Megan E. Zubaedi
In a recent training, Francisco said that the practice of Yoga is “a process that connects us neurologically. Not with poses, not with yoga, but with our body and our natural capacity to be adaptable [over a lifetime].” Yoga is about unlocking and liberating the natural forces in a human body, but also in the human design – freeing us to live a greater potential. These natural forces support, sustain and repair life. Yoga is the art of living.
It is understood through the Yogic perspective that we incarnate with karmas that are meant to be cleansed, resolved, untied, and liberated in a person’s lifetime. Scientifically, we can also see this in genetics, epigenetics, cultural conditioning, and the way that the bodymind holds and organizes around unresolved habits and traumas – inherited and experienced. Whether related to as a manifestation of destiny or biology, unresolved patterns of inherited or experienced trauma, cultural and societal conditioning and disconnection from nature impinge on the flow of life force in the bodymind and dumb-down the innate potential the human organism has to move, to heal and to evolve. And, if taken up, these patterns can be reconciled and resolved through the careful and consistent tending and repatterining that a Yoga practice offers. It is the assertion of this paper that The Kaiut Yoga Method (KYM) supports the organic unwinding, healing and resolution of these ‘knots’, and liberates life force in the practitioner’s life that not only heals the body but also restores wellness on a systemic level. The Kaiut Yoga Method is an algorithm that unlocks the flow of life in the human design. Francisco says, “Yoga is a process of unlayering, exposing, and revealing the essence of who we are; shedding the baggage that deprives us of our vital energy.”
Daily, I have gratitude for the profound healing influence the KYM has had on my life. If it weren’t for the KYM, I would most certainly be headed for hip replacements and be living with a great deal of pain. Neither of which is the case. I was born with bilateral congenital hip dislocation (no hip sockets on either side). Having gone undiagnosed until my bones were too hard to influence non-surgically, the treatment consisted of a 15 year process of multiple reconstructive hip surgeries, many of them followed by months spent in full body casts. This had a significant impact on my development, my mobility and freedom. It shaped me.
Many things shape a body, a life. Reflected in their shape and movement, all bodies broadcast the life that person has lived: what has happened and, more importantly – how this person responded. All bodies are different. In a body like mine – the complexity of the response to my reconstructive hip surgeries was remarkable. One would “never know” my history seeing me move. But it is there, hidden in my system. That is true of so many of us. The capacity to adapt and endure to injury and loss is outstanding. And so is the capacity to heal, to regenerate. The process of Yoga, over time, reveals patterns hidden inside and resolves these restrictions, giving way to the growth of a new body, a new way of being in the body, an integrated bodymind capable of deep presence and evolutionary potential. It is my direct and observational experience that consistent practice of the KYM over time yields profound results, unlocking the system into its wellness and wholeness.
The KYM offers this promise through its foundations in objectivity, restoration of functional movement in a progressive way over time, and the liberation of life force. The Kaiut Yoga Method is objective, it is functional, it is progressive, it is liberating.
What is the Kaiut Yoga Method? The KYM is a systemic approach to the bodymind that unlocks the innate regenerative capacity and triggers the natural adaptive (healing) response in the bodymind. The KYM is a system, provided for us by Francisco Kaiut who did the essential work of returning to the essence of Yoga, the Vedas, the root of yoga, and developing a way to address the forces of stress that influence the modern body. The KYM is a process of introducing the body back to itself through yoga postures and sequences (classes) delivering a consistent and repeatable result. We work from a book of 100 classes. All classes are designed to work from the joints, affect the nervous system and enchant the bodymind back into its innate intelligence.
