When Sally came to her first Kaiut Yoga class several years ago, she had already undergone several back surgeries but was still having back pain, especially after going on the long hikes which she loved to take. Life had also taken a toll elsewhere in her body: She had undergone both right and left hip replacements as well as surgery to repair a major muscle tear. Sally soon became a dedicated Kaiut Yoga student and quickly began experiencing benefits from her practice, gaining increased strength, mobility and freedom from pain. “I’d kind of beaten myself up…but Kaiut Yoga was helping me get healthy.”
Then came April 2020, when Sally was in a tractor accident in which she broke her pelvis. Her recovery from the accident was further complicated by having to undergo shoulder surgery. In the hospital after her accident, Sally was unable to receive visitors due to the COVID pandemic. Alone in her hospital room, she began almost immediately to use her Kaiut Yoga practice: “I could do things in bed, you know, just little things, to move around. I tend to want to do everything beyond my capacity, which is my nemesis, so not allowing myself to try too hard was very important. I knew how to move, but I also knew how to wait.” In addition to the practice she was able to do in bed, the knowledge that she would have the full practice of Kaiut Yoga available to her just as soon as she was ready to return to class was a great comfort: “Just knowing I had yoga to come back to helped my mental health.”
Sally reflects on her recovery since her accident: “It’s been quite a battle—four solid months of rehab and different states of repair.” And, indeed, Sally is repairing, returning to class with her arm still in a sling just three months after her accident! “I have come a long way, but without yoga I don’t think I would have, because my body was already strong from yoga, my joints were strong. Yoga has brought me a lot of strength and resilience…I’m stronger. I’m a believer! ”
At 80 years of age, Ren describes himself as “an old dude”, but he believes that Kaiut Yoga is helping to keep him “a youngish 80”. Since starting to attend classes at the barn nine months ago, he reports feeling more flexible and his sciatica has improved greatly.
The transition to online classes due to the pandemic has worked surprisingly well for Ren. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to go because we think of yoga as being together, our mats are close by and all of that, and yet it works really, really well. So I just want to put in a plug for what is not currently “barn yoga” but rather “zoom yoga. It’s good. I like it!”
When not practicing yoga, Ren enjoys spending time with his wonderful wife Cedar, taking daily walks, pursuing his eclectic intellectual interests and keeping up with his network of friends. Ren is a retired university professor, dean, academic vice president and international consultant in higher education. He is the author of ten books and speaks eight languages.
Ren’s words for those who have not yet tried Kaiut Yoga: “Kaiut Yoga is really part of what is keeping me on an even keel during the challenging times we’re living in… I would recommend it to anybody, even people who are almost as old as me — or older than me!”
As someone who loves to move her body, Kate tried attending yoga classes a number of times over the years but always found yoga to be a frustrating and painful experience. Even though she was feeling more stiffness and limitation in her body as she got older, she had reluctantly come to the conclusion that yoga was just not right for her. When her chiropractor recommended that she try Kaiut Yoga classes at the barn to help with anxiety and the lingering effects of a concussion, she thought: “OK, I’m going to try yoga one more time, but I’m done after this!”
Six months after she decided to give Kaiut Yoga a try, Kate is anything but done with yoga! She has made it a priority to come to class almost every day, even in the midst of her busy schedule as the owner of a local natural foods company, Boulder Organic Foods.
”I’ve always had a really hard time prioritizing taking time for myself because I have so many things to do at work, but boy has it been easy to just say: “I’m not available at 10 o’clock because I’m doing yoga!”
What’s different about Kaiut Yoga for Kate:
“What I have come to find in Kaiut Yoga is that there is no “You have to do it this way or you’re doing it incorrectly.” I feel like I can trust myself to know when I’m going outside the bounds of something that’s helpful… It’s been so great to have all three of the teachers actually encouraging me to respect those boundaries rather than having to feel the stigma of being called out as the one person in the room who can’t do it right.”
“I came to Kaiut Yoga with so many ideas about: “Oh, I have a stiff lower back” or “Oh, I have this, or oh, I have that.” I had really solidified around those things as my identity, but what I’m realizing is that those aren’t solid identities, that they’re changing and they’re breaking up and they’re loosening and I’m changing. So I don’t have to identify myself as a person with this limitation or that limitation which is so freeing and so wonderful. It’s thrilling. I mean it really is thrilling!”
