I’ve always liked the idea of yoga. The Sanskrit word is related to our English yoke. Just as a yoke joins two draft animals together so they can act as one, in the Hindu world yoga is considered a means for joining our personal soul, Atman, with Brahman, or what Ralph Waldo Emerson referred to as the Oversoul. In computer speak one might describe this phenomenon as linking our little PC with the Big Mainframe in the Sky.
Of course, the idea is one thing, the actual practice another. I remember the old joke (not yoke!) of the man who painstakingly put in a new walkway from the street to his front door. Neighborhood kids came, drew hearts and wrote their initials in the still-wet walkway. The man of course was furious. Trying to calm him down, his wife remonstrated, “But George, you’ve always said you like kids.” “Yes,” he replied, “I like them all right in the abstract, just not in the concrete!”
Still, in recent months one of my men’s group members went on about a new kind of yoga he and lots of our contemporaries were doing. It was called “Kaiut yoga” after the last name of its Brazilian founder, a chiropractor named Francisco Kaiut (pronounced “kai-yootch” in Brazilian Portuguese). It stretches everything, Bill told us, and was great for his sciatica. That last statement got my attention since I suffer from sciatica that goes down the back of my right leg. Then, as fate would have it, I found out that the North Boulder Kaiut classes were held daily in a facility not a hundred feet from our house. Best of all, you could try it for two weeks, every day if you wanted, for a mere $20. After that, to be sure, the price went up.
Long story short, about two months ago I started the program. Though it proved a strain and sometimes close to torture, I hung in there and became a regular. I loved the teachers and became yoga buddies with some of the other habitués. My sciatica indeed got better. But then it happened. One night last week I woke up with terrible back pain. After struggling to get out of bed, I found I could hardly walk. The next day and a few ibuprofens later, I spent five hours in the Boulder Community Hospital’s E.R. The typical over-achieving student, I had tried to keep up with Kaiuters half my age who had five times the experience in the practice. Now I was taking opioids—oy!—in the interest of rejoining the pain-free walking world. Once again, I needed to relearn the lesson embodied in the 12-Step slogan “Progress not Perfection.” When will I ever learn? When will I ever learn?!