At an even more essential level, however, the KYM is not yoga poses or classes, it is not what we are doing, it is about how we are doing it. A pose or a class must recalibrate the autonomic nervous system out of the defensive or stress response and into the regenerative capacity. “There is no agenda in a pose – poses deliver a state change, a recalibration of the autonomic nervous system. [As we practice yoga, we] learn how to fire muscles without firing excitement and without firing more thoughts.” (F. Kaiut) In this way, although I will be exploring other aspects of the practice in this paper, it is necessary and fundamental to understand that the KYM is not about what the practitioner is doing. The KYM is about how it is done. With the KYM, we don’t ‘fix problems’ in the body or make the body execute shapes; we learn the patterns of restriction, weakness, and disconnection and learn how to engage with them properly. The process of introducing a practitioner to the KYM is a process of assisting that person to understand, have respect for, and relate to the history that this body lives with and the patterns laid down that unconsciously diminish life force. A practitioner approaches their body, making peace, reconciling adaptive patterns and respectfully resolving and, over time, dissolving these patterns so that they do not take over, locking the body up in pain and degeneration.
[A teacher’s role is to] help students make peace with the history, trauma, etc. Step one has to be accepting and embracing the reality as it is in the body. This is very challenging, emotionally. Without being there, nothing can really change. The nature of a restriction is that it wants to branch out and take over. (Francisco Kaiut)
This mindset: learning, revealing, respecting, unlocking, is the Method of the Kaiut Yoga Method. It is not about what we are doing, it is about how we are doing it. This mindset is nested into every aspect of a practitioners journey and it is what makes this method Yoga. Yoga is not exercise, it is not performative, it is not agenda driven. Yoga is a healing modality that delivers our nature back to us, and a process that stitches the mind-body back together in a culture and a time in history where we have lost that connection. Inherently, melding the mind and body and liberating life force is healing; not only for each person on an individual level, but for life itself. When the knee learns to relate to itself biomechanically and wakes up its potential for range of motion and capacity to regenerate, so does the whole person learn to walk differently in the world – with more presence, kindness and integration on all levels.
While what has been discussed here is the essence and foundation of the Kaiut Yoga Method, I would like to illuminate some other elements of the KYM that effectively deliver results for the practitioner. As mentioned, the KYM consists of written classes which offer the student and teachers an objective form from which to deliver the method. These classes reintroduce functional movement and range of motion back into the bodymind system, unlocking life force and restoring the inherent capacity of the bodymind to regenerate, regulate, resolve. Classes and poses offer a practitioner a road map, a way to progress and deliver a diversity of forces into the system that is an algorithm that operates like a key into the places that a bodymind locks up and deteriorates. Unlocking the system through functional movement liberates the bodymind and can heal a person’s life.
When a practitioner is introduced to the KYM, they take classes. We work from a handbook of 100 classes. These classes form the road map of the KYM for a long time and provide necessary objectivity and diverse stimulation in the system. These sequences are written out, like recipes to follow, and we practice the classes in order, and with attention to keeping the essence of the class intact – as medicine for the system. The sequence of 100 classes that we practice from is an objective form that is revisited repeatedly and works remarkably well, identifying the and addressing the knots and locks in the bodymind.
The 100 classes introduces the body back to itself. This journey exposes restrictions and patterns to the brain itself and engages the healing process. It is a predictable, reliable, objective and functional form that works, like an algorithm – it elicits a response that is predictable – no matter the history. The classes are written – preventing the preferences of teacher or practitioner from manipulating results. The progression is clear. The variety is accounted for. The form itself has a kind of resonance throughout the body – exploring all angles of the joints, breaking down and dismantling patterns, opening the system back up in fundamental places: increasing circulation on all levels.
The postures themselves, and in this case the sequence of the postures and the variety with approach, act as levers that unlock patterns of restriction and restoring vitality systemically. It is my experience in the 100 classes that there is a harmony, an intelligence in the map that is hight sophisticated and unique and at the same time generic enough to apply to all bodies. When exposed to the 100 classes, a body responds. It is like a complex micro-organism rich compost tea for depleted soil. It is not any one thing that makes it turn back on and restore life, it is the complex biodiversity that inspires life at this new level. I wonder if the sheer number, variety and dynamism of the classes touches the tissue-field of the human body in a similar way. Everything is touched – all of the joints, in all of their angles and thus there is a systemic response. For me it felt native in this way. Like my body was being reminded of these movements, more than taught these movements.
