As a movement educator, I am always eager to learn about new modalities that will help me help my students and clients live better in their body. When I heard that the NeuroKinetic Therapy training would be offered in Dubai, where I live, I jumped at the opportunity to further my studies and gain a clearer understanding of assessing dysfunctional movement patterns and how to address them.

This practical, hands on training, runs over the course of two-days and is a fantastic complement to the work we do as Yoga Tune Up® teachers. In a nutshell, NKT relies on muscle testing – more accurately it is the function of the muscle that is being tested – to identify the root cause of a faulty movement pattern and correct it by reprogramming the motor control center located in the cerebellum.

Dubai-based NKT teacher trainer Keith Littlewood sums it up best, “NKT allows you understand which tissues are causing problems in specific patterns of movement. Instead of just going in and releasing tissue because it is problematic. NKT has evolved to ask questions of the body so that you apply a treatment to a specific tissue and pattern and not just generally, which is what many modalities often do.”

Over the two days, Keith demonstrated a variety of muscle tests, including the core, neck and upper and lower extremities. The aim of the tests is to find where a compensation exists – which muscle is facilitated and which is inhibited. Once the connection is made (and it’s not always easy to find it and sometimes requires serious investigative work and patience), the facilitated muscle is released and the inhibited muscle activated. The practitioner can then retest the relationship to see if the weak muscle now tests strong after treatment. If the change sticks – for example after asking the client to move around or challenging him with an exercise – then homework is given that includes a release and corrective exercise to be repeated several times daily to re-enforce the new movement pattern.

NKT forces you to think critically and to move away from cookie cutter explanations and solutions. As Rolfing founder Ida Rolf said: “where it is, it ain’t!” I experienced so many ah-ha moments during those two days and even had a hard time believing some of the results I witnessed. One of the course attendees who was suffering with plantar fasciitis walked up and down the room without any pain after a few minutes – really a few minutes! – of work on his lower leg. Another classmate who couldn’t squat properly did it wonderfully once her C-section scar was released. It was amazing and beautiful to see these people, both movement educators, achieve their full potential with movements that are so simple, but proved so difficult because of an existing dysfunction.


Yoga Tune Up® teachers work hard and play hard (by taking more training).

Our scope of practice as Yoga Tune Up® teachers fits very well with NKT. We can use the Roll Model therapy balls for release and YTU movements as corrective exercise. I am so excited that Yoga Tune Up® and NKT have decided to team up to offer a one day course on May 6 that’s opened to the NKT community only. The training, titled “Release Techniques for Non-Manual Practitioners: NKT Meets The Roll Model Method®,” will offer therapy ball techniques to work with facilitated and inhibited muscles as well as modifications in application of hands-off help.

I recently became a certified Level 1 NeuroKinetic Therapy (NKT) practitioner and I am looking forward to taking level 2 in Dubai in the fall. Until then I am practicing and learning. Sometimes I find a connection and am able to help my clients (and wow them at the same time, which is always nice), and other times, well, I investigate and investigate but I can’t quite put my finger on it! When that happens, I let my intuition take over, and it usually serves me well! As David Weinstock said in one of his trainings, using the NKT protocols doesn’t mean you can’t use your intuition!

Liked this article? Read Once Upon a Time in a Cadaver Lab 

Emilie Mikulla

Having contracted a major case of wanderlust, Emilie has traveled the world, working as journalist, and now lives Dubai. After a second surgery on her spine, Emilie followed a lengthy Pilates rehabilitation program and, amazed by the results in her own body, became a comprehensively trained Pilates instructor in 2008. Emilie has taught in Thailand, South Africa, Dubai and in San Francisco. Emilie is an E-RYT and has completed her trainings with YogaWorks and Yoga Tree San Francisco, before earning her Yoga Tune Up® certification from Jill Miller. She has also spent hundreds of hours assisting her mentor Harvey Deutch PT at RedHawk Physical Therapy clinic in San Francisco, in teacher trainings, and on retreats at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. She has also recently participated in a week-long cadaver dissection workshop with Gil Hedley of Integral Anatomy. Emilie is the Lifestyle Editor for Women's Health & Fitness Middle East where she contributes a variety of articles and columns ranging from fitness and wellness, inspirational stories and nutrition. Blending dynamic movement with therapeutic releases, Emilie’s classes will empower you to practice the activities you love with awareness and joy.

