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    You can almost forget you’re working out as you watch Dana McGowan at the front of the dance floor, her dark hair swaying in time with her lean, petite form. She calls out encouragements to the class (who she calls her “Buti Tribe”), smiling continually. Her energy pulses through the room, and lights undulate on the dance floor in time to the beating music and the twisting of bodies.

    Watching Dana McGowan teach a Monday night Buti Yoga class is a joy, participating to the fullest extent of your ability is exciting, exhausting, exhilarating. By the end of the class you’ll be prone on the dance floor, sweating on your yoga mat, trying to steady the wild beating of your heart. Dana’s been teaching these classes since September, and they’ve become a popular fitness pastime in Louisville. 

    Q. Tell us about yourself!

    DM: “My name is Dana McGowan.  I am 27 years old.  I was born in Connecticut and moved to Tennessee when I was 10.  I lived in Franklin, about 20 minutes south of Nashville for 16 years.  In my free time I love being at home with my husband and two dogs. I love discovering and creating new healthy recipes.  I am always watching yoga videos and searching for new music for my classes.  I enjoy taking classes at different studios with my friends.”  

    Q. What brought you to Louisville?

    DM: “My husband and I moved to Louisville in October 2013 to open our nightclub, Play Louisville.  Play is a theatre that offers drag shows, a state of the art dance floor, and a relaxing front lounge/patio.” 

    Q. So, what are some of your favorite things about living in Louisville?

    DM: “Some of my favorite things about Louisville are the restaurants, shops, and sense of community. I love trying new restaurants!  Some of our favorites are Wild Rita’s and Ghyslain on Market.  Play is located in Butchertown so I love Butchertown Market and enjoy shopping at local boutiques in St. Matthews.  In regards to the term ‘community’ I am in most awe of how Louisville really comes together to help others. In Play's first year of being open, I am proud to say that we have helped raise over $97,000 for the different respective charities and organizations in the surrounding areas.  We look forward to giving back more in the upcoming year.

    Q. So, what exactly is Buti?

    DM: “Buti Yoga is a movement practice that fuses power yoga, tribal dance, and plyometrics into a high intensity workout that transforms the body from inside out.  It is an hour to tap into your mind and move your body in new, beautiful ways.  I like to say that I have never sweated and smiled so much in my life.  This class is for all levels, both men and women.  I hear people say all the time ‘I'm not flexible enough for yoga’ and my response is one of my favorite quotes by T.K.V. Desikachar ‘The success of yoga does not lie in the ability to preform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.’  Just try it!”

    Q. How were you introduced to Buti?

    DM: “My best friend and mentor, Amy Weber, introduced me to Buti Yoga.  I taught BarreAmped at her studio in Franklin for 3 years before I moved to Louisville.  She called me one day and told me to go to Buti Yoga's website and I did one online class and fell in love.  It was so out of my comfort zone but by the end I felt like the best version of myself.  Months after moving to Louisville, Amy called me and said she was hosting a certification at her studio (Releve` One Fitness and Dance) so I traveled back to where my journey in fitness began and got certified.  It was one of the best weekends of my life.  I felt stronger, empowered, and inspired and to know that I would gift that feeling to others was life changing. “

    Q. Where did you get the idea to hold Buti classes at Play?

    DM: “After getting certified in April, I struggled with where I should teach it.  It wasn't until July that I taught my first class for a Lululemon event and everyone's reaction to the class made me realize I have to find somewhere!  The idea of having it at Play was always in the back of my mind and one day I just said, DO IT.  I thought the state-of-the-art light show and sound system would mesh so well with the energy that Buti gives. So I started a facebook group, bought a microphone, and hoped people would be as excited as I was!  I taught my first class in September, and it was one of the best decisions of my life!  The lights are energetic and colorful during class and plyometric intervals and at the end of class during savasana, it feels like you are laying under a sky full of fireflies.  It’s pretty magical. 

    Q. How are the classes going? And what are class details for readers who’d like to attend?

    DM: “Classes are more than I could have hoped for!  We typically have 30 in one class, and have had as many as 80.  Another perk of having it at Play is the amount of space; we can fit up to 100 people in class, which is my goal for my next big event on Monday March 2! 

    Our normal class price is $10 and class is every Monday and Thursday night at 6:30.  All classes are cash only and an ATM is available!  All you need to join is a yoga mat, water, and a SMILE!” 

    Q. Any special events coming up?

    DM: “I will be hosting a MASTER BUTI GLO led by myself and Buti Yoga teacher trainer Tara Winterhalter.  It will be an 80-minute sweat fest taught under black lights complete with glow in the dark body paint and glow sticks.  The cost is $25 a person and you can RSVP to the event through Buti Yoga at Play Louisville's facebook page.  

    Q. Where else are you involved in the Louisville fitness community?

    DM: “I am an educator at Lululemon and working there has introduced me to some incredible people and studios.  I strongly feel that the best teachers never stop being students, so right now my focus is taking yoga classes and reading books to help me grow. I love Betsy's Hot Yoga Louisville and 502 Power Yoga.  I recently got certified in tap n' pow{her}, a balance fusion class designed to shape, tone, and elongate the body delivered with messages of empowerment.  I look forward introducing Louisville to this method soon.”

    You can check out Buti Yoga’s Facebook Page here, and Play’s website here. To RSVP for Master Buti Glow, check out the event page! 

    All images courtesy of Dana McGowan, via Nick Gargala and Ariel Renae Photography

    Elizabeth Myers's picture

    About Elizabeth Myers

    Big fan of bacon and bourbon, deep fried anything, sweet tea and sweet nothings.

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