It’s a 9-minute walk along a quiet street parallel to the busy one on which my hotel sits. Three times a day, over 11 days, I walk — free from stress and worry. I’m in Brazil, far from home, but I must realize this is my home, too. There’s something special about traveling to this place, where Francisco has chosen to continue his research and evolve this method that I’ve come to love and respect over the past seven years. The space he has created is free from distraction and entirely focused on supporting the critical work of designing, building, and maintaining a functional, resilient, and adaptable brain and body.
I’ve traveled to Munich, London, and New York City, large international cities with populations of 10 million or less. São Paulo takes the win for the most populated city I’ve visited. Banker BBVA Spark in 2022 called São Paulo the “Hottest innovation hub in Brazil.” It makes perfect sense for Francisco to pick this city to continue to evolve his method.
The Kaiut Yoga method was created empirically and scientifically, which took years, based on chiropractic, yoga, and other healing techniques. Kaiut Yoga is a reinterpretation of yoga into a new method; it’s firmly based on the original vision yet adapted to the needs of a 21st-century reality. Medical dictionary RxList defines empirical as “based on experience and observation rather than on systematic logic. Experienced physicians often use empirical reasoning to make diagnoses, based on having seen many cases over the years. Less-experienced physicians are more likely to use diagnostic guides and manuals. In practice, both approaches (if properly applied) can lead to the same diagnosis.”
A systematic, logical, or cartesian approach doesn’t work well with this method, which is based on restoring lost function to the human body. We can reference how the human body was designed to move in several ways. One way is to understand how bodies moved before the agricultural era, when humans moved from hunting and gathering to farming the land. A more tangible way to see how humans were designed to function in the world is to observe the way children move.
Our resilience slows at 20
We were all children once. We moved differently. We were resilient and adaptable to most conditions. We moved freely, and we functioned well. At around 20 years of age, the human body stops growing and becomes less resilient and adaptable. Our modern way of living and specialization of different activities impact how our brains and bodies change beyond 20.
The book My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., has this to say about the cells in our bodies: “Most of the different types of cells in our body die and are replaced every few weeks or months. However, neurons, the primary cell of the nervous system, do not multiply (for the most part) after we are born. That means that the majority of the neurons in your brain today are as old as you are. This longevity of the neurons partially accounts for why we feel pretty much the same on the inside at the age of ten as we do at age 30 or 77. The cells in our brain are the same, but over time the connections change based upon their/our experience.”
The body ages based on its environment, circumstances, and use — the bodies of hunters and gatherers aged differently than farmers. Bodies of people from the Industrial Age aged uniquely as well. The Information Age has unique characteristics from these earlier ages. If we want a body that maintains function, resilience, and adaptability, we must study how we were designed to move and how the current age impacts that design. This is one of the reasons why the Kaiut Yoga method must evolve, and why we need Francisco working from his research laboratory he has created in one of the most populated cities in the world. This city touts being one of the best in the Information Age. If you’re Francisco and want to know how this age impacts the human body, this is the city you want to build your research around.
All of us living in the Information Age have bodies and joints that are aging in response to the daily challenges of living. It’s a process that happens as the brain constantly orients itself around what we do. Allowing us to work at a desk for 16 hours daily, run marathons, and get good at our favorite sport. The compensatory patterns work well for a long time, and then they don’t. We can find ourselves dealing with chronic pain or a nervous system wired for anxiety and fear.
Advancing the work
There’s a cozy little place called Ateliê Kaiut Yoga in Pinheiros, São Paulo. It’s within this hip neighborhood that Francisco continues the empirical research that informs the evolution of the method he’s created for the modern human. This is important. As we have seen from the pandemic, the world changes yearly. When working with a style of yoga designed to restore function for all of humanity, we need someone with the vision, experience, and knowledge to keep us moving forward and up to date with the latest research.
When entering the studio, Francisco can be found practicing before classes begin. In one class, it was backbends, it was kneeling on another, and he had his legs up the wall before many. There are 18 mats with all the equipment we’ll need; every mat has a name tag strategically placed based on the experience he’s looking for the student to gain. Everything is well-prepared based on what he sees as biomechanical needs in a student's body. Nothing is random.
The lighting is soft and calming. The space is welcoming. Having your legs up the wall for 20 minutes or more to do circulation work feels natural here. Class begins with Francisco giving clear directions. “Sit on your mat with your legs crossed.” The formality of this direction allows the student to move in his or her way to get into the position. Then, it’s time to go inward and explore. Through Francisco’s voice and our willingness to restore neurologically those connections that have been lost, we restore the function that has been ours all along.