The process of a body becoming locked up in patterns that are not in harmony with life force and regeneration takes decades. It begins early in a person’s life and is partly cultural: sitting children at desks as their bones grow, putting young feet into shoes that do not allow for adaptability and diverse stimulation, learning to move from watching parents and teachers move. There are many studies done about how a young body learns to move to ‘fit in’ with what is ‘culturally appropriate’. Bodies from different cultures, socioeconomic status, etc, develop different movement patterns. This is profound and we are all subject to it. It also creates a complexity in the modern body. Much of how we learn to move diminishes the adaptive and regenerative flow in the body. Even in athletic and healthy bodies, there is a fragility in the joints. Unaddressed, this fragility leads to a degenerative process that branches out across the system over time, locking the bodymind up in patterns that restrict movement and the flow of healthy life giving forces. A proper approach to yoga can rescue this fragility and return the body to its inherent regenerative nature.
In order to understand these patterns, not to mention patterns that may arise from more complex injury or trauma, a practitioner must relate to and come to know these patterns inside. We must learn to be objective and see what is operating that is not native. This process is what the 100 classes offers. One of the analogies we use when learning the KYM is the analogy of the octopus. A blockage (the head of the octopus) branches out (the tentacles) in patterns. These patterns reveal themselves as we introduce poses – poses are therefore like a mirror, revealing where the system has lost functional movement and connection to itself. Coming to learn these patterns in the bodymind is like identifying the shape of the octopus and slowly dissolving it, back to the original blockage – thus liberating the entanglement. “In order to unfold great complexity a practitioner must come to understand their body and to understand the patterns. This happens through consistency and repetition.” F.Kaiut
As far as I have observed in my students, colleagues, and myself, the 100 classes, and the way they are delivered, provides these results. Thus, the KYM is a Method with repeatable results. No matter if there is complex trauma, injury or simply habits that need resolution, there is an intelligence in the 100 classes, that systemically addresses what is living inside – what is in plain view, and what is hidden.
Working from an objective form, the 100 classes, the practitioner can begin to clearly see underlying patterns. We learn about the analogies of the octopus and the onion. The octopus (as mentioned): recognizing that a pattern will move out across a bodymind affecting various (seemingly unrelated) parts of the system. And, when observed, and clearly identified, one can recognize the original blockage (the head of the octopus) and work objectively to resolve the origins of a pattern. The onion represents the way that the bodymind is layered in its complexity and some things that are hidden beneath have an influence on the surface layers, and that as surface layers are resolved, what is underneath will emerge. The KYM accounts for the complexity of how patterns will ‘hide’ in the nervous system, in the movement patterns.
No matter how good a yoga teacher is, they teach from their subjectivity. The KYM offers teachers and practitioners a form to relate to, and assists practitioners in becoming objective with the necessity for resolution of the patterns of restriction the body is locked in. This principle of objectivity is a foundation of the KYM that lends itself to clear progression and results and the systematic resolution of restrictions.
RESTORATION OF FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT
Francisco Kaiut gave us the gift of deconstructing the way that Yoga had been influenced as it came to the west, and brought us home to the origins and the original promise of Yoga: to return our nature to us. Yoga is not about postures, it is about health and it is about living.
We’ve been doing yoga under the powerful influence of the fitness field. And this is something we want to erase from our practices. The more we practice, the more we must understand that Yoga is absolutely something else. It is you using your body in alignment with nature and therefore having from your body a neurological consequence in your brain. – Francisco Kaiut
What I have come to understand from Francisco is that each yoga pose is designed to mimic a functional movement that shows up in the activities of daily living, and to assist the body and brain in reconnecting with each other. When we approach these movements with a biomechanical harmony, using gravity, the floor and time. Properly, we place pressure into the structure in ways that restore functional movement through dissolving patterns of restriction. This process reconditions joints, restores fundamental circulation and therefore heals injury and trauma.
