti training experience can’t really be put into words. It’s a practice for doing not reflecting on. So with that said, get in here and find your tribe!