Kate’s message for people who have had tough experiences with other types of yoga: “Please try this, please try Kaiut Yoga! It’s what I always wanted yoga to be but could never find.”
Judy has had “lots of lifetimes”, with careers as a professional dancer, Pilates instructor, esthetician and massage therapist. Since retiring three years ago, she has been exploring her talents as an artist and, in non-COVID times, boarding dogs and running an AirBnB out of her home with her husband Scott.
Although Judy has always thought of herself as someone who loves yoga and has practiced for much of her life, during the past ten years she tried many different styles of yoga but stopped practicing all of them because they caused back pain. She finally concluded that yoga wasn’t right for her body. Then a friend told her about a different approach to yoga called Kaiut Yoga and it sounded perfect. “I’m exactly who this is for!” That was six months ago. Judy has been a dedicated Barn Yoga student ever since.
Living in Berthoud, Colorado has meant driving twenty-five miles to get to classes at the barn, but Judy’s commitment to practice has motivated her to make the trip. “I love coming to the barn, I love the space, I love the teachers.” Making the transition to online classes has not detracted from the class experience for Judy: “Not having to commute frees up so much of my day, but I also feel like class online is just as beneficial as class at the barn…I feel like I’m seen by the teachers online as well if not better than in person… and I’m in my home and have my dogs around me. I don’t see any downside to it at all. I love it!”
One of the most valuable things Judy is learning from her yoga practice is about slowing down:
“I feel like I’ve been pushing myself too much and what I’m finally realizing is that even in the places that are easier for me, that my body is changing and adapting…This practice is giving me an opportunity to be kind to myself and to my body…The more I practice, the more I see it. I’m just so grateful.”
Pam is an accomplished writer and developmental editor who came to the practice of Kaiut Yoga because of problems with her ankle. She had undergone ankle replacement surgery and had complications which required two additional surgeries within the same year. She lost a great deal of functionality in her ankle both as a result of her surgeries and as a result of spending several years off her feet during her recovery. She was afraid to engage in many activities fearing that she would be incapable of doing much because her ankle had become so weak. A friend recommended she try Kaiut Yoga. Pam was initially skeptical of her ability to do any type of yoga, but with her friend’s encouragement, she did attend a Kaiut Yoga class and found that not only was she capable of doing the class, she was amazed at how good it felt. She has been coming to class ever since.
“Things happened for me pretty quickly with doing this yoga. One thing was that it woke up the rest of my body. That was when I really understood that I had been paying attention to my ankle for two years pretty exclusively and that’s all I felt. But within a week or so of doing this yoga it’s like my whole body said: “Oh, we’re still here. Thank you for paying attention!“ It was amazing. In some ways I do this practice because of/in spite of my ankle…but really it just brings me such joy to use my whole body in this gentle but also profound way.”
“I’ve done tons of physical therapy. You know, I did all the things, but still it just was a very unbalanced body and a body filled with fear and trauma. I don’t have that now. I really don’t. As time goes by I see other things unfolding in my life as a result, because when you’re full of physical fear and trauma it’s hard to do much of anything else. It limits you in so many ways. This practice has really opened up my life.”
Jim is a general contractor and dedicated outdoorsman who started coming to Kaiut Yoga classes at the barn in late June when his wife Mary brought him to class on her birthday. Although it was Jim’s birthday present to Mary to come to class on her birthday, coming to class ever since has been a birthday present to himself because he has found such great physical and mental healing from this practice.
“Over the past nine years I’ve had six orthopedic surgeries, the last one being a hip replacement. As a consequence of all of those surgeries I’ve had a lot of physical therapy … which I greatly benefited from, but I’ve benefited from this yoga practice more than any PT that I’ve done because it’s been such a self-healing, a healing that works for me and a healing that I understand…. On the very first day I came to the barn I walked out saying: “Holy cow, that was big, that was really big!” I couldn’t believe it!”
Gloria and Wendy first met a number of years ago when Gloria was a labor and delivery nurse at Boulder Community Hospital where Wendy practiced pediatrics. They reacquainted this year when Gloria showed up to take Wendy’s class. Now retired from nursing, Gloria has started her own canning business, La Cruz Specialty Foods, specializing in a variety of homemade salsas. She has also continued on her path of service as a volunteer with Boulder Food Rescue.
