After almost 8 hours of driving, Francisco, his son Ravi and I began the final leg of our long drive from Curitiba to Gramado. In Francisco’s black Nissan pickup truck we climbed up the steep and scenic mountain road where I noticed the incredible vast amount of nature. I’d never seen such a variety of green before. The comfort of being in nature made me feel like I was arriving at my home in Colorado. Comfort turned to excitement as I realized I would be experiencing my first Teacher Training of the Kaiut Method. Excitement and anxiety mixed as I realized how much information I would need to learn in a language I started learning just 6 months prior. We arrived in Gramado hungry, so in classic Brazilian fashion we stopped for some Brazilian barbecue or as they call it here, Churrasco. There we met Camila, a Kaiut Studio Owner and teacher of the Kaiut Method. We sat and ate and acquainted ourselves with the warm and welcoming city of Gramado. After filling ourselves with beautiful cuts of meat we made our way to Camila’s home in Canela, in the neighboring city of Gramado.
When we arrived, Camila showed us her home. This is where we would be spending the weekend. Warmth and hospitality is the Brazilian way and it was no different here at Camila's. We stayed in the newly constructed house/studio. The home was cabinesk with a Brazilian twist. The fresh smell of wood filled her home and studio, which sat above the master bedroom in Camila’s L shaped home. The studio became my and Ravi’s bedroom for the weekend.
Friday morning I woke up with the Southern Brazilian sun shining on my face. I was surrounded by yoga mats, bolsters and blocks. As I rose out of bed a wave of reassurance and excitement came over me as I realized what I would be embarking on that afternoon. My first weekend of training in becoming a Kaiut Yoga teacher.
Later that day we arrived at the yoga studio where Fransisco would lead the course. Before the course began we hosted a franchise information meeting where over 35 excited Kaiut students came to hear about the opportunity of having their own Kaiut Yoga studio. During this meeting it became very clear to me how extensive the expansion of Kaiut Yoga was taking place. Almost all of the 35 students who attended the franchise meeting were interested in joining the franchise program and opening their own Kaiut Yoga schools all over the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
When I walked into the studio and saw the people inside where the training course would be held, I noticed the vast diversity of age, bodies, and experience with yoga. Each student was different. Their ages ranged from 20 to elderly. The majority of the group were middle aged women, but within the majority there was still diversity present. Each body and mind in the room had its own history. The diversity gave me a sense of comfort even though I was the greatest outlier in the room - being the youngest, the only American, and least experienced student in the room with just 7 months of dedicated practice. It was very gratifying to see people with different professions, ages and history with yoga, which truly embodies the Kaiut mantra “Yoga pra todo mundo” which means, ‘Yoga for Every Body”.
Even with the great diversity I still felt like an outlier. I am a 20 year old therapeutic student who has 7 months of dedicated Kaiut practice under my belt, and no other previous yoga knowledge or experience, which means I am purely a Kaiut practitioner. For the same amount of time I've been practicing I have been learning Portuguese, the beautiful language of Brazil. So I’ve been simultaneously learning to understand the restriction from a bad shoulder injury and learning to understand a new language. Therefore, at times during class I have to listen to the sensations my body receives during the practice, in order to understand the language. Due to this combination of getting to know my body and learning a language, I have been able to transform my relationship with pain and begin to understand the difference between true pain and sensation. Before this new awareness I always saw the practice as a beneficial torture method. Now the torture has turned into a teacher because I feel I am beginning to truly understand the way this method works. The combination of my understanding of my body, together with my progress with Portuguese, is where my fascination with the work began. Every functional body part I've learned in the Portuguese language I've learned through a physical sensation with instruction from the teacher during a yoga class. Through all this I can feel my physical and mental structure expanding infinitely with each practice.
Francisco opened the 3 day course with a strong 2 hour class with back to back sequences. As he opened the class he demonstrated through his teaching what it means to be a Kaiut yoga teacher. He addressed the importance of voice, humor, language, and connection with a group of unique individuals. He opened the class sitting us all in Sukhasana on a bolster with the right leg crossed parallel with the left. Like a hypnosis, he brought us all into a meditative state noting the importance of leaving the rhythm of our day and entering the sensation each of us felt in our hips. He softly reminded us to allow ourselves to feel the sensation without analysation. And explained that the bolster is not there to allow the body to work less but rather that it is there to allow the position to work better for the body. Within the class he walked around giving each student equal and individualized attention while at the same time instructing the entire class; allowing each student to feel individualized togetherness. We were all in the class doing the same this together but when it comes down to it there is just you and the work. The work is about how you relate to yourself and your body. As the first sequence came to a close we exited the long Sukhasana and were instructed to take a walk around the classroom. As I stood on my feet and began to walk blood rushed into my feet and I began to gain feeling again. Gazing from my tingling toes upward I noticed all the smiles and new faces filled with an expression of release.
Over the course of two 2 hour classes and one 90 minute instructional Francisco highlighted the characteristics of a teacher through demonstration during the sequences, as well as explanation and Q&A through a 90 minute instructional. Through both the sequences and informational segments of the training I noted the extreme importance of humility and kindness needed to be a kaiut teacher and student. As Fransisco instructed the sequences he used voice, language, humor and physical contact to connect with each student which makes such heavy work on the brain and body somehow seem light by allowing the students to laugh at their restrictions while breaking them down. All of these characteristics of an outstanding teacher can be summed up in a gentle doctor like bedside manner that allows the students to let the method work without fighting against the work.
Overall the course in Gramado gave me, a student of Kaiut of just 7 months, the reassurance of my strengths that I can use when I become a teacher myself in addition to the importance of diversity. In the closing of the course Francisco emphasized the true difficulty of the work and how long it takes to get where you would like to be in the practice. You need 10 years. He also emphasized the presence of diversity that fills every Kaiut classroom. “If you have a room of 30 students there is no student with the same knee, there is no students with the same shoulders, the human body is asymmetrical therefore when teaching a class you are instructing 30 people with 30 brains but you are impacting 60 knees and 60 shoulders. Collecting all that data is what will make you a great teacher”. And a great teacher is what I want to be.
Jackson from Boulder Colorado USA- Kaiut Teacher-In-Training in Curitiba