We live in a world overrun with myriad fitness choices. Similar to a restaurant menu with way too many options, finding the right diet, routine or piece of equipment can be overwhelming. Bizzie Gold, founder and creator of BUTI Yoga, wants you to stop looking for a diet and perpetuating fads. Instead, she asks you to change your life, from the inside out, to listen and most importantly, love your body.
“The only thing that works is when it becomes a lifestyle,” Gold said. “If it’s not something you can maintain forever, then you shouldn’t be doing it. You’re going to fall off the plan.”
The plan is BUTI Yoga, described as a “female empowerment lifestyle brand” created by Gold, who fused yoga, tribal dance and plyometrics that formed movements meant to both free and empower women.
“I have been a competitive athlete my entire life, so health and wellness was always important to me, but from an athletic perspective,” said Gold, who before teaching yoga full-time ran her own public relations and marketing firm.
What began as just a fun job to “de-stress” became more of a passion as Gold realized how much she enjoyed teaching. Leaving public relations behind, Gold pursued yoga as her main source of income. As a Yoga Alliance E-RYT (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher) and an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified personal trainer, Gold was more than qualified to help guide others to a healthy path. However, following the complicated and traumatic birth of her first child, Gold’s focus and certainty was turned upside down.
“It was a really traumatic few months, we didn’t know if she was going to make it,” said Gold of her daughter, who doctors say actually died for 20 minutes, but was revived, only to discover that she had cerebral palsy. “I was so bogged down, getting back into shape was not a priority.”
With a 55-pound weight gain on her small 5-foot stature, Gold realized that once life seemed to calm down and she was able to go back to her regular yoga practice, her typical style was just not enough. Gold then added plyometric movements and elements of tribal dance to her yoga classes, first naming it “Not Your Mama’s Yoga” and received an incredible response.
“I suddenly had students saying, ‘I don’t know what this is, but I’m loving it and please don’t stop’,” said Gold, whose first classes were about half women and half men.
Over time it morphed more into a female empowering feminine practice and became known as BUTI, which means “the cure to something hidden below the surface or kept secret.” According to BUTI’s website, “it is an Indian Marathi word that was used in reference to many Ayurvedic herbs considered ‘jadi buti.’” Ayurveda, a mainly Hindu tradition, focuses on holistic approaches, relying more onto natural and plant-based medicines and treatments, which is appropriate for Gold and BUTI who states their belief that “all women have the ability to heal themselves through movement, connection and nutrition.”
“As my needs as a woman changed, the class began to change as well,” Gold said, reflecting on the progression that became what her practice is today. “I had to rebuild my confidence. I was emotionally drained. My whole world was turned upside down; it put me in a new place. I got hit with the female condition, which was actually brilliant.”
After feeling as if her once fit and trained body had failed her during pregnancy, Gold was determined to turn that despair into her motivation to pull herself back up. Through that purpose, Gold knew she could help other women as well.
“I knew this would be huge once I had packaged and marketed it properly, that it would spread like wildflower,” Gold said. “All women love BUTI and nobody has anything in common other than that they’re striving for wellness.”
Gold’s clients and BUTI lovers range from all ages, races and religions, spanning from all over the country and internationally, proving to Gold that she has hit a cord within the female spirit.
“She gave me life. To understand that you should know, I was at a low point in my life when I stumbled across BUTI. My health numbers were bad, my love life was less than good, and my work was dull and mundane. Through her program and her light she gave me life,” said Debra Leggio, 46, from Manhattan, New York. “I’m no longer gray and dead inside; I feel like this was meant for me. I’m fairly new to BUTI only two months maybe, but I feel like I’m home.”
While promoting health and wellness, upon joining the “BUTI Tribe,” it is quickly pointed out that they have a “zero tolerance policy for catty and competitive behavior,” stressing the need for women to celebrate and empower each other, not to judge and compare.
“Our natural way is to compete against each other. We’re an individualistic society, with the need to be better than the next person,” said Gold who, with BUTI, wants to promote a “primal tribal method” where individuals work together, supporting each other, noting that “we’re all going to flourish because we’re supporting each other.”
Upon signing up with Gold and her “tribe,” many find the support she talks about on Facebook, in a private forum where members come together to encourage and uplift each other. As BUTI grows, the forum becomes more of a home base for those looking for guidance or wanting to learn more.
“Bizzie is a freakin’ goddess. She has brought out this confidence and strength that I never knew I possessed. She has created this tribe of self-empowered and beautiful women inside and out that are here to lift one another up not knock down,” said Sara Mills of Brighton, Colorado. “No matter what one is going through, whether it be life struggles or conquering a new pose, we are all here to listen and help each other out or congratulate; it’s truly a group you can count on and we owe that all to the sexy powerhouse Bizzie Gold.”
While the praise is high and un-ending among her “tribe” she calls BUTI-sattvas, Gold admits it’s still a challenge to break through the masses and get her message out. Despite being featured in SELF and In Style magazines and named one of the hottest workouts in 2013 by both the “Today” show and Shape magazine, Gold feels there is still yet a ways to go.
“I’m unwilling to pander to what mass marketing wants you to do,” said Gold, who with a background of PR and marketing says she knows the game all too well. “It takes longer to break through the masses, but I’m not willing to back off of my beliefs.”
Diagnosed in 2004 with Lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs, Gold found herself hospitalized four to five times a year until she decided a more holistic approach, which remains a hot topic battled amongst science and fitness experts alike.
“Cutting out grain and dairy, I literally never had a symptom again,” said Gold, who was able to come off all medications and is a huge proponent of going grain-free and recommends her clients to do the same.
While a diet that eliminates grains is required for those with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine triggered by gluten, it was also discovered in 2011 by Peter Gibson, a professor of gastroenterology at Monash University and director of the GI Unit at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, that non-celiac gluten sensitivity was indeed a genuine condition that also benefited from this diet. However, just recently Gibson’s studies were retracted. Gibson, in a new study released by the American Gastroenterological Association, came to the conclusion that beyond those who have celiac disease, gluten intolerance exists only in the mind. And so the battle rages on, with many unsatisfied with these findings and others working hard to convince them otherwise. Gold, meanwhile maintains her stance and belief in the elimination of grains, noting if many major dog-food companies can make the switch to grain-free food for dogs, then humans should be suspicious of the foods they eat as well.
Realizing that not every person has the same food sensitivities, Gold is not about pushing her beliefs on others, instead asking clients to dig deeper with their food choices to see what works for them.
“Women need to learn how to listen to what their body wants,” said Gold, who insists that you can workout less and eat more so long as you’re eating the right foods.
Currently in the process of setting up their first flagship location, Gold and her BUTI team are looking to switch to physical studio models that “will not just be a yoga studio” but refrains from giving away any more detail than that. What she will divulge is that the ultimate goal is not to have BUTI dependent on one person, though many look to Gold as their leader.
“My number one goal is to help as many women as possible in the world,” said Gold. “I want to be remembered for doing away with the coach-student relationship; I think it’s really disempowering. I want to build a tribe of women saying, ‘Listen, I’m going to teach you how to do it on your own so you can teach other women to do it on their own as well.’ I want to be able to be a steward of that type of responsibility to other women.”
Those interested in joining this tribe can find out more at butiyoga.com where you can learn where to find classes in specific cities or sign up for online classes that can be done in the privacy of home. There is also information on how to be certified as a BUTI instructor and help grow the tribe and unleash your inner BUTI Lioness.