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Sarah Nelson

NKT seems really fascinating, and I’ve had their training on my wishlist for a while now.
I can see how it would be an excellent complement to Yoga Tune Up, and also how the rock-solid foundations of movement mechanics and anatomy knowledge I gained from the YTU training course would be incredibly helpful in learning the NKT modality. I hope to one day make that wishlist dream a reality – and help even more people with the powerful duo of NKT and YTU.

Dominique Lim

Thank you for sharing! Indeed, the body is not really compartmentalized as we often think it is. I’ll be looking up NKT next!

Sara M

Very interesting post. I can see how YTU and NKT would dovetail and compliment each other, with a focus on anatomy, how muscles interact (agonists and antagonists) and functional range. I’d be curious to learn more about NKT as a tool for identifying muscle dysfuntion.


Very interesting and eye opening article, l would love to take NKT course now that have had a test of YTU and loved it. I am going to keep growing in my knowledge.

Allison Sorokin

I have heard of NKT but never really understood. This article provided me with a great and thorough understanding. Love the quote from Ida Rolf: “where it is, it ain’t!” It’s so true for not only the physical body but the the emotional body as well. And it’s through this process of inquiry and excavation that we get insight into whats happening behind the scenes.

Alyssa P

Well other than now being 100% intrigued and on the lookout for a NKT training I’m really excited to explore more about this modality. I found so many of my own blindspots in the YTU 1 training that the thought of a more advanced methodology is definitely on my mind. I also know that I have c-section scar tissue from 2009 and am intrigued by the idea that it could impact on my squat (which I always blame on my limited external rotation and tight calfs). Thanks for the inspiration!


I was introduced to NMR a while ago (Neuromuscular Reprogramming), which is a sister to NKT, and have been interested in pursuing one or both – this has re-inspired me to do so thanks!

Dawn Williams

I’d never heard of NKT training, but your article has me intrigued. As a student of YTU and a yoga instructor, I love to read about different modalities that help people gain insights into their bodies. After completing Level One YTU training, I am excited to learn all I can about the body and how it functions. Thank you for an interesting article about NKT.

Marsela Suteja

Thank you for sharing your experience at the workshop. I wasn’t too familiar with NKT to begin with. However, I have more knowledge after reading your thorough articles and this has piqued my interest. As someone who just discovered YTU techniques, NKT seems like a complementary training that could beneficial for both the teacher as well as the students.

Tari Surapholn

Muscle Testing-I’ve never thought about using this term at all. I’m focusing on body alignment and the connection of the muscle group that I can use to adjust myself . Trying to use as many as muscle that I can access to, that’s a lot of fun and actually help me to gain more access to more muscle group.
We’re all students of our own bodies…!

Shari Williams

This is a great blog! i have been wondering about NKT and now i am interested in a training. after October i will be and integrated YTU (R) teacher. So i will add this to my need to do to help more clients list .


Hi Emilie,
thank you for the wonderful article. It is so interesting, how our bodies adapt to some ongoing dysfunktion. My son is walking in “duck feet”-style and his orthopedist recommended foot orthotics. But since I worked through some articles about muscle functions, strengthen his inner thigh muscles would make much more sense to me.
I love the quote from Ida Rolf “Where it is, it ain`t!”


Thank you for sharing, Emilie!
This sounds so interesting and is definitely something I’ll be looking into.


How amazing it must be to be able to find exactly where the problem is stemming from! Our bodies are such beautiful and complex things! I love “where it is, it ain’t”! During my YTU training I discovered that a lot of what I thought was the epicenter of the issue was actually just a long line of chain reactions and my body is doing the best it can to keep up. This is super fascinating stuff! Thank you!

Rita Chow

I’ve read stuff about NKT but never have the chance to really experience it myself. Thanks for the wonderful article, now you’ve inspire me to find a NKT practitioner in my area!


Respectfully, I’m wondering how the larger problem is addressed. Which is, how did they get to that place of pain in the first place. I am a firm believer in manual therapy, SMR, and any myofascial manipulation that is safe, but they can often fall under temporary solutions to a larger problem. Treating the symptom/pain instead of figuring out the cause and addressing that. Your article says that repeating these therapies