After attending the Grand Opening of Kaiut Yoga in Dallas and meeting Francisco, I was intrigued to find out more…not only him but his personal yoga technique called the Kaiut Method. It was obvious he is loved by many especially the teachers who he has trained. Many of his dedicated teachers have opened Kaiut Yoga Studios all over the world. I knew there was something special about Francisco to have the kind of commitment and appreciation his teachers have toward him. We are honored to have Francisco share his story with us. Let’s learn more about him and why his style of yoga has become so popular. –“AJ” Amy Jo Crowell, Publisher Dallas Yoga Magazine
Dallas Yoga Magazine: Tell us where you are from and currently live.
Francisco Kaiut: I’m originally from the southern part of Brazil—a community well known for its city planning and more than 20-year focus on recycling. My city, Curitiba, is a place that’s very different from how Brazil is thought of internationally, because it is well-planned, well-designed, and it’s cold as well as humid (not the tropical climate usually associated with Brazil). In fact, Curitiba can be quite cold and often rainy. Lately I’ve been living in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, with a population of more than 20 million people. I live in São Paulo because of its dynamic energy and because it’s well connected with Europe and North America, which makes my life easier since I’m constantly traveling. I live in the middle of São Paulo in an apartment in a very tall building where I practice during most of my days. I think of my apartment as a modern yoga cave. Typically, I’ll wake up, drink my espresso, and then practice the entire day for an average of 6–8 hours.
DYM: Before we start discussing yoga, tell us about your background. Can you explain how your background played a role in your yoga practice and teaching? (For example: chiropractor, craniosacral therapy, massage, and polarity theory.)
Francisco Kaiut: Well, it would be nice to say, “If I didn’t study this or that before yoga, then I couldn’t have…” But to be honest, yoga has been with me since I was sixteen or seventeen, even before college. As far as my education and growth as a health practitioner, yoga was my first and my original influence. Besides that, yes, I did become a chiropractor, and I studied sports massage and deep massage for rheumatologic disorders. Later polarity therapy became one of my main passions, and then craniosacral therapy (now very well known, but less familiar at that time). So, after originally being passionate about yoga, all the different therapies and natural healing arts became part of my life. However, all these different studies and practices helped me understand with new clarity what yoga was about. For me, yoga comes before all. All that I studied later helped clarify for me why yoga would work, but then how it could work required greater understanding and time. I did study natural healing arts in England, in the States, and in various parts of my home country. Brazil has had a long tradition with yoga— since the ’40s. Most of the things I learned in my country about how yoga could work were very fortunate, because they deliver long-lasting results.
DYM: What is your yoga background? (Where did you first start practicing, the style, etc.)
Francisco Kaiut: I started to study and practice yoga following very classic Brazilian methods, because my country has had strong influences from various yoga lineages that came from Europe, as well as from Argentina and Russia. Since the 1940s, yoga has been a common practice in Brazil. It grew in prominence during the mid ’60s and ’70s—a period when Brazil was under military rule—when some of the main teachers were military, which made the practice very accessible. Most of those teachers were effective at delivering methodologies that were sustainable, instead of pose-oriented yoga. Even today in Brazil we can easily find people over 80 who have been practicing yoga for a long time, and those same practices were my main influences. Initially I practiced Brazilian styles of hatha yoga, and later, when I had opportunities to study Iyengars work and the ashtanga method, I did that. Over time I began to understand what in those types of work was not sustainable and what changes could be made—not to criticize those methods, but to expand my own comprehension of sustainable practices.
DYM: Tell us about people who have influenced your path.
Francisco Kaiut: The main influences in my path were the polarity therapists from Europe. Randolph Stone, who was born in Austria but spent most of his life in the States, was an osteopath who originally developed polarity therapy. I’ve studied with some of his original students in England; that, and an exhaustive study and work with methods and techniques, are probably the primary influences in my work. Then the development of deep massage techniques to be used with chronic diseases expanded my way of thinking and my perspective. My parents were also very strong influences in my life. They were both teachers who helped me understand the need for passion in your work and the art of teaching. Later I met the yogi, who as they say was the “creme de la creme.” He helped me grow my understanding about the development selfs, and about being a teacher of Yoga.
DYM: You developed the Kaiut Yoga style and it is referred to as a biomechanical yoga method… Can you explain this in more detail?
Francisco Kaiut: People try to explain my work in many different ways. It is based on a biomechanical method that has been around for a while. My work is a place where the classic results and the perspective of yoga as a tool for longevity meet up with modern techniques and modern results. It’s the place where classic and modern come together. Biomechanical methods are a good approach to achieve health. Humans, as all animals, have been designed by nature over millions of years. We’re now faced with major challenges that come from the changes in our society and lifestyles. When combining my understanding of the animal with the use of poses to mimic natural ways of using our bodies, I realized that this is part of what feeds the human system with health … the use of the animal that lives inside each of us, the proper use of hands as human paws and feet as human paws, not only as hands and feet. Embracing nature and the animal within us provides many results. All the explanations that come from modern thinking and modern science actually point us in the same direction that yoga has been pointing us about how we should use our bodies. So yes; my work is about biomechanical health, but I would say it’s also about the awareness of technological enhancement and the animal’s ability to adapt. The animal within us is something that should be embraced and accepted. That’s what makes this method and this style of yoga so unique, and explanations for its efficacy are now being revealed everywhere … from science, quantum physics … and so on.
DYM: Where did you open your first yoga studio and when?
Francisco Kaiut: I opened my first studio in my hometown of Curitiba. Exactly when is hard for me to say, because my mind is not date-oriented, but I think it was probably in 1999. I was very young when I opened that studio, just seventeen. I used to live in the changing room and teach the main part of the classes in a very small studio. I first started with 30 or 40 students and about a month later I had over one hundred students and one hundred memberships. I remember being so exhausted that I would often sleep during my practice. Eventually I would wake up in a pose after being that way for more than a half hour. I was exhausted from so many classes and so much working and reading.
DYM: When did you know you wanted to start training other teachers in the Kaiut Yoga method?
Francisco Kaiut: I never wanted to train other teachers and never thought I would be developing my own methodology. But eventually, after teaching in Colorado for many years and listening to my students, I realized they needed the information to be more structured and organized. My students wanted training in order to understand the logic behind the method, so they could be able to teach as well, and that was the moment when I thought “well maybe that’s the right thing to do … maybe I really should be doing this in order to help more people.” That’s when I understood it was time for me to be more generous with my knowledge and develop more understanding and more effective teaching tools. It needed to be a two-way street … from the information and the demands I place on myself in a situation with no way back. I offer amazing results and wanted them to be able to deliver the same level of results I’d been delivering in Brazil for so long. So, I would say that evolution in my thinking probably happened between 2010 and 2012.
DYM: You have amazing teachers and studio owners like Christina Siepiela opening the new Dallas location and Yvonne Mosser in Telluride. I have had the pleasure of meeting them both and they are very special and knowledgeable teachers. Approximately, how many teachers do you have worldwide teaching Kaiut Yoga?
Francisco Kaiut: I’m super grateful for my inner circle of teachers. By that I mean people like Yvonne, Christina, and many others. My circle of teachers is actually quite large right now. These teachers are ready, original, and they have an interest in continuously improving their skills and understanding. They are always open to new techniques, new ways, new formulas, and new projects. I’m fortunate to have fantastic people to teach this method in my studios. Through them I’m able to offer students some of the most modern teaching techniques and skills that are available. I would say that in my studios today we have around 30 teachers. Then teaching the method worldwide we have probably 700 and 1000 people in Europe, North America, and South America (mainly in Brazil). Many trainings have begun in North America, and from those trainings we have more than 400 new teachers. All these teachers are speaking and living examples of the method.
DYM: Is teacher training offered at most of your studios, and describe the training course?
Francisco Kaiut: Teacher training is not limited to my studios. We decide where teacher training will be offered according to our goals in a specific area. For instance, for the expansion of the brand and for the expansion of our studios, it’s better to have a studio that has students who are interested in upgrading their skills by becoming teachers themselves. That way we have the quality of partnership with those who are already in our lives in those areas. We are now offering training in Amsterdam; we have a training in Boulder, Colorado; we have a training in the Sacramento, California area; we have been invited to start another training in Hawaii; and we’re exploring other locations in Europe, as well. So, we have different reasons for starting trainings and very different reasons in choosing locations. Our trainings happen in three segments. The first segment is called the Concept. It includes a presentation of the basic logic of the method, with a concentration on practice goals. The second segment focuses on the teaching side. It’s more teaching oriented and slightly more intense when it comes to the practice and to the body. Both trainings happen during a period of eight days each, usually with 2 to 3 hours of practice a day. In all we spend 6 hours in the room covering all the different perspectives and we include beautiful sets of presentations. Every day we have a different team, and we work to link all the days together across the whole training.
We will definitely be having a training in Dallas soon, at Christina’s studio. At this point I’m the only teacher who provides these trainings, and I plan to keep it that way for a while. For many reasons, this has been working well for us. The third segment is called the Edge. It includes 14 days of practice and it focuses on you finding your edge for health, practice, and human potential. It’s an experience where the students spend 14 days practicing between 4 to 5 hours a day. Every day we explore the background for life, or health conditions, or the power of transformation that comes from the practice. It’s about the skill of developing systemic practices. And it’s about you—designing the perspective you have about yourself and understanding yoga practice as something that transforms the body at the same time it provides a powerful, personal transformation experience.
DYM: What qualities do you feel are important for a successful yoga teacher?
Francisco Kaiut: For you to be a successful yoga teacher you have to first be in love with yoga itself; be in love with yourself; and be in love with the idea of helping human beings around you. Teaching is an art of caring for others. It’s an art that transforms our teachers as well as our students; it’s about upgrading each other’s lives. For me teaching comes before yoga. If you are really passionate about teaching, passionate about yoga, passionate about people and the healing process, then there is no way to go wrong.
DYM: I absolutely love Austin and it’s a huge yoga city. I noticed you have four Kaiut Yoga studios in Austin. That’s a huge accomplishment! Congratulations. Tell us about those locations.
Francisco Kaiut: In the Austin I have a beautiful group of teachers who teach in very different areas of the city. Our actual (official) studio will have a permanent location very soon, which is very exciting to me. At this point, Renae, my dear student, is about to choose her permanent location and she is about to start remodeling in order to offer the method in its full version, which is only doable in our studio, because each facility has to be able to present the full experience of the method.
DYM: Do you travel to all the Kaiut Studios worldwide and how often?
Francisco Kaiut: I do travel across the States twice a year. I’m not always able to visit all the studios, but lately I’ve been able to visit my primary teachers every year, at least twice a year. As we expand, one of our main concerns is how to expand sustainably by making my presence less critical. The effect of my presence can be accomplished by helping our teachers become more skilled and better able to deliver solid results every day. The ongoing challenge with expansion is how to make it sustainable for me, for my teachers, for my health, and for our students everywhere.
DYM: What do you find most challenging when teaching yoga?
Francisco Kaiut: One of the things I feel is challenging about teaching yoga is the impression yoga has received from the fitness field, as well as the atmosphere around the world that yoga makes a lot of people feel not welcome. Yoga has been expanding, but in a way that is not necessarily welcoming to everyone all the time. Reversing those public misconceptions has been a challenge. I want to help people feel welcome regardless of their past, their injuries, their limitations, or their restrictions. I want to help them understand that our studio is a place for healing and realizing our potential for change. We can’t predict what that potential really will be, because from my experience the potential for healing and positive transformation from yoga is endless. People sometimes might think that because they have a physical limitation, or fear, or disease, they can’t do yoga. We know that everybody can and everybody will benefit.
