This month we feature Jennilee Toner, Master Trainer for our upcoming 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training program. She is also the author of THE PERFECT CHATURANGA - A Comprehensive View of the Human Body Through the Practice of Vinyasa Yoga.
Jennilee wrote an inspiring article about Buti and her passion and appreciation for this practice. We are excited she is part of the Buti family and bringing her extensive knowledge of anatomy and yoga to our community.
I am not writing this for all the nay-sayers.I am writing this for us…lovers, practitioners and teachers of Buti Yoga. It is an offering from the deepest recesses of my heart - so that we butisattvas can truly know ourselves as whole, integrated, empowered yogic beings who embody the fullness of NOW. And, if necessary, defend ourselves from those who would deem us unworthy.
I LOVE YOGA! I love practicing various forms of hatha-vinyasa yoga, I love teaching safe, creative and intelligent sequences of asanas, I love traveling the world teaching anatomy to yoga teachers-in-training, I love diving deep into the teachings of the Veda
s, the Upanishads, and the Puranas, I love sharing the mythology behind the asanas through storytelling, I love studying and having in-depth discussions of The Bhagavad Gita, Patanjalis Yoga Sutras, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, I love Vipassana meditation, and most of all I LOVE PRACTICING AND TEACHING BUTI YOGA!!!
After 23 years of practicing and studying yoga, 15 years of teaching hatha-vinyasa yoga, 11 years of a dedicated vipassana meditation practice, and 9 years of international travel with my passion for yoga anatomy, I have found my way to the most amazing mind-body-spirit integration system imaginable for the modern day mover, shaker and transformer - BUTI YOGA!!!
Created by the gorgeous, brilliant, and intuitive Bizzie Gold in 2010, this highly evolved system of yoga is perfect for synthesizing and harmonizing all the fragmented parts of our bodies and minds. Buti yoga is a safe, intelligent, creative and powerful blend of tribal dance and primal movements, core strengthening and stabilization, and vinyasa flow yoga. Buti is a Marathi Indian term for the cure for something thats been hidden away or kept secret. Buti Yoga is just that - a practice of going deep within to discover your svadharma: who you are, why you are here, what your true power and full potential is, and how to positively affect, transform and heal the world around you.
“Yoga is a spectacularly multifaceted phenomenon, and as such it is very difficult to define because there are exceptions to every single rule” - Georg Feurstein.
Yoga scholar Georg Feuerstein writes in his The Yoga Traditions: Its History, Literature, Philosophy and Practice: “Yoga is a spectacularly multifaceted phenomenon, and as such it is very difficult to define because there are exceptions to every single rule. What all branches and schools of Yoga have in common, however, is that they are concerned with a state of being, or consciousness, that is truly foundational.” My personal definition of yoga is a state of BEING completely absorbed in the right here and right now. And…in the right here and right now. And again…in the right here and right now. For me this this is our very foundation: THE NOW. This is very much in alignment with yoga pioneer, Senior Ashtanga Yoga teacher Richard Freeman’s words, “By digging deeply we come across a direct experience of what is happening right here, right now. In that begins our awakening into the actual nature of pure consciousness and the function of the mind. There is a taste of complete freedom and liberation,” Buti Yoga is a practice that encourages this deep dive into self, a fine tuned and refined state of being in the now, in order to be truly liberated, truly free.
10 more definitions of yoga and how Buti Yoga “fits the bill”
- 1. It invokes the yoga of the mind.
- 2. sa dhīnāṁ yogaṁ invati
1.18.7 Rig Veda
The Rig–Veda is the oldest of the four vedas (ancient texts of knowledge) dating back to 1500 B.C.E.. It is considered the most revered and important of the four. The Rig-Veda’s collection of hymns and mantras were used to inspire, cultivate and invoke qualities and states of health and happiness, peace and prosperity, and courage, wisdom and success. The practice of Buti Yoga, and more importantly the COMMUNITY (sangha) of butisattvas (those who have awakened to the power to heal their own selves), encourages these same yogic qualities and states of both body and mind. This can be seen in the Buti Yoga Core Values:
BUILD the world you want to live in.
You can only LEAD others as far as you’ve led yourself.
The greatest gift you can give, is the gift of unwavering FRIENDSHIP.
One can only be as spiritual as they are GROUNDED.
True leaders don’t create followers - they CREATE more leaders.
