A friend of mine, Jeff, recently shared his story with me about what Kaiut means to him. I could totally relate. To everything. The unrelenting hip pain. The desire to put my pants on, all by myself, Here is Jeff's Story...
A couple of years ago I began to experience unrelenting hip pain. Unlike previous injuries, my yoga practice was not resolving the problem. I saw a physical therapist almost weekly for about 4 months without success and eventually I decided to see an orthopedic doctor. The doctor diagnosed it as typical degenerative pain. He said it needed to get much worse before he could help—not a good option for anyone.
I’ve always been a do-it-yourselfer, even when it comes to bodily injuries, aches, and pains. With the proper guidance, I believe we each have a high capacity to heal ourselves. For over 30 years, yoga has helped me heal aches, pains and injuries. So why wasn’t yoga healing me now? My model wasn’t working. It pushed me to simplify my personal yoga goal into one simple phrase, “I want to be able to put my pants on (by myself) when I’m 95 years old.”
Within weeks of setting this goal, I received a random email inviting me to this practice called Kaiut Yoga (we get what we ask for, exactly as we ask, so ask clearly). It was being taught in a church! Rarely do I give such invitations much thought, but an inner voice said, “go.” I remember a line in the promotion that said, “Yoga should do no harm.” It’s a simple and perhaps overly obvious phrase, but the same idea had long been part of my philosophy. For a teacher to put a statement like that in writing really caught my attention.
I signed up for four classes. I arrived at the church a little bit late on a cold January morning. The church stuff was crammed against the walls to make room for yoga. To my surprise, mats and bolsters were prearranged on the floor like dinnerware at a restaurant. It looked like a lounge—a place where I could relax. There must have been 40 people in the room already resting with their heads on bolsters and their hands comfortably under their heads. Francisco Kaiut greeted me immediately and guided me to an open mat. Kneeling down, he looked me in the eye and asked me if I had any problems or injuries. “Nope,” I lied. I’ve been asked that question many times and it never seemed to make a difference in the class or to the instructor. In fact it often worked against me when the teacher took on my problem as a personal project and tried to fix me. I had long decided it’s best they don’t know what’s wrong with me. Francisco nodded with a smile, rose to his feet and continued leading the class.
When I recount what happened in the next 20 minutes, it usually brings tears to my eyes. Never have I felt the care and compassion come through a teacher like Francisco before. My heart and mind hung on his every word. There was no drama, no story, and no attachment to an immediate outcome. To me it was selfless poetry. That was first, and it allowed me trust him. What happened next was equally mind-bending. He was asking me (along with the other 40 or 50 people in the room) to position myself in a way that totally contradicted my “common sense” approach to my problem. I thought to myself, “If I do what he’s telling me to do, it’s going to hurt like hell. I might even make it worse. Maybe I SHOULD have told him my problem!” But since he had earned my trust just moments ago, I challenged my mind’s idea of what was good for me. Throughout the 90 minute class, there were more moments like this but each time I was surprised to discover that I could stand up, walk, or move on to the next position.
I left the class with a deeply relaxed energy that seemed to prevail throughout the day. I shared the experience with my wife but I don’t think she really bought into it. My story sounded too good to be true. She did however, join me for Francisco’s last class in Colorado. Like me and many others, she deeply appreciated the experience and wanted more.
What is Kaiut Yoga? It’s not easy to describe. Francisco and I were having lunch one day and a Yoga Loft student walked up to our table and began chatting with us. She asked Francisco, “So, what is Kaiut Yoga?” He looked at me and asked me to describe it and I turned it back on him. “It’s YOUR creation,” I said with a laugh. “You explain it.” He satisfied her curiosity but partially and invited her to try a class. Kaiut Yoga is a practice that anyone can do, and anyone can benefit from it. It is designed and taught in a way that makes it accessible for all.
To say that Kaiut Yoga works on many levels is an understatement. Without really realizing it, Kaiut Yoga promotes healing and health in every major system in the body. It is meditative and deeply calming to the nervous system. Perhaps it most directly impacts connective tissues and joints to restore healthy blood flow, strength and mobility, all of which have a more indirect but positive effect on muscle tissues. I’m an athlete, I’ve studied exercise physiology and explored all kinds of physical therapies from Pilates to Rolfing, but in all my years, I’ve never known anything that so completely addresses the health of the body. It is pioneering work. As it catches on in North America, it will not only change the way we approach yoga and physical fitness, it will change the way we age.
Find a class and give it a try. You’ll love it! For me, Kaiut Yoga will be the practice that keeps me mobile and healthy when I’m 95 years old. Each morning I’ll get out of bed and practice my yoga, after I put my pants on (all by myself).
Thanks for sharing Jeff. Namaste.