What is a cacao ceremony?

September 12, 2019
Cacao Beans and the beginnings of ceremony

Cacao, as a healing plant, and what many of us in the west come to know and love as chocolate, has been used in ancient healing ceremonies by South Americans (the Maya) for thousands of years. It has an active ingredient in it called theobromine — which can be translated to, ‘Food of the Gods’.


Remover of Obstacles
Remove some obstacles to your higher path

I know that clutter is a natural part of life and that chaos is also an intrinsic aspect of the creative process that this life is…And yet if we want magic and meaning to happen at all – much less for it to be the constant thread in our lives – then pausing to clear a space for rituals that take us to a place within where we harness and align with the forces of the natural world is a must. 

For millennia, the four seasonal turning points have been this type of time and it has played an important role in our humanity.


What is Buti Yoga?

Buti Yoga combines vinyasa-style yoga with dynamic movement, tribal dance and cardio in a high-energy, powerful practice. Buti is not your typical yoga class. Set to upbeat music, you’ll flow between yoga asana and high intensity interval spikes that will keep your heart pumping throughout class. You’ll spiral, shake, and vibrate as you simultaneously burn calories and have FUN! Even if high-energy workouts aren’t normally your thing, don’t be intimidated! Buti is for all levels as there are options to modify to whatever state your physical body is in today. The practice is there to meet you wherever you are at.

Cole in Buti Moves

What does Buti mean?

“Buti” is in Indian Marathi term that means “the cure to something hidden or kept secret.” Buti works to peel back the layers of self. We are reminded in each class that the solutions we are looking for do not come from external sources – we have the answer within, it just takes some uncovering.

How will I benefit from Buti?

Through intentional movement Buti sheds the layers of the physical, emotional and energetic body. You may have heard the term “you store your issues in your tissues.” Buti uses the Spiral Structure Technique (lots of hip spiraling and deep abdominal activation) to stir up energy that lies dormant at your first and second chakras. Using SST, you will not only strengthen the deep core muscles from all angles, but also activate your chakras to release stagnant energy that often manifests negatively in the physical body. Basically, Buti will make you look AND feel good.

Cole in Buti Energy

What can I expect to take from Buti?

Through Buti we build a sense of community, a tribe (we call ourselves Butisattvas). Know that with each class you are entering a space of acceptance and non-judgment. This means we practice non-judgment to our own selves, and to each other. Buti is a body-positive practice where students are encouraged to watch themselves move while cultivating a sense of self-love.  As we build this mind-body awareness and connection you are often reminded by the instructor to say something nice to yourself – something many of us might not do often. It’s empowering to move freely and be witness to it! The kindness towards self you will practice during Buti translates to confidence and acceptance off the mat.

Tribal dance?  I don’t have rhythm.  Can I still take this class?

Of course! Tribal dance connects us to our lineage and releases primal energy that is otherwise stored in the body and not often let out. It does not matter whether you are on or off-beat: we’re not concerned about how it LOOKS, we’re concerned about how it FEELS. Letting the primal self be expressed through movement is truly liberating.

Moving the Buti with Cole

When and where can I find Buti?

You can join Cole for Buti Yoga at Kodawari Studios on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm and Saturdays at 10:30 am. And we are adding a Buti 101 on Wednesday night at 5:45-6:45pm so that you can slow it down a bit to practice the “moves” that you might find particularly challenging to the body and mind!!  Book now! 

Yoga Teacher Training is a big investment – we get it. But that is exactly what it is – an investment. Once you finish Kodawari’s Teacher Training, it’s yours. It will not break down after 2 years, fray after multiple uses, or dissipate. In fact, this foundation of knowledge on how to refine your body and mind is yours forever. Here’s the list of the top 10 impacts that people who have taken our yoga teacher training say:

  • Get Stronger – Physically, Emotionally
    Teacher training is about becoming the ultimate student. Pretty much every graduate says some version of, “I learned so much about the practice and making the practice work for my body. Teacher training also enabled me to find extraordinary freedom and strength off of my mat by giving me the tools to let go of ego and attachment and to be of service to the things that matter most to ME.”
  • Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
    One of the biggest benefits you will received from Teacher Training is learning how to notice fear and when it was blocks you from connecting with other people. You will find blocks that you may not have known were there and inside the training you will gather the tools to work on removing the obstacles preventing you from becoming the best version of yourself.