2.Yoga is Skillfulness in Action.
yogah karmasu kaushalam
2.50 The Bhagavad Gita
Krishna stressed this definition to the warrior Arjuna in the ancient text of yoga, The Bhagavad Gita: Yoga is Skillfulness in Action. I think anyone who practices and teaches Buti Yoga can attest to the skillfulness needed to practice this system well. For example, the small, fine-tuned movements of Bizzie Gold’s trademarked Spiral Structure Technique (utilized to go deeper and deeper within one’s physical body to transform and heal) are not easy to master. It takes immense mind focus and body control. These movements are a reminder of some of the ancient, purifying, yogic, kriya techniques (such as Nauli and Kapalabhati) systematized and outlined in the 15th century text, Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
1.1 Vyasa’s Yoga-Bhashya
Georg Feuerstein comments on Vyasa’s, author of India’s epic poem The Mahabharata, definition: “The harnessing of attention, or consciousness, to the point of reaching ecstatic condition (samadhi) in which the mechanics of the mind are at least temporarily transcended”. The brilliance of the Buti Yoga flow formula (centering, the rise, the peak, the cooling down, nd the rest) lends to the experience of this clear mind-body-spirit state of ecstasy. So focused on postures, movements, transitions and breath, AND the ecstatic feeling of life force energy pulsating throughout the body, the butisattva is not thinking, worrying, judging, or resenting…No! No thought at all. Simply being and feeling one’s natural state of Ananda, BLISS.
4. Yoga is the Cessation of the Fluctuations of the Mind.
1.2 Yogash citta vrtti nirodha
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, yoga text written before the 4th century CE
Sutra one and two are my favorite Patanjali sutras. One states Atha Yoga Anushasanam, NOW IS THE TIME FOR YOGA. Right here, right now…yoga is. And then two defines yoga as the cessation of the fluctuations, the disturbances, or the vascillations of the “mind stuff”. I can’t say it enough - WHEN I PRACTICE BUTI YOGA MY MIND IS CLEAR. I am not thinking of anything else but how my body moves and feels in each and every moment. The music, the movements, and my breath all sync up into one unified dance of life experience. No thoughts - only clarity of body and mind. The practice of Buti Yoga most definitely ceases the fluctuations of the mind!
5. “Yoga is Collectedness (samadhana).”
8th Century Yoga Philosopher Shankara’s Yoga-Sutra-Bhashya-Vivarana
The Buti Yoga tribe is something that needs to be experienced to be fully understood. I have never felt so welcomed into a community of yogis, so accepted, so readily celebrated for my knowledge and expertise. There was an IMMEDIATE sense of “I Belong” and “I Have Found My Tribe, My Yoga People”. There is so much celebration in the Buti Yoga community of different body shapes and sizes, different skin color and heritages, and different sexual, gender and religious preferences. From day one I have only experienced the essence of ONENESS with this group of butisattvas; never once have I experienced even the slightest bit of anyone buying into the illusion of separateness.
6. Yoga is an art, a science and a philosophy. The practice of yoga helps the lazy body to
become active and vibrant. It transforms the mind, making it harmonious. Yoga helps to keep one’s body and mind in
tune with the essence, the soul, so that all three are blended into one.
BKS Iyengar, Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
My winter-imbalanced kapha constitution loves this quote! In years past, there have been so many days when I’ve been cuddled on the couch with my puppies in zero degree weather and I could feel the big whining “No!” tantrum to productive activity and exercise. This year, Buti Yoga got me practicing on my mat nearly every day with zest and vitality. And on the days I went to teach my Buti yoga classes, I spent hours watching Buti Tones (videos on butiyoga.com taught by some of the most creative and inspiring Buti Yoga Teachers out there!) and making exciting, heart pumping, soul-stirring and body shaking playlists. This was one of the most rich and exciting winters I have had in a very long time! Thank you Buti Yoga!
*And for the vata and pitta constitutions - Buti Yoga will ground you and calm you!!! It is truly a practice for all three Ayurvedic constitutions!
7. Yoga is a way to freedom. By its constant practice, we can free ourselves from fear, anguish and
Indra Devi, first female to be taught yoga by Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (grandfather of modern day vinyasa yoga)
As I experience myself, and watch my students, let go (really let conditioned inhibitions go) and move, shake and spiral our bodies in ways I know I personally had not explored in a long time (if ever before!) I often find tears forming and, often, streaming down my face. So many times while practicing Buti Yoga I have felt DEEP feelings of exhilaration upon hearing the beat drop and the move shift. These intense sensations in my heart region are literally heart breaking; I can honestly say with Buti Yoga I have broken free from some of the deep-set restrictive chains of generational conditioning. During a Buti Yoga class I feel SO AWAKE, SO ALIVE, SO FREE! Nothing short of Ananda, BLISS. And to be a witness of the shifting of emotions on the faces of my students as they feel the same, their eyes closed in bliss, their heads thrown back in pleasure, their strong and supple bodies exploring authentic motion as well as finding the sthira (stability) and sukkha (sweetness) in the stillness of yoga asanas offered, OUR voices rising together to affirm shift and transformation….ahhhhhhhhhhhh (words can not describe how freeing and blissful this all is).
