The Body As A Map Of Our Emotional History

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I was introduced to Kaiut Yoga from a distance.  

Let me explain.

After the 2016 election in the USA, voters who had not voted for Trump, were on edge.   We were all devastated but I was particularly concerned for one of my dearest friends.  I remember telling her to be careful because she could have a heart attack or another serious physical manifestation because of the stress.  

Fast forward post-election and inauguration and I’m on the phone with my friend and she seemed chipper and lighter.   

I was curious.  

Our conversation dialled into her new yoga practice called Kaiut Yoga.  I am a yoga enthusiast but I had never heard of Kaiut. She confidently explained that practicing Kaiut was changing her life.  She was, let’s say, mildly addicted. She felt grounded, less triggered.

Let me share how and where I met my friend.  

In 2000, I was in a pediatrician's office in Sao Paulo, Brazil with my three little girls to meet our new pediatrician.   My to-be friend was also in the waiting room with her two cute little girls. They were all of similar ages and equally curious about one another… as was the case for moms and daughters alike.  We had recently moved to Brazil and they had been there for over a year. We all became fast friends and have grown in our appreciation of each other over the last 18 years.

So, you can imagine my fascination when I learned that Kaiut originated in Brazil.

Over the course of a few months, I witnessed how Kaiut transformed my friend.  I wanted to know more and she was enthusiastic about introducing me to the practice.  Later in the year I visited her in Boulder, which happens to be the epicenter of Kaiut in the USA, and we went to a class.  

Admittedly, I was uncomfortable and slightly intimidated.  The practice was very different; there was little movement in comparison to my Vinyasa flow class and it was WAY more challenging.  I had to direct my attention to be fully present because I could feel my hips wanting to flee.  

I was pleasantly surprised by how energized I felt after the practice and my curiosity was further piqued.   What was this yoga practice that apparently changed my friend’s life and why did I suddenly feel personally attracted to it?   

When my friend called and invited me to fill a vacancy that had opened for a Kaiut retreat in Costa Rica, I leapt at the opportunity.  After that one week practicing Kaiut Yoga twice a day in Costa Rica, I was hooked!

There was one major hurdle however -I lived in Chicago and Kaiut was not yet offered in the Windy City.   

Upon my return, I immediately tried to make contact with Kaiut Yoga International to put Chicago on their vision board!  I soon realized if I wanted Kaiut in Chicago, I needed to be trained and that’s how I ended up at the Kaiut Teacher Training in Telluride, Colorado.  

One of the truths that struck me at the training was how the method of Kaiut is the final tool for my work as a Life Coach.  My work over the past ten years has been using holistic healing practices and modalities to set clients free from the emotional entanglements of past experiences.  The body as a map of everything that has ever happened to us was a theory I believed.  I could teach my clients how to tap into their body language, and I could teach practices to fuel their bodies; but I did not have a specific tool that facilitated the release of trauma manifesting as constriction in the body.   I now recognize Kaiut as that tool.

And now I’m delighted to share that the first Kaiut Yoga Workshop will be held in Chicago in April 2019. I will be #kaiutlonelyinChicago no longer!

Namaste.

Dana Frost, Kaiut Teacher-In-Training, Chicago IL USA

Yoga Is My Earliest Memory

When I turned four an amazing misfortune, as I would say, happened to me and my life changed completely.  I was diagnosed with Legg Perthes Syndrome which is a hip disease that weakens the femur head, eventually dissolving it to nothing. It eventually grows back but not in the natural shape. It was a very painful and long four year process, and at that point my father, Francisco Kaiut, already knew that the only path I could take - if I wanted to keep the mobility of my hip - was yoga.  So yoga is one of my earliest memories.  However for a young boy who couldn’t even run 10 meters without limping, yoga was just a sea of pain and discomfort.

My father, of course, knew this and ever since my first yoga practice I always had all the latest video games to help distract me from the pain of yoga. Until I was 12 this was my daily life - yoga and video games. I became pretty good at both so, eventually, everything got really boring and the pain intensified to a level where I hated yoga.  I really wanted to be as far from it as possible, but the few times I avoided my daily practice I remembered the crisis of pain that arose.  It would make me cry in the bathroom knowing that I was the only one who could do something to help myself.  I knew the help I needed could only come from inside me.

Finally, when I was 15, the pain went away, but at this point my yoga practice was habitual, normal, just part of life. I started to see it simply as hygiene, the same as brushing my teeth, but for my whole body. Years went on, I fell in love with a sport, started college and began working with my father, in my mind just being a normal teenager.