Functional movement is the foundation for aging well, healing injury and resolving restrictions. Most humans, as a result of the ways we grow – in chairs, with shoes, in societies that disconnect the mind-body flow – have bodies that are not functioning in optimal ways, even disconnected from themselves. There is a weakness, a vulnerability, that comes from not properly using the body as we age. This is a cultural phenomena that results in aging with degenerative conditions. What the KYM does is work to restore the functional movements from the joints themselves, rescuing the bodymind, not only from restriction of circulation and movement, but also restoring neuromuscular connection. “Making a better body for your brain and making a better brain for your body.” -F. Kaiut
The resource of functional movement in the healing and recovery process is foundational. The resource of functional movement as we age – being able to put shoes on, pick something up off the floor, maintain balance, becomes the difference between an independent and an assisted life. It changes what is possible as the wisdom of years add up.
For as long as I can remember, I had an image of my elder self in a wheelchair. After a week of practice intensive with Francisco, where he helped me address some deeply held patterns in my pelvis, that future-image literally dissolved. How does it change my whole life to imagine myself walking at age 80, rather than being wheeled around in a chair. It does, that’s for sure.
All bodies take on a shape as a result of what has happened to them. All bodies are different. In a body like mine, the complexity of the patterns inside demands from any body-practice an accuracy, an intelligence, and an effectiveness that is truly custom. The KYM offers this. The way that we approach poses and classes – with the mindset of learning, nervous system regulation, and restoration – allows for my system to express itself as it is. When the system is reintroduced to itself, it begins to naturally self correct. Rigid patterns and patterns of instability and disconnection resolve and freedom and harmony of movement reveal themselves. The body patterns resolve and the pose, naturally, becomes more and more accessible. This practice restores the body’s natural ability to balance, heal and evolve. As we regain our freedom of movement old injures heal, chronic tension and stiffness dissolve, and we become more mobile and flexible in all aspects of life.
The Method opens the doors, the windows. Practicing unlocks the locks, removes the blocks – it dissolves and resolves and removes and unlocks. For me this Method is a perfect key in the locked up patterns that would keep me from whatever level of health I want to achieve. Perfect in the sense that is unlocks and gives me access to the intelligence inside my form. It is simultaneously universal – restoring the functional movement that all bodies are made for, and truly custom – addressing the unique patterns in a bodymind that keeps that person from being in harmony with that birthright.
Similarly to objectivity, progression has nested meanings in this practice. Most immediately, it is reflected in how the Method is taught. All poses are available to all bodies. Classes are taught to students with all levels of experience. Seasoned practitioners practice along side new students. Able-bodied folks do the same class as folks with injury, illness or disability. This Method truly inhabits the original tenant of yoga: Yoga is for everybody. It does not discriminate. All postures are progressive and, when done consistently, all bodies will progress within a posture.
Progressing toward greater health and wellbeing is a natural expression of putting the bodymind back into contact with its inherent intelligence. Kaiut Yoga is not the only tool for this. Other practices such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong can have a similar result. It is natural for the bodymind to heal when it is put back in touch with its nature. This is self-evident for many Kaiut Yoga practitioners. After doing Kaiut Yoga, even for a short period of time, there is a wellbeing that begins to reveal itself. The system recognizes the value of that is being reintroduced, and it responds, naturally – like water in dry soil. Francisco identifies this phenomena in students and has named it Joint-fullness.