8. Yoga is a technology of awareness.
Yogi Bhajan, first to bring Kundalini Yoga to the west, creator of 3HO Kundalini Foundation
The intelligence of the Buti Yoga bell curve formula encourages deep awareness: a grounding, a clearing, an awakening, a transformation, an integration, and a settling back into the now with a fresh awareness of a newly transformed sense of self. Buti Yoga always takes the time, in the beginning and at the end of class (as well as when first landing in asanas before layering on dynamic movement), to settle into deep awareness. Our classes begin with sitting with what is before initiating our clearing and awakening core and arm movements. Many of the opening arm movements in a Buti Yoga practice actually remind me of the kriya techniques found in Kundalini Yoga. As a technology, Yogi Bhajan has created set sequences for the purpose of clearing the central channel (Sushumna) for Shakti Kundalini energy, the divine creative feminine principle, to rise up in. So does Buti Yoga!
9. Hatha Yoga is a system of working with the body and breath in order to investigate meditatively
deep and subtle feelings, responses, and reflexes in relation to the conditioning of the mind.
Richard Freeman, US pioneer of Ashtanga Yoga
With this quote I would like to introduce the Buti Yoga way of life: the yogic lifestyle of harmonizing and synthesizing the body-mind-spirit complex with proper diet, proper exercise, deep insight, meditation and self-study, and right action in the world. Bizzie Gold has created companies to support these: Golden Ration Nutrition (100% grain-free, dairy-free and gluten-free goodness to help support the body and mind), NKD (yoga clothes and activewear for all shapes and sizes that helps free the wearer of any and all inhibitions), and The Break Method (“a structured self-inquiry program that uses scientific processes to evaluate your belief systems, uncover your emotional addiction patterns and triggers while rapidly rewiring them with logical tools rooted in cold-hard neuroscience”). There is so much support created around Buti Yoga to help us investigate our physical and physiological patterns and break free from our conditioning!
*No one is forced to follow the dairy free and grain-free choices made by Bizzie…but we all seem to WANT to. Especially when we witness her boundless energy, her radiant health and her brilliant mind. And the same of those that work closely with her in leadership roles. We want what she/they all practice, what she/they all LIVE, and what she/they are all compelled to teach and continuously share with us. Yes ma’am…i’ll have another!
10. Yoga is the experience of the Oneness, that thou art that, just as a wave is one with the ocean and never separates from it. That state of Yoga can only be reached when the mind becomes completely purified and freed from all defects. In that state, the limitations of body, mind, intellect and relative world awareness are transcended, and one experiences their Divine Self. Yogi Hari, creator of Sampoorna Yoga in his Hatha Yoga Pradipika
The practice, the lifestyle, the community - oneness could sum up all of what Buti Yoga means. Cure what has been hidden so you can be crystal clear and one with the now. Sweat with Intention so you can clean and clear and be one with the now. Remove toxins and inflammation from your diet so you can be clean and clear for the now. Love your sister and brothers as you love yourself RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. Be one with the now where all the Divine Magic is happening. THAT IS YOGA. THAT IS BUTI YOGA.
“Collectively and individually we will definitely have to find our own answers - our own yoga” - Georg Feurstein.
How anyone can think Buti yoga is not “real” yoga hurts my heart (and blows my mind). Apparently there are many “real” yogis out there that judge the practice and deem it not worthy of being classified as “real” yoga. It is such a shame that in the midst of practice, transformation, and celebration we butisattvas (our tribe of Buti Yogis & Yoginis that have discovered our own abilities to heal from within) have to defend this amazing yoga practice as “real yoga”. But if we must…hopefully this article (and my next one FASCIA: What Buti Yoga Offers That Other Systems Don’t) gives us a deeper “real yoga” awareness and how what we love and practice DEFINITELY fits the real yoga bill!!!
In the end, this quote from OG yoga pioneer BKS Iyengar sums it up best:
“In my sadhana, my body, mind intelligence and awareness became a laboratory for experience.” That is what Buti Yoga really is. A fun and dynamic yoga practice that encourages us to individually go within, experiment with what is showing up right here and right now, and KNOW THYSELF - fearlessly, nearly naked. bright lights and all - in order to heal ourselves. Then share, celebrate and respect each other’s growth as a community and together support each other as we lead others to do the work necessary to also HEAL and TRANSFORM, both the world within and the world around us!
Find more about Jennilee here: