Yoga can help us be deeply loving and accepting of our history, pain, and trauma, instead of ignoring or denying these experiences. I learned this while growing up in Brazil. My father was in the military, and one day when I was five years old, my cousin and I found his gun while playing in his car. We started toying with the weapon, and my cousin accidentally shot me in my left hip.
The hip trauma impacted my entire body, and the few memories I have of my childhood are mostly related to pain. After the accident, I had uncomfortable sensations, particularly in my leg, back, neck, and shoulders. Sometimes I experienced spasms in my hamstrings and would have trouble walking upright. Or my back muscles would lock up when I played soccer, and I’d have to be carried off of the field by my friends. I was learning how something that happens in one part of the body can impact your entire system.
When I was around 12 years old, I started to find relief through massage and chiropractic work. Then, at 15, I discovered yoga. One night my mom was watching the movie White Nights, starring ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. I found his solo mind-blowing and was captivated by how his skillful movements exuded a sense of freedom, a big contrast to the feeling of tightening up in chains I experienced inside my own body. The next day, while I was waiting for a bus, a bundle of yoga magazines at a newsstand caught my eye, and I bought them. Sensing yoga could help me with my challenges, I spent that night reading every single article. The following weekend, I saw an advertisement for a massage and yoga training hosted in my town, and I enrolled.
I immersed myself in the teachings and practices. We practiced a form of hatha yoga, with an emphasis on pranayama and accessible asana. I was hooked, and two years later I opened my first yoga school. Yoga remained a constant in my life, even when I went on to become a chiropractor. I would see patients all day, then teach class right after my last appointment.
I see yoga mats as chiropractic tables. For me, every pose is a chiropractic stroke, a maneuver that reaches the deepest part of the joints and creates an impact throughout the entire body, including the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
From the beginning of my teaching journey, I was working with a complex group of students who had lots of ailments and injuries. I began to understand that what I was doing was unique, and over time, I created Kaiut Yoga to offer an alternative to the fitness influence in the yoga industry and help people reconnect with the body’s inner wisdom.
Kaiut combines chiropractic methodology, biomechanics, and yogic wisdom. A Kaiut Yoga practice draws on three core themes—sustainability, prioritizing function over form, and inclusivity—and has three distinct phases: an opening, a focused practice, and a closing. Poses are held for several minutes at a time to help students practice mindfulness and attune to their bodies. These longer holds also help to create new neural pathways related to how pain and discomfort are perceived.
When most people lose mobility in a joint, they experience diminished range of motion, or the extent of movement that a joint has. In turn, muscles have less tone and functionality due to their lack of use. Kaiut works directly from the joints, which creates a wave of benefits in the muscles. Gaining balanced mobility in the joints delivers more range of motion and healthier and more toned muscles that, backed by additional neurological connections, create an increasingly integrated and intelligent body and mind.
Changes and improvements in the classroom have to be sustainable so you don’t injure yourself or burn out. Instead of striving for an outward shape in a pose, explore what works for you to keep your body safe and functional in the long term.
2. Function over Form
Rather than fitting your body to a pose, find a position that fits your unique body. The form of an asana is specific to each individual and can only be understood when you combine factors such as your story, accidents, traumas, biomechanics, genetics, dosha, body use, and age. To disregard all of these factors is to disrespect nature itself. Kaiut Yoga always places function above form so that every student can experience the benefits of a pose.
There are no levels in Kaiut Yoga, and the teachers adapt each class to be inclusive and beneficial for all. Anyone can benefit from the postures, as long as you understand that there are different ways to access a pose.
When you do yoga, you don’t want to operate in the same mode that you would be in when trying to meet a work deadline or driving in traffic. That’s why in Kaiut Yoga you start by moving your nervous system to a more relaxed, parasympathetic state, where you are in “rest and digest” mode.
This shift is facilitated by using a pose such as Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose) or Sukhasana (Easy Pose) to ease into a calmer, more receptive state and become more present. Sometimes the teacher will play with other aspects of the experience, like directing you to notice the room’s temperature or the texture of the bolster against your skin. Focusing in this way helps you become more present in your body and move out of your thinking mind.
2. Focused Practice with Variation Options
Kaiut Yoga teachers have more than 100 sequences to draw from and many ways to add variety within these practices. This multi-dimensionality is an important part of the work. Changing the stimuli (such as the order of and time spent in poses, equipment used, and teacher’s tone of voice) challenges your system to intelligently adapt and, over time, helps you to
A typical sequence zeros in on where you are rigid and lack freedom of movement. For example, the sequence on the following pages focuses on observing and working with the external rotation of your thigh bones in your hip sockets and on maintaining or increasing your capability to perform this action.
We explore this movement both with your spine on the floor and with you sitting in a chair. Placing your spine in different positions increases the variety of the movement and allows gravity to impact your system in different ways.
In Kaiut Yoga, the teacher will sometimes invite you to get up between poses and walk around. Doing so gives your brain a chance to integrate the new state your body is in, so you can start to draw on how this feels—physically and mentally—in regular life.
Every class includes time to rest in Savasana (Corpse Pose) so that you can relax and receive the benefits of the practice. Then you move to a seated position and press your palms together at the center of your chest to close the class.
3 Tips for Beginners
- Consistency: Aim to practice three times per week to help your body and mind get familiar with the method.
- Build Self-Connection: Don’t overwork or underwork. Tuning in to your body and breath will teach you to discern the difference.
- Practice Kindness with Yourself: If the postures challenge you mentally, physically, or emotionally, offer yourself patience and self-compassion.
Ready to practice Kaiut yoga? Start with this sequence.