With the Olympics coming up it got me thinking about how behind any great feat there is a deeply human story. Its why the backstory profiles of athletes during the Games are almost as popular as the sport competitions themselves. And so this week I thought I would share my recent translation of Francisco's story - the story of a 5 year old boy. In his words. Enjoy.
People often ask me what inspired Kaiut Yoga. For me to share that story I need to go back to my early childhood. Back to when I was 5 years old.
I was playing at my cousins house one day and my father, who worked in the military, came to pick me up. One of my young cousins found his way into my fathers car and pulled out a gun from the backseat. Thinking it was a toy, he pointed the gun at me and shot me in the hip.
I can tell you this now but I would not have been able to for many years. I was simply unaware. It had been blocked from my consciousness and in fact still is. My parents never spoke of the accident, possibly because this happened during the time of military rule in Brazil and nothing could be said; perhaps because the accident would have been taboo in the social context of the time; perhaps because of the emotional impact of the trauma on them personally. I don’t think I will ever really know but it also doesn’t really matter.
All my childhood memories are of things that happened after the accident. Any memory I have from before the accident isn’t real. It’s the result of photographs that have been shared with me, and stories I have been told. I remember nothing. With all the silence surrounding the accident however, no one knew that I had no memory. And no one understood what all that silence would lead to down the road.
As of 10 or 11 years old, I already needed frequent massage treatment. I had back pain, a stiff neck, and so on. Inspired by the need to manage my own pain I became a chiropractor, however standing for 40 to 50 hours a week made the pain worse. My back and cervical pain was horrible.
So I tried yoga. And after practicing for many years, when I was 29, my great teacher shared with me the reason for all my physical issues. He told me about my childhood accident that led to all this pain, and like a thunderbolt, suddenly everything made became clear.
That insight changed my life.
Today, I can look at my x-rays, speak to experts in various professions and it all makes sense to me. While I will never fully recover from that accident so many years ago, I am eternally grateful for it. Without it, I would not be who I am today and my work would not exist.
Now when I see the hip x-ray of one of my students I understand instantly what is puzzling to most of the other health professionals they have seen. In their x-ray I see my x-ray. In their pain I see my pain. And I see the potential to heal. The human potential for recovery is incredible. Everyday I see in myself all the changes that have allowed me to now live without the pain that plagued me for so many years. I see my ability to move freely in a way that shouldn’t be possible given what my body endured.
I feel fortunate to be able to integrate the understanding of my own pain and discomfort with my education. As a chiropractor I have an understanding of the skeletal structure. As a qualified massage therapist, I understand muscles and muscle chains. Through my polarity studies I understand energy flow. And as a yoga teacher and practitioner, I analyze every position I know from many different methods, and even the history of yoga itself in light of modern biomechanic understanding, my own story, and last but not least, the use of the human body in modern society. From my studies, I have come to realize that the way we use our bodies today is more harmful than ever before.
TODAY, WE MODERN MEN AND WOMEN ARE SITTING BEINGS. THE CHAIRS - AND THEIR VARIATIONS IN CARS, PLANES, CINEMAS, BOARDROOMS, ETC – ARE WHERE WE SPEND MOST OF OUR LIVES. THEY FEEL NICE AND COMFORTABLE BUT, IN FACT, THEY RESTRICT AND BLOCK WHAT NATURE DESIGNED FOR US IN OUR BODIES. AND WE PAY THE PRICE – THE PRICE OF PRIORITIZING CONVENIENCE OVER FUNCTION AND HUMAN EVOLUTION ITSELF.
It is through my constant research into the intersection of modern movement patterns with the classic yoga positions of ancient times, and their ability to counter body restrictions, that I developed Kaiut Yoga.
In the early years, I tested it first only on myself. Then my son, who by a perfect act of nature was born with physical limitations that made him eager for yoga. And then my family and anyone else open to it. And it worked. Everyone improved.
With enough research behind me, I took my new concepts to student. First to only ten, then a hundred, a thousand and so on. Proportionately the results were amazing. I saw and continue to see results and hear reports of significantly reduced pain.
Today I am sure I still know almost nothing about our bodies. But I am also sure that when my students are on the floor in my yoga positions I have scored my greatest goal. I am sure about the regenerating potential of the human body that often lies dormant and untapped. I am sure we achieve only a glimpse of what we can achieve.
Today I am sure that yoga will rise up once again and remain with us for a few more millennia. Not the classic yoga of the past, but rather a new yoga that is adaptive to the future – that evolves as society evolves.
Let it be so.