DYM: What do you find most rewarding?
Francisco Kaiut: What I find most rewarding in teaching yoga is sharing my story. It affirms that despite my past accidents, yoga itself delivered me, providing me with more life-enabling results daily. What I see across this country are the results that have been shared with me by my students. I receive very deep, thankful notes from people willing to get in the room with their wheelchairs and go to the mat. I hear from people living with different health challenges who just get better and better. For me the greatest reward is understanding the great results we can have; it’s endless.
DYM: What part of the body do you see people having problems with most often, and what do you recommend for them?
Francisco Kaiut: Definitely the main issues that I’ve been noticing are those that affect our lifestyles; those that involve body parts that we can’t move. When we have issues with hips or shoulders, in order to help those parts move more efficiently we can work from the feet and from the hands. The Kaiut Yoga concept PAW makes reference to the potential available within. It introduces a way of using our feet and hands as modern human paws. The greatest neurological and biomechanical benefits that result come to our hips and our shoulders.
DYM: As a student, how can someone tell between pain and discomfort?
Francisco Kaiut: At first, the student should not deal with pain; eventually the student will learn to. Our teachers understand that discomfort or pain is already inside, idealized by our minds and dealt with by the compensatory patterns of our bodies. We often store discomforts inside and may spend a lifetime avoiding dealing with those discomforts, as we avoid the reality of past injuries, traumas, and other things. When you practice, the first part of the process is for you to find out everything you’ve been storing, to get yourself familiar with your real self, with your real body, with your real emotions. Then as you progress, there is a learning process where you learn to acknowledge the reality of your past injuries, problems, discomforts, and traumas. That is the process of evolution. That will begin to change everything and will help you to gradually transcend the meaning and your identification with your issues. For instance, we think our shoulder hurts, but actually that thing isn’t inside our shoulder; that pain does not belong and has to be removed as does its neurological process of learning and changing. So, yoga is the way beyond physical to its process, where you learn how to upgrade your hardware and software at the same time, in the same place. By the end of the day you have a much better body as well as a much better brain. You develop the real link between those two … it’s fantastic.
DYM: What advice do you have for a person who has been practicing yoga for a long time, but seems to need a little more extra something to their practice?
Francisco Kaiut: Basically, you don’t have to think about pain or discomfort. Everything will be done by your teacher for you. And over time, this process of education will change you and you will be skillful and capable of doing it on your own.
DYM: What advice do you have for a beginning yogi?
Francisco Kaiut: Practicing yoga is only about consistency. It’s not discipline. It’s self-education and consistency with transformation that will come out of those skills. It’s not only a physical activity. It’s an activity we do with our bodies and minds, more than physical activity alone. I consider that practicing is something much closer to brushing our teeth than anything else. It’s a form of daily hygiene. It provides benefits for the body and for the mind. So, my main advice is for consistency—not much every day, but every day.
DYM: Is there anything else you would like to share with us that we have left out?
Francisco Kaiut: For the beginner yogis, the only advice I would give is practice with passionate inspiration—your natural inside inspiration. Determination is what fuels the action of practicing properly. So, practice with passionate inspiration all the time. In my hometown, I have many students who started to practice with me at the age of 60 or 65, after doing yoga over the past 20 years. It’s quite common for me to hear from them, “Well you know Francisco, I can see in the mirror that I’m getting older, but I can’t feel that anywhere in my body. Actually, my body is still improving and getting better by becoming flexible, which is remarkable.” So, what I’d like to tell you is yoga is a fantastic gift that our own evolutionary process has granted to all of us. Just use that. It’s your results that you are not nearly close to understanding.
Reach out to Kaiut:
You can find Kaiut Yoga & Francisco on their website at https://kaiutyoga.com/
If you are interested in the NEW Dallas studio located at 4623 W. Lovers Lane Suite 200, 75209. You can also reach them by phone at 972-863-3251 and find them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kaiutyogadallas/