Once you have some time under your belt, the sequences take on a completely new flavor. The body begins to crave the progression. So many times I have had the experience where I get the itch for a certain pose, and it shows itself within the next few classes. There is something about the classes themselves that operate as a tool into the modern body, dismantling the defensive patterns and opening the body and the inherent intelligence back up to itself. It is indefinable the magnitude of the systemic changes that take place. The way that Life organizes when it is reconnected to its natural intelligence: it is profound, unpredictable, endlessly creative, responsive, intuitive, natural, instinctive. In my experience this is what Yoga unlocks, ‘when done properly’ and the 100 classes does that. If you do it, it works. There is a magic to that, but there is also simply the fact of that – simple. Like drinking water, connecting with the earth, being kind ~ engage with functional movement, and your life becomes better, easier, more alive.
LIBERATION: Cleaning the System
Yoga, when done properly is hygiene, not exercise. When Yoga came to the west, it came through the powerful influence of the exercise industry and dance. The true function of yoga in a bodymind is to clean up the system and deliver it back to its basic intelligent nature. As this occurs, the results and consequences of stressors and undigested forces are digested and dissolved in the system. This is the process of dissolving restrictions and the result is liberation in the body and in the mind. Yoga is a tool for cleaning the body. Much like flossing teeth, or keeping the kitchen clean, when done consistently and regularly, all functions flow with more health. Back to the Onion analogy – layers upon layers of patterns must be resolved and as this happens, more and more health and harmony become available.
The more clean, smoothly running, freely flowing the system becomes, the more a bodymind is able to operate without forces of stress, discomfort, and pain dragging the system down. The consequence of having a bodymind that operates more efficiently and with less effort is: freedom. More life force energy is liberated for creativity, evolution, self expression, service. We become more available to life when we are less caught up in the inner tensions of what holds us back or drags us down.
I see that this is one of the ways that the Kaiut Yoga Method has changed my life. As my bodymind changes, so do the pathways I choose for my own evolution. Instead of having a body that lives with a certain amount of physical discomfort, which requires a certain amount of energy to deal with, and carries with it a certain self-image and image of what might or might not be possible – on any given day or in life in general – I have a body that moves through space with more ease. This frees up energy for other things, changes my self image and the image of my destiny, inspires something entirely different. This is the potential of yoga. This is what I have seen in my life. This is the algorithmic influence of the KYM and its capacity to unlock life force. When you facilitate health in an organism, so much more is possible.
Last week, my hip kicked into its familiar pain pattern. In the past, this kind of thing would take me out for weeks or even months at a time. The pain would begin and I had nothing effective that would change the course of it. Certainly bodywork, pain relievers, etc – all of that would help – but it was some mysterious force or the lifting of a pressure system in the atmosphere, and I would finally come out of pain. Months of my life have been spent hobbling around in this difficulty, burdened by the struggle to maintain a good attitude and a hopeful outlook. Now, I have Kaiut Yoga. I come to my practice, and things resolve fairly quickly. There is more efficiency with which I move through these periods. But more importantly – before I had Kaiut Yoga, there was a psychological/emotional gymnastics I would do to manage my experiences. Now, I go to my mat. I take a class. I put my legs up the wall. Sometimes the pain is still there, but I am more empowered and in the seat of my efficacy with the pathway ahead.
Practicing this method regularly and consistently over time has restored mobility and functionality on a biomechanical level, grown resilience and tolerance for challenge on a nervous system and systemic level, and supported connection with what is beautiful and hopeful when it comes to living in a body that can serve the growth of my life. The practice has made me more available for the demands of life, more resilient in the face of stressors in life, more inclined toward evolution than maintenance.
I practice most every day. My Kaiut Yoga practice is the tool that keeps my body from locking up in scar tissue and trauma, stress and lack of mobility. When my body is free, my mind follows, my heart responds, my life comes ever more into harmony. This is just the way it is. My life is not special or unique in this way. Everyone who does yoga properly, with the right orientation in mind, has the ability to benefit in the way that I have. The way that thousands of Kaiut Yoga students have. Kaiut Yoga addresses the whole human being. From our joints to our skin, our habits to our luminosity. Come, drink from the well of your own deep intelligence. It is not hard, you just have to do it.