Since attending her first Kaiut Yoga class at the beginning of 2019, Gloria has become a dedicated student at the barn, attending classes four and sometimes five days per week. She reports having benefited greatly from her Kaiut Yoga practice. Here’s what she has to say about the changes she has experienced:
“I have arthritis in both knees and I’m in line to have two total knee replacements. When I started doing this practice I was having pain in my knees but not anymore. I can honestly say I do not need surgery right now. My joints just feel terrific. I’ve also had two thumb surgeries and I’ve developed a lot of strength in the joints in my thumbs as well as my arms from working with the strap in class. It’s amazing what’s possible with Kaiut Yoga!”
Nada Diachenko and Whit Carman
Nada and Whit met when they were both working as professional dancers in New York and have been together ever since. Whit is now retired after leaving the dance world for a 30 year career sitting in front of a computer. Nada is a professor of theater and dance at the University of Colorado and a movement therapist specializing in the Alexander Technique.
One of Whit’s goals in retiring was to be able to dance again. He credits Kaiut Yoga with enabling him to get back to dancing, “just for the joy of moving my body through space”. Nada has had a very long dance career and has “put a lot of miles on the body” resulting in having had both knees replaced. She explored other types of yoga periodically in the past but found some of the poses too extreme. When she heard Kaiut Yoga described as a practice of going to the edge but not forcing past the edge, she decided to give it a try. “The permission, the space, to work my body, which I know really well, and being able to pull back when I need to or now I can go, it’s helped to not only get greater recovery in my knees… I’m doing stuff now that I haven’t done in years… I’m getting my dancing body back…at age 73!”
Great to have you both in class Nada and Whit. Keep on dancing!
Barbralu is a journalist by profession and a regular in classes at the barn. Here’s what she has to say about Kaiut Yoga:
“Kaiut is unlike any other yoga I have done. Celebrating at my 70th birthday this month, I know that for all the other activities I do—lots of biking, walking, strength work outs, gardening, water jogging—Kaiut is keeping me limber, flexible, strong and pain free. When I leave the mat after a practice, I feel like I’m in my body, walking on my feet, in a way I’ve never experienced. I know I’ve done something good for myself and for my goal of aging as gracefully and healthily as I can.”
When Jane first started taking Kaiut Yoga classes at the barn, she felt very self-conscious, comparing herself to others in the class and feeling like she was the stiffest person in the room. In order to continue practicing yoga, she recalls having to find peace within with where she was.
“I really wanted to continue and didn’t want my ego to be in the way of doing that.“ As a psychotherapist working with parents who have lost a child, she is often giving this same message to grieving parents: “It’s OK to be with where you are.”
Jane has been studying the harmonium, a classical Indian musical instrument which is played sitting cross legged on the floor. When she first started playing, she experienced a lot of back pain, but after coming regularly to class she has noticed that she can sit comfortably on the floor and play without any pain.
Jane is also now proud to report that she is no longer the stiffest person in the room — and we are thrilled that she is in the room!
Tamar loves the practice of Kaiut Yoga and has found that her body craves practicing when she is not able to attend class. Her body has been very important to her, both because of her own physical issues, and because of the central role the body plays in her work as an internationally recognized psychotherapist and consultant. She is currently writing a book with the subtitle My Body as a Path to Presence.
“Landing in my body is giving me a sense of presence more than anything else. I know the answer isn’t out there. It’s to be as present as I can be in this body in this moment.”
Bob started coming to classes at the barn at the encouragement of his neighbor. He had been feeling the impacts of the aging process on his body for some time and was recovering from a recent back surgery due to chronic back pain. Although Bob was not familiar with the Kaiut Yoga method, he was looking for a way to engage both his mind and his body in his healing process. Bob quickly became a regular student at the barn, attending classes nearly every day — with impressive results to show for his efforts! Bob appreciates the emphasis in Kaiut Yoga on using the synergy of mind and body working together to approach places of restriction in the body with kindness. His favorite teaching cue is: “Keep it!” which inspires him to nurture the edges of his restrictions which he has come to understand are the places where the real healing actually takes place.
“Keep it!” Bob! It is a pleasure to have you in class!