  • Laugh, Cry, Sweat
    Teacher Training is intense! You are physically exhausted at the end, and yet emotionally and spiritually charged! There are moments when you may uncontrollably cry or outrageously laugh, but it happens because you are emptying your metaphorical bowl for something new, awesome and sweet.
  • Find Your Voice
    Teacher training teaches you HOW to speak your truth with confidence and care (Non-violent Communication by Marshal Rosenberg is a core tenet and foundational book for our training). Instead of constantly worrying about the reactions, needs, judgment, and preferences of others, learn to confidently speak in a thoughtful and caring way.
  • New Flames, Old Flames – Get Your Priorities in Line
    Become part of the deep core community at Kodawari. It’s high vibe tribe…knowing that you are a part of a group – a kula or sangha – provides a bedrock of friends in your life.
  • Become the Rock
    Teacher Training can give you a fresh start/new perspective on your life. You will be able to reevaluate the difficulties and challenges in your life while learn how to use yoga to help yourself AND others.
  • Get it done. Start the journey.
    There will always be a reason not to do it. There will always be a reason why it might not work with your schedule.  The time is now for growth and this is the first step. If goals are dreams with deadlines, the time is now…if you’ve been thinking about it, do teacher training – you won’t regret it.

  • Acquire Tools to Overcome Difficult Times
    Steady seas never made a skilled sailor.
    If yoga has already helped you navigate difficult times and you not only want to learn more but are compelled to share the benefits with everyone. I (Annette) can share that watching and holding space for transformation in others gives me a meaningful purpose and a sense of satisfaction every day and the practice of yoga as a life tool continues to deepen and unfold for me – I believe that the same can and will happen for you.
  • Learn Why Yoga Feels So Good
    Committing to teacher training was an easy decision for me. I quickly fell in love with the practice late in life, and how it was much more than simply a work-out. My mind, spirit, and body all feel so much better after practice. I knew that there had to be much more than what I could read in a book or learn from a few smart sounding quotes from a teacher during class. YTT (yoga teacher training) was the mechanism for me to dive deep into where yoga came from, explore the theory of how it works, and take my practice to the next level.
  • Get Full (On Life)
    Yoga makes me a better human. I wanted to learn the way of gifting this boost of life to others. While this isn’t the only way to help, it’s a dang good one!!!
Know that you know the way to go…Here’s how to get involved…Click HERE. And if you have a few questions about how/when and on what dates…Click here for more info. Looking forward to being together on this journey with you!

News Flash! Sweating (or getting your glow and glisten on) is good, if not great, for you. And while we at Kodawari studios already have infrared panels as a part of our hot yoga offerings we know that not everyone is down for exercising in a hot room or for that matter, running around out in the Florida heat. It might be just a tad too intense and yet, getting some time in an infrared sauna to get your sweat on is one of the safest ways to illicit the body’s natural desire to heal and stay healthy. SO! We are super happy to announce that we will soon be able to offer you an easy and all levels accessible alternative to getting your glisten and glow on with our Sunlighten’s infrared sauna. It is proven to: relieve pain, increase detoxification, improve circulation, aid in weight loss, lower blood pressure, and help with cellulite removal. DANG! What a list!


