It is nothing but wintry white outside, but the crocuses have bloomed and are lying in wait for the snow to melt. No longer unequivocally winter but not yet fully spring, this in-between-the-seasons time here in Colorado is one in which it can be hard to find our bearings. We are drawn by glorious shirtsleeves days into the hopefulness of spring only to be abruptly pulled back by a weather advisory storm into the weightiness of winter.
This year the disorientation is not just due to the vagaries of weather. Our long awaited emergence from the ravages of the pandemic appears to be looming, coinciding with the advent of spring, adding to the already heady euphoria of anticipating that season, even as news of continued COVID deaths, emerging viral variants, economic disparities and uncertainty about when or if life will ever return to “normal”, draw us back into wintry solemnity.
In the midst of these uncertainties, we come to our yoga mats. Bringing our kind, focused attention, we listen to our bodies as they communicate in the language of the body, sensation. We respond with sincerity of effort, giving to our embodied selves that which we need. We come into balance. We find our bearings…
When Wendy started coming to Kaiut Yoga classes at the barn 2 ½ years ago, she was dividing her time between Colorado, her home state of Louisiana and other parts of the country where she traveled frequently to visit her children. Wendy attended classes regularly when in Boulder, but she had to forego practicing when she was out of town. Although her travels have decreased this past year due to the COVID pandemic, the transition to online classes has been a wonderful silver lining of the pandemic for her. Whether she is in town or not, she is able to keep to a regular practice schedule, all from the safety and comfort of home, wherever home might happen to be.
As one of Barn Yoga’s most dedicated students, Wendy is likely to be found in one of the zoom frames in class almost every day, quite regularly reporting a new insight in her practice. Among the many benefits Wendy has derived from her yoga practice has been a greater kindness toward herself:
I’ve always been such a caretaker, but now I’m learning to take care of myself. I’m learning that from the physical inside not just the psychic inside.
Wendy’s life story has had quite a few chapters. After raising her three children, she returned to school, earning a degree in social work and practicing for many years as a Jungian psychotherapist and until recently, as a sand play therapist. At the age of 80, she considers that she is in the midst of a major life transition which her Kaiut Yoga practice is helping her to navigate:
I’m 80 years old. So what will I do next? I think right now the big thing is just to listen to my body and be here and keep doing my yoga every day and we’ll see what happens. I don’t know what is next. Yoga is helping me to be patient and wait.
Wendy has these sage words about Kaiut Yoga for those in their later years – equally relevant to those in their younger years who might pay heed:
We are part of nature. Yoga helps us realize that we come from nature and we go back to nature. Through yoga we get more aligned with our real purpose in life which is to be connected to the universe.
Pam had already been practicing Kaiut Yoga when she ran into Barn Yoga student Barbralu Cohen who recommended she try some classes at the barn. Pam was just at the point where her Kaiut Yoga practice was helping her ankle improve dramatically after many surgeries and many months off her feet. Seeking even more of the calm that her yoga practice was bringing to her nervous system and more of the healing it was bringing to her body, she was increasing the number of classes she took each week.
Someone told me once that it’s easy to come to crave Kaiut Yoga, and that’s what was happening to me.
But something was still missing.
I wanted to practice closer to the source, closer to Francisco Kaiut’s influence, to really understand what made the practice work.
When she came to the barn, Pam found a community that filled that need. When Francisco came to Colorado that year, she signed up for his teacher training, thinking that it would only be an opportunity to continue to deepen her understanding. By the time she finished 100 hours of training, Barn Yoga’s founding teacher Wendy asked her to consider teaching at the barn in the future. A light bulb went off for Pam.
I’d always taught the things I loved. I’m a writer with a long career writing books, and writing for newspapers and magazines. For decades I’ve taught magazine writing, non-fiction book proposals and the writing of those books, journalism and reporting. Now I’ve become a developmental editor, helping writers more clearly visualize and write what they desire. And loving language as I do, I also teach English to immigrants through Intercambio, a fine Boulder organization. Why wouldn’t I teach Kaiut Yoga?
Pam has lived in Boulder with her family for more than 30 years. She and her husband have five grown children, two of whom live with their families in Fort Collins. Pam and her husband are in the process of moving there to be closer to kids and grandkids, and she is especially happy to be able to continue to teach Kaiut Yoga on Zoom. If we are ever able to meet in person again, she looks forward to bringing Kaiut Yoga to Fort Collins — where there is not yet a single Kaiut Yoga class!
A lifelong seeker, Don has followed his passions into a variety of professions including having worked as a massage therapist, psychotherapist, entrepreneur, carpenter, handyman, property owner/manager and author. By his own admission, he has brought a healthy dose of skepticism with him into all of his pursuits, his yoga practice being no exception.
As a swimmer, Don had always considered that his swimming was delivering the same benefits, if not more benefits, as a yoga practice might deliver. However, the experience of knowing two people (one of whom happened to be his wife, Barbralu Cohen) who seemed to have benefited enormously from their yoga practice really made an impression on Don and motivated him to give Kaiut Yoga a try. Don was particularly hopeful that the yoga might help alleviate the chronic shoulder stiffness and pain he was experiencing.
Shortly after Don began his initial exploration of Kaiut Yoga, he had to stop practicing because he underwent shoulder surgery followed by a lengthy period of recovery. Now four months after his surgery, Don is back in class and giving Kaiut Yoga another go. Not ready to offer an unqualified endorsement of Kaiut Yoga, Don nevertheless continues to feel intrigued by the possibilities this practice might hold for him and feels motivated to continue to explore those possibilities by coming to class.
Even as a skeptic of so many things, it’s still about being open to see what happens…I just keep thinking: Give it some time because it seems like something’s real here. I’m not sure what it is, but it makes sense. The whole idea of the practice makes sense, just using your body and going into places that you normally wouldn’t go or might not go and gently seeing if you can access them. That makes sense to me.
And Don’s final words that leave the Barn Yoga teachers feeling deeply humbled:
I would say one of the other reasons I’m still giving this a try is because of the teachers. I’m really impressed by all of them. It’s hard to discount that there’s something going on here in what the teachers are saying and teaching. It’s obvious that they’re totally dedicated and something must have happened that really changed their lives and it comes through, not just in their ability and their education but in their heartfulness when they teach.