I reached my 20th birthday thinking it would be just a normal year - but it wasn't.  Once again, my life changed completely.  One day I was watching a documentary on TV and this man appeared talking about his hip disability that made him replace his first femur head at the age of 18.  That grabbed my attention so I kept watching.  The man went on saying, “the syndrome’s name is Legg Perthes.”  I froze.  At that moment I remembered my entire childhood, all the yoga, all the pain, and how everything was now just a part of my daily life.  Having succeeded in my sport, being one of the most active people I knew, I realized that although I had the same disease as the man on TV, I had never thought of myself as having any sort of disability.  And the only difference between me and that man was the yoga.  At that moment something inside me changed, my mind switched and a sense of purpose filled me.  At that moment I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted to share this gift, this knowledge, that for me was so habitual, with all those who needed it most.

One year has passed since that moment.  One year in which my mind, my focus, my entire attention, and all my energy went in one direction: to learn.  Yoga became everything for me, studying it, doing it, feeling it. I wanted to learn as much as possible in order to share as much as possible. I simply started to breathe yoga.  When the opportunity to teach appeared, my father came to me and asked if I would be interested in teaching at a meditation retreat in Europe. I had very little classroom experience, but a lot of heart, a lot of history, and a lot of study, so I said yes. I prepared myself as much as I could, but 30 days from the event I was told the classes would be taught for more than 200 people, so even with all the preparation I was still going to be in a very unique environment.

On the first day of class in Europe I was walking down the stairs to the auditorium and saw around 80 people buying the equipment to do the class, I thought: “ok, this is not that far away from my Brazilian reality.”  When I reached the bottom of the stairs I saw that the classroom was already full.  I had the best preparation, the best teacher, the best knowledge, and the first class was a hit.  People fell in love with the method and with yoga.  So much so that for the second day the retreat organizers opened an even bigger part of the auditorium to accommodate the 300 people craving this yoga.

The second day started, everyone came with a big smile anticipating another class. It was a much deeper class with a lot of kneeling, all 300 people in virasana, and one of the students came to me with a scar on their knee, explaining that 6 months prior to the class he had had some sort of knee surgery. “I can’t kneel,” was the first thing I heard. At that moment something inside me clicked, for a fraction of a second I could see and feel all the practice I had done, all the speeches I heard from my father, all the yoga I had lived so far.  The answer was quick: “I don’t want you to kneel, I want you to give to your brain the acknowledgment that kneeling without pain is normal and necessary, so lie on the floor facing up, and bring both knees bent to your shoulders and feel that inside your knee”. At the end of the class the same person came to me and said “knee surgeries... years of pain, and during all these years everyone told me not to feel.  You told me otherwise today.  It’s very weird, sounds wrong, and at the same time makes total sense.  I know it is still too soon say, but I feel less pain already.”

In that moment I realized that the teacher inside me had always been there, at rest, just waiting for me to set my personality aside so my real nature - as a teacher - could take the wheel and guide me where I needed to go.

 

Namaste.

 

Ravi Kaiut, Kaiut Teacher, Curitiba Brazil

 

A few words on Ravi’s journey from Francisco:

I will break my typical silence on this blog to share a personal side to Ravi’s journey.  When it comes to teaching and working, I know my brain works in a very non-linear way which makes things harder for most of my students, as well as my business partner. 😉  But, quite often I feel inside that I am right, even when I am not able to put things properly into words.  I usually take the risk and move from my inner calling because this works for me.  It usually ends up benefiting not only myself, but my students as well.

Having Ravi teach such a large group of people with so much complexity could have been perceived as the wrong thing to do. Heidi accepted my suggestion only because when it comes to teaching, I get to make the call in our business relationship.  And, she was kind and respectful enough to surrender to it, even with butterflies in her stomach.  I am super thankful for that.

