By Bhakti White
After last night's class, and all the talk about mobility... I wanted to share something of my story that may be useful to others.
In my youth I played soccer and was a competitive horseback rider. Each year, I would get on the soccer field and halfway through the season I would dislocate my knee and be out the rest of the season. This went on for many years with no satisfactory western medical explanation. My arches were too high, or my ligaments too loose, or simply "we don't know why this keeps happening". When I turned 11 someone suggested I try Yoga. This was 28 years ago so there weren't a lot of teachers in the US, but my mother is a biofeedback therapist who knew a lot of people exploring different healing modalities. I lived in Berkeley CA and was lucky enough to have the resources in that progressive area to begin a physical practice. Yoga became the only movement modality that has never hurt me ... despite the fact that I had terrible alignment and hyper-mobility.
After 12 years I took a break from my yoga practice and in just a few months, I badly dislocated my knee getting into a car. This time I found a western medical Dr who gave me a better explanation and motivation. He said that my skeleton was misaligned and that the western solution would be to break each of my legs into 8 segments and reattach them with metal poles. There would be a 30% recovery rate and I would likely not walk unassisted ever again. I was 23 years old. He suggested I do anything I could to avoid that surgery and recommended alternative approaches especially Rolfing. I went to Rolfing and also began to dramatically change the way I approached my reinvigorated Yoga practice. Over just a couple of years, I completely realigned my skeleton using just these two modalities. The next time he checked me, he said I would not need the surgery. So for the last 16 years or so, I have done and taught Yoga from a very different place than most people. I've been, out of personal necessity, using Yoga as a way of focusing on stabilizing my joints... in a way, my practice began to resemble many aspects of what I now know as Kaiut Yoga.
When I discovered Kaiut yoga, it was like coming home. It was so clearly the next step in the healing process for me and the logical progression, a much clearer representation, of the style of teaching/practice I had been tiptoeing around all this time. In just a few months, I could feel so many of the subtle effects. As a long time meditator and Yoga practitioner, I had felt somewhat alone in my work to reduce the emphasis on flexibility and instead look to the marriage of the nervous system and the specific range of motion in each individual student.
I really appreciated the "blind spot" talk last night as well, because I'm so often the blind post in the room for yoga teachers. I appear to make the shapes with plenty of flexibility. I am strong and can stabilize the range of motion. But until you know me you won't see my underlying compensatory patterns. As a hyper-mobile person I have a ton of old joint injuries and as many compensatory patterns or more! You won't see that right away and you will have no idea what the sensation I am experiencing is. As a result, I'm too often overlooked by teachers who miss all the nuanced adjustments that I truly need to progress further. Kaiut Yoga misses nothing.