Having a hard time relaxing? Need to get some Zen on…Finding that you spending night’s awake “sweating” it out? Well maybe you really do need to sweat it out…in a sauna. In an infrared sauna to be exact. To be even more precise, in the Sunlighten infrared sauna that we just installed…We’re going to be pre-selling packages at a discount so if you are already “sold” then just click HERE to see the deep discounts we are giving…and if you’re not quite sold yet, read on! OR read the previous blog so that you don’t miss out…


Studies show that high levels of continued stress have significantly negative impacts on our brains and body. From memory problems to anxiety to learning difficulties, the effects of stress are immense. Neuroscientists have shown that chronic stress can even cause differences in grey and white matter in the brain, as well as the size and connectivity of the amygdala. High levels of stress can diminish the amount of neurons found in the brain. Neurons are the physical structures through which we think – the more neurons that are wired together and fire together, the brighter we are overall.


Global data involving more than 290 million people confirms what we’ve been saying for years: Time outdoors could save your life. This is but one of many reasons we are trying to coax you out into the woods for the next Gangsta Goddess retreat…We know that you want to join us but if you need to justify it so that others in your life would equally encourage you to go, then read on my friend!

Most of us know from experience that taking a hike in the woods or a walk in the park makes us feel good. Until I started researching more about the physical health benefits of time spent outdoors, I figured it was just because greenspaces makes the tree hugging introverted side to me feel like I’ve come home but ever since the development and spreading awareness of Japan’s shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing”), science has been increasingly backing up all the positive ways in which the body responds to nature.


This week’s teacher spotlight is super big and super bright because we’ve got 3 beauties to bring into the hot center of your attention. Mailoha Albaladejo, Suzanne Aronoff and Melissa Vogt all share a love for giving it to you hot! hot! hot! (yoga, I’m talking yoga here folks…) and while they are each extraordinary teachers in their own right, they share a passion for the Bikram (26&2) practice and would love to have you join them for some hot Bikram joy!

Here are their yoga stories:

Mailoha Albaladejo

Not only do I absolutely love heat (the hotter the better!) but I believe Bikram is an incredibly foundational practice. I find that the practice and postures, in particular the breathing exercises, improve my physical performance overall. I absolutely love teaching it because it’s incredible to see students in class truly challenging themselves and getting stronger.

Bikram is great for students that struggle with back issues. The practice stretches and strengthens the spine. During Bikram you will also burn some serious calories, develop increased flexibility and leave class feeling energized.


This Gangsta Goddess retreat is really shaping up to be spectacular…and while we don’t want to give every detail away know that we will start each morning with a period of silence (no talking) that we will hold from waking until lunch time. This practice of Noble Silence is very healing and will allow the silence and the calmness of the space and our place in it to penetrate deep into our flesh and bones. The spontaneous joy and peace of the natural environment – the trees, the wind, the water, the sky and one another’s quiet company – will be able to penetrate our body and mind.

For some, the thought of purposefully staying in silence can be challenging – mostly because it is a new and unfamiliar experience. This is especially true when a person’s primary associations with silence are uncomfortable—for example, when the only experience of social silence has been one of interpersonal discomfort, loneliness, or exclusion – and yet, we will be cultivating a nourishing atmosphere of stillness that will help you to get beyond those first few moments of awkwardness. You may find that you quickly come to cherish it and look forward to it rather than fear it.


Retreating to the river within the woods isn’t the only thing that we will be doing on the Gangsta Goddess retreats. Our last blog discussed our plans for daily forest bathing and this blog will unveil our plans for doing a nidra on the daily! I started the research for this blog by looking up the origins of the words treat and retreat and here’s what I found (which is perfect!):

One definition of treat is: to give medical care or attention to; try to heal or cure. And a second is: an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure. So beautiful…The definition of the word retreat only builds on this…Retreat can be defined as a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. Or as a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax. And finally, as a period of seclusion for the purposes of prayer and meditation.

Well there who doesn’t want some to all of that! So how do you like me now? And if you haven’t ever heard of yoga nidra and/or practiced it before read on…by the time you are done you’ll know why you want to practice it (especially in the context of a retreat)!  (more…)