Rethinking & Restoring Health with Yoga
An inner call of pain from traumas, physical issues, and stiffness brought me to yoga. I immersed myself in studies, searching for knowledge on how to heal myself. I created the Kaiut Yoga Method so that everyone could access this resource to rescue the potential of the human body.
The first step in integrating all I’d learned and forming an effective and more structured approach to yoga was deconstructing and fragmenting everything. This is what I did to classical yoga postures. I looked for their essence, their main function, which would benefit my students. Over the past three decades, I have come to understand the essential nature of yoga practice for today’s bodies and minds.
With yoga, we help to recover the functionality of the body. Due to our modern lifestyle, our bodies are underutilized and subjected to specialized use and many unhealthy habits such as excessive sitting, all of which are the basis of ill health and pain we may experience. Through the process of yoga, we neurologically reconnect to areas of the body that have been neglected in various ways. We are brought to a state of presence that allows our whole system to reorganize and regenerate at every level, leading to improved health, well-being, optimal performance, and longevity.
I can say without hesitation that most of my students experience this transformation and reap positive results. As they engage in the practice—built on principles that include safety, sustainability, diversity, and consistency—their health improves. And when I say health, I am referring not only to physical health but to mental health, which becomes a strong characteristic of practitioners as they bring mind and body into harmony.
Like me, a physician friend and current Kaiut Yoga teacher needed to deconstruct almost everything she believed and lived for the first 40 years to heal her own body and have a fuller life. Before going through this profound change, an observer might think she was fulfilled and had everything that one could aspire to—a successful career, a family, and an ‘ideal’ body that you might find on the cover of a fitness magazine. However, this image did not correspond to what she saw and felt.
Aware that she needed to take better care of herself, she took a sabbatical from her work. During this time, she studied yoga and Ayurvedic medicine and walked the path toward the real concept of health for herself and others.
Below you will follow the inspiring story of this classically trained physician whose life purpose was to improve the health of her patients. Over the years, she rediscovered in yoga the true path to health. Her dive was so deep that today she is dedicated to helping students and patients heal their bodies through yoga and holistic medicine.
Health is not fitness
Around the age of 42, I started asking myself, “who am I?” It is a question I have kept asking myself since then. Being a mother, a wife, a doctor with a PhD, and having a comfortable life from an economic point of view was the natural way I presented myself, but it was a kind of character I had created. Today, I feel like someone who has gone through a process and acquired self-knowledge that enabled me to give meaning to my life.
I was born in Porto Alegre, the capital city of the most southern state in Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul. Around 18 years old, I entered medical school to acquire the knowledge and skills to care for and treat human beings. I graduated with a master’s degree in endocrinology with a specialization in diabetes and a doctorate in endocrinology with a focus on Metabolic Syndrome. For 15 years, I worked in a federal hospital, which included a decade dedicated to research on cutting-edge drugs for diabetes. I did ‘disease medicine,’ that is, modern medicine based on drug prescription.
Parallel to my academic and professional life, I maintained a disciplined fitness routine, having attended the gym since the age of 15. But I got caught in a vicious cycle—I would sit for hours and hours a day studying and working and then engage in intense physical workouts, religiously attending the gym and training to run marathons. When I was 23, despite being healthy, thin, and what many label as ‘fit’, I had my first lumbar crisis.
I went to the doctor, and the x-ray showed I had a lesion on my spine. In addition, though, my spine overall looked like it was that of an 80-year-old woman. Despite my medical training and working in a university hospital, I and others who saw the images denied the findings. I even said that my exams must have been switched, given the level of deterioration they showed. But this was the reality of my spine at 23 years old.
Following the x-rays, I went into a kind of blind mode. I chose to ignore what the images showed about the health of my body. I did this because I needed to focus on my master’s degree and, later, my doctorate. Both enriched my resume, which I held as important and a priority in my life. Today, I believe it is okay to dedicate yourself to something with such intensity—as I did with studies, but not at the cost of connection to your reality, essence, and health, as I did.
My workaholism and disciplined involvement in physical activity led me to become disconnected from both myself and others. I traveled all over the world to attend pharmaceutical industry events, and more and more I lived on autopilot and drifted away from myself. I missed out on life events and moments with my daughters and my marriage ended.
In seeking emotional relief, I became even more fitness-oriented and didn’t limit myself to physical exercises. I started consuming ‘health’ products and supplements—in short, I became a fitness freak. My level of blindness became serious. Despite being an endocrinologist, I consumed all those products with little regard for my overall health. Instead, I aimed to acquire a body that met the aesthetic standards I thought were ideal. I also started weight training around this time, completely disregarding my highly compromised back.
When I was 37 years old, I had one of the worst lumbar crises of my life. I was on the beach with my daughters, who were still small, and when I went to get the sunscreen from my bag, I simply froze. I struggled to get up and walk out of there that day—my body felt heavy and locked up in ways I had not felt before. The fitness woman with the aesthetically pleasing body and financial stability could not walk on her own. Yet, even this pain and immobility did not stir a different response from me—I once again ignored that I had a serious problem with my back.
I continued acting as before and entered a cycle of crises combined with visits to the chiropractor. Although the pains were not chronic, they had a pattern: they appeared whenever I experienced emotional stressors and turmoil. This was unavoidable given I was in the middle of a separation process and had many practical issues to deal with, such as taking care of the small children, working, and studying. So the crises kept coming and going.
My spine, which had been showing signs of weakness for 17 years, had to support my routine of traveling for work, long periods of sitting, and the demands of daily life. I was also overloading my spine with weight training and squats. By the age of 41, you could readily find me lying in the back seat of a cab on the way to the chiropractor to deal with the latest pain crises. The chiropractor would treat and manipulate my body and get me walking again—and life went on.
In 2010, besides the physical issues, the emotional overload led to burnout, or what some might call a ‘spiritual emergency’ or a ‘great awakening’. I experienced an intense panic attack that led me to see a psychiatrist. Little did I know, but this painful experience was the beginning of my return to health.
My life fell apart, and even my work and the way I cared for my patients no longer made sense. So I decided to take a sabbatical from work to heal physically and emotionally. I knew I needed to take care of myself in a more holistic way.