Kaiut yoga is a practice designed by chiropractor Francisco Kaiut that focuses on working the joints (instead of stretching the muscles). The format is highly accessible to all people, regardless of flexibility, strength, age, or experience.
The Kaiut method isn’t about creating pretty shapes. Rather, the aim is to help people heal from injury and chronic pain and reconnect with the body’s inner wisdom. Learn more about the background of Kaiut yoga and what to expect from a class.
This sequence, developed for Yoga Journal, can be done anywhere. All you need is a mat, a bolster, two chairs, and access to a wall.
1. Viparita Karani (legs-up-the-wall pose)
Support your head with a pillow or bolster. Place your hips away from the wall and allow the weight of your legs to drop into the back of your pelvis. Wrap your arms around the bolster and interlock your fingers under the bolster (or interlock your fingers on top of the bolster, under your head). You may feel a stretch across your shoulder girdle. Close your eyes. Spend 5–10 minutes here to establish the rhythm of your practice and allow your thoughts to slow down.
2. Legs-Up-the-Wall POSE With Arm Extensions
Press your legs and ankle bones together to activate your legs. Elongate your arms, and place the bolster so that the back of your hands can rest on it with your elbows fully extended. If there is no stretching sensation in your shoulders, place one or both hands under the bolster. Open your palms, and spread your fingers. Hold for 5–10 minutes.
3. Legs-Up-the-Wall POSE With Ankle and Foot Movements
Keep your heels touching the wall, and flex your right ankle. Hold for 1–2 minutes. Repeat on the other side. Then flex both ankles. Then join the bases of your inner big toes and increase the pressure between your inner legs by pressing them together. Hold for 1–2 minutes.
4. Legs-Up-the-Wall POSE With Thigh Rotations
Flex both ankles and release the pressure between your legs. Isolate an external thigh rotation in your right hip by moving the outside edge of your right foot toward the wall. Hold for 1–2 minutes. Release, and repeat on the other side. Now, externally rotate both thighbones. Hold for 1–2 minutes.
5. Ardha Sukhasana (Half Easy Pose) at the Wall
Bring the bolster under your head. Place your heels on the wall about hip-width apart. Place the outside of your left ankle on your right thigh. Keep your pelvis grounded and your top foot relaxed. Gently turn your head to the right and close your eyes. Hold for 2 minutes. Return to center. Repeat on the other side.
Return to the start position. Take a short pause with your legs up the wall. Press away from the wall and roll to one side. Take a break on your side, and after a few moments, stand and take a walk.
6. Ardha Sukhasana (Half Easy Pose) on a Chair
Find two stable chairs, and place them facing each other with a couple of feet between them. Sit down at the edge of one chair, and place your pillow or bolster on the floor under your feet. Move the outside of your right ankle to the seat of the second chair, and move the outside of your left foot toward the left side of
Drop your head and spine forward, supporting yourself with your hands on the second chair. Let gravity create a rounded spine. Hold for 2-4 minutes. Repeat on the other side. Note: You can also practice this pose seated on your yoga mat.
7. Ardha Paschimottanasana (Half Seated Forward bend) on a Chair with Ankle and Thigh Movements
Place the bolster on the chair in front of you. Place your right heel on the bolster. Put the sole of your left foot on the floor in front of you. Sit on the front part of your chair and firmly flex your right ankle. Release your head and allow your spine to round. Externally rotate your right thigh to point your toes toward the right side of the room. Stay for 1 minute. Sit up tall. Repeat on the other side.
8. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) on a Chair with Ankle and Thigh Movements
Place both heels on the bolster while slightly pressing your legs and ankles together. Flex both feet and externally rotate your thigh bones from your hip joints. Allow your spine to round. Close your eyes and feel all the subtleties within the position. Hold for 6 minutes. Release the position. Stand and take a short walk.
9. Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose) on the Floor with Arm Extensions
Sit on the floor. Cross your right leg in front of your left. Place your left shinbone parallel to the wall in front of you. Using your hands, bring the outside of your right ankle onto your left thigh near your knee. (Alternatively, you could place your right foot on a blanket or bolster out in front of your left knee, or sit in a chair and place your right ankle on your left thigh.)
Drop your torso forward. Place your hands on the floor and slide them away from your torso. Keep your head to a neutral position. Hold for 2–3 minutes. Repeat on the other side.
10. Supta Sukhasana (Reclining Easy Pose)
Lie on the floor with the bolster under your head. Bend your knees and place the bottoms of your feet on the floor. Cross your legs with your right leg in front of your left. Place your left ankle on the floor under your right knee and your right heel on the floor slightly in front of your left knee. Interlock your fingers under the bolster or your head and rest. Hold for 1–2 minutes. Repeat on the other side.
11. Supta Sukhasana (Reclining Easy Pose) With Arm Movements
Switch the cross of your legs. Release the interlock of your fingers. Place the back of your head on the floor. Place the bolster on your palms and extend your arms overhead. You can reduce pressure in your shoulder girdle by placing one or both hands on top of the bolster. Hold for 2 minutes. Switch the cross of your legs. Repeat on the other side.
12. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Bring the pillow or bolster under your head, and release your arms to your
sides. Extend your legs on the floor slightly wider than your hips with your feet dropping to the sides. Close your eyes and feel the results of your practice. Hold for 5–20 minutes.