The fact is, Ravi’s trajectory to this moment of immense success didn’t happen overnight.  Aside from what he just shared with you, there is one piece to the story he does not even remember and I have never mentioned until now.  Over 15 years ago, I was having a conversation with a couple of students at the studio about their son: a young boy, a little bit younger than Ravi at the time, that had a major complication at birth which lead to brain damage.  He had a very strong spirit with lots of energy, as such one of his doctors recommended Kaiut Yoga to the parents as a potential therapeutic option.  During one particularly emotional and intense conversation with the parents, Ravi was dropped off at the studio from school.  He gave me a kiss and I asked him "can you please take this boy to the practice room for me."  Ravi took the boy's hand and they walked together towards the main teaching room.  I wanted to observe the movement patterns of the boy as they walked because most of his physical restrictions were in the lower part of his legs. But instead of seeing only that, I noticed that even without me saying anything young Ravi recognized the boy's difficulty to execute some of the ankle, knee and hip movements all together.  It was a glimpse, a fraction of a second, and he read the restrictions.  And instead of walking with the boy towards the stairs to the room, he naturally walked around through the grass, finding a real-time solution that would present the teaching room to the newest student without creating struggle or frustration.  In that moment I understood the potential in front of me. And my first thought was that I needed to be mindful not to mess this up.

The first bolsters at my studio as well as my first sandbags were handmade by Ravi’s mom while we were a very young couple, way before he was born.  So yoga was part of his environment even before conception.  Knowing all that, plus now this newly revealed potential, my challenge was to plant more seeds in Ravi and keep the ground fertile for them to grow.  I had to educate him without words and establish the basis for his comprehension to blossom at its own pace, without creating the unproductive 'classic conflicts' between father and son.  Learning to keep my mouth shut was probably one of the most important teaching skills I have developed.

Before considering Ravi for the opportunity to teach in Europe, I knew that I needed to send a teacher able to teach from the heart; someone who had the knowing inside present, instead of class plans and intellectual preparation.  Despite the demands and challenges I often present to my teachers, and the way they quite often feel that I expect too much, my hope for all of them is to eventually be able to express their own knowing from the heart just as it happened for Ravi in Europe.  Yoga has to flow through us.  Practice is the way to prepare the soil and plant the seeds.  Blossoming happens between nature and our own soul.  My wish for all Kaiut teachers is for them to be blessed with the experience of teaching a perfect class.  Congrats my son.

Francisco Kaiut, creator of the Kaiut Yoga Method, Curitiba Brazil.

I Think I Finally Get It

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Flow. We encounter the notion of flow associated with yoga a lot and, I have to admit, I had never really understood what was meant by it. Frankly, I thought of it simply as a great marketing tool - until now.  I think I may actually get it now.

I was out walking my dog the other morning and it struck me: my life is in flow. My life is like water.

Think about a stream: the water is constantly moving...flowing...it is alive. 

Yes, there are always rocks, fallen tree trunks, and other obstacles in a stream but the water keeps flowing. The water flows over and around those obstacles.  

And the water is more powerful than the rocks and fallen tree trunks. It doesn’t happen quickly, but slowly over time the water breaks down the tree trunks. It even wears down the rocks, polishing them almost, smoothing out their rough edges.

Kind of like what Kaiut Yoga does to the blockages and restrictions in our joints. Kind of like how Kaiut Yoga helps us smooth out the rough edges and obstacles in our lives.

Now think about what happens if water stops moving - it becomes stagnant. Even the word itself sounds kind of ugly: stagnant. And in stagnant water, not so good things happen. Bacteria begins to grow, which in turn attracts mosquitoes who are simply out to bite us!

Kind of like life.  Life is movement.  Where there is movement, there is life. Our hearts beating, our lungs breathing, our blood flowing.

Sometimes, in addition to the rocks and tree trunks, debris falls into a stream. Leaves, twigs, and so forth. But the water keeps flowing - carrying this debris along with it and eventually pushing it up onto the banks of the stream, getting it out of the way. The flow of the water is more powerful than the debris too.

Kind of like life.  Debris gets into our flow and we carry it with us for a while. But yoga can help with the debris of life too - eventually pushing it to the side. Our flow clears.

A stream doesn’t do all this work quickly. As Francisco would say, nature only moves quickly when it is destroying. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis. When nature is healing, it needs time.

So perhaps that is what is meant by flow in yoga.  In Francisco’s words, yoga is a chronic state of presence with emotional coherence.  And perhaps that is flow.

My life is flowing like a stream. Thank you Kaiut Yoga.

Namaste.
Heidi Philip, Kaiut Yoga Teacher, Toronto, ON Canada

Breaking The Habits Of My Mind

I’ve thought about this blog post a fair bit over the past few days. Yep, over-analyzing is one of my (most probably, our) frequent habits. I am a product of a Western culture and mindset, after all. I look at my ‘to do’ lists and more often than not, engage in a bunch of mental gyrations - trying to figure out the perfect way to get things done, please my clients, my friends, my colleagues, and so on.

