It’s easy to admire friends with a monastic devotion to fitness. People with killer abs who beseech you to lower your carb intake by 25 percent and fast for 16 hours a day.
But that level of dedication just isn’t for everyone. Some of us just want to feel healthy and good for an hour or two during the day and Be Ok Studio in Lewiston is all about achieving positive vibes through exercise.
Located just down the street from the drinks-and-dining destinations of Center Street, Be OK is a yoga-centric fitness studio that strives for balance.
“I’m for wellness, but I’m not like full force,” says owner Bobbi Stokes. “Sometimes, I wish I was, but then again, I’m all about work hard, party hard. There are some places that are like, let’s eats plants and work out. But I’m more like, let’s have some drinks and kick some butt, then we’ll all be good to go.”
Just because Be Ok is all about chill vibes, that doesn’t mean they’re getting out the Playstations and bean bag chairs. A major emphasis at Be OK is the rhythmic, plyometric and cardio-heavy form of yoga known as Buti. Soundtracked by tribalist dance music, Buti classes are gonna make you sweat. It’s not uncommon for a single hour-long class to burn nearly 1000 calories.
The point of all that activity isn’t just about fitness. It’s also about releasing stress and the healing power of losing yourself in the moment: The word ‘Buti’ is a Marathi Indian term that means the cure to something hidden away.
“Sometimes during a class, we hit the ground, just to get your shit out, to get everything out,” Stokes says. “So, we bang the ground with our hands.”
Buti yoga was developed in 2012 by celebrity trainer Bizzie Gold. Instead of focusing on lateral movements like those done in a standard yoga class, Buti yoga emphasizes spiral core movements that are meant to strengthen the abdominals. Buti is also about the collective. About people moving together in a way that feels intense and fun — like the peak moments of a night out, when it seems like everyone is on the dance floor moving independently, but also in unison.
“When I showed up to my first Buti class, they started blasting Native American music,” Stokes says. “I was like, ‘Oh shit this is fantastic!’ Because that’s the kind of music and dancing they had at our pep rallies in high school in Wheatfield. I heard that and I took off flying with it!”
A Buti yoga class probably sounds intense, and it is. But in keeping with the overall mission at Be OK, you don’t have to be in peak fitness to enjoy it.
“I have an 87-year-old woman coming to my classes on the regular,” Stokes says. “She’s had knee replacements and hip replacements. The yoga is hard for her, but she still comes because she loves the music, and she loves how it makes her feel to be there.”
The studio also holds occasional Buti Glow sessions that involve body paint, black lights, and an open bar. A recent July 1st event was held on the rooftop of the Hyatt Place Niagara Falls, and it featured a full view of Canada Day fireworks being set off across the border.
The studio also stages regular outdoor yoga classes at the Youngstown Yacht Club and at Academy Park in Lewiston. On top of that, Be OK is regularly partnering with other organizations to stage wellness events, kids’ classes, camping retreats and other events. The studio also offers HIIT circuit training, fresh pressed juices, smoothies and even an in-house aesthetician.
“I try to have a non-competitive culture,” Stokes says. “I try to work with other gyms and studios. I don’t like that competitive feeling. Buffalo is cool like that, and I want Lewiston to be more like that. So, I’m trying to bring a bit more camaraderie.”
Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): Classes from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m., Juices and Smoothies 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
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