So, coming to the Kaiut method and its emphasis on feeling and sensation was a revelation of sorts for me. It started simply - go explore a new form of yoga. But that method quickly created dissonance in my habituated life. Not just the habits in my body but the habits of my mind. Rather than analyze the sensations, I was invited to just ‘feel’- not interpret, not figure out, not understand. This was not a place within my normal range of experience.

Oddly - at least for me- it wasn’t all that difficult in the beginning. Sure, I had moments of questioning and suspicion, but it was more like an open invitation to explore something I’d always been curious about, but had not yet acknowledged as important or useful in my daily life. The invitation was subtle, elegant, maybe even seductive in its simplicity. All I had to do was be there, be present, be curious and explore – no need to work to rearrange the experience with some sort of meta framework in my mind.

So here I found myself, in a new yoga practice where I could begin to let go of my analytical learning and training approach.  Instead, I could practice for an hour and suspend all my thinking and ‘feeling’ (ha, thinking about feeling) habits.

This is an important piece: I could SUSPEND my analytical habits. Yep, stop them in their tracks. I could be curious - be open to experiencing my mind and my body in new ways. I could just observe and ‘ask’, but not out of habit. I observed out of curiosity - out of a desire to learn and explore freely. As that observation sinks in I realize, essentially, I had begun to surrender my old system of understanding my own physical, emotional and spiritual self.

Up to this point my mindfulness explorations were primarily determined by what I read. Buddhist & existential writers who challenged my notions of reality to be sure - but, in the end - though they got me closer to the experience of being more present in everyday life, there was very little ‘felt’ presence. That point where the experience of being alive felt connected, in-the-flow and of the moment. I thought about presence but didn’t feel it.

As the weeks and months practicing Kaiut moved along, I found myself finding freedom and mobility in my body that I hadn’t experienced for 10 plus years, probably more. I could get up in the morning with no aches or stiffness. My calves didn’t cramp at night and my lower back wasn’t a ‘stretch and groan’ phenomenon. And it didn’t stop there. There is new freedom in my mind as well.

So, here I am, nearly 2 years into my practice, and I have no clear idea where this practice will take me, but based on my experience so far I’m not remotely concerned about that. I’m not even analyzing it!

I’m just grateful for finding this method and how it has brought my focus to the moment, finding presence in the practice and in everyday life. And I am humbled now being a teacher of the method to be able to share this gift with others.
 

Darvin Ayre, Kaiut Yoga Studio, Boulder CO USA

We Don't Have To Be Broken

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I had only very recently started doing any type of yoga and found The Kaiut Method serendipitously while on vacation in Boulder only two months into my yoga practice, so thankfully I’ve not had to unlearn a lifetime of injurious behaviour. What I have had to unlearn, however, was the misperception that I have to be broken.

As one who has to deal with the daily challenges of old injuries and chronic autoimmune disease, I battle with a sort of unhealthy self talk that’s a snap to slip into. It’s very easy to wake up and to simply say to myself “I can no longer do this or that, because I have a disc herniation” or “MS took away full use of that part of my body so I won’t ever be able to move or perform in the same way as I used to.”  Unfortunately, it’s also completely acceptable in today’s society to succumb to physical decline, allowing our bodies to progressively stop performing to their greatest possible potential simply due to age.

Self talk - those things we tell ourselves both consciously and unconsciously - can really impact how we feel from day to day. It can also totally get in the way of the much healthier conversation we can and should be having with ourselves.

Francisco Kaiut and his yoga method have shown me a way to reopen a healthy dialogue with those parts of me that have been long ignored, misused, or neglected due to a lifetime of injuries, repetitive stress, and more recently chronic illness.  This healthier conversation isn’t always easy - poses can be very challenging and may even be painful at times; but, just as in everyday life, if you simply ignore an uncomfortable situation, relationship, or conversation, healing will never take place and the situation will progressively worsen. Only by facing these difficult situations and moving through the adjacent restrictions can we ever really approach healing and touch that “Golden Layer.”

The Kaiut Method has not only offered me the opportunity to get reacquainted with these injured and ignored parts of myself, but it has also opened up a world of wonderful people to meet and beautiful places to visit, and most of all it has provided a supportive and nurturing community of positively-focused individuals. A zillion thank you's are owed to Francisco, Yvonne, Susie, and of course all my fellow teacher-trainees: your guidance, friendship, generosity of spirit, and acceptance mean the world to me, and I feel blessed that we have had the fortune to cross paths.

Namaste.

Margie Bertram, Teacher In Training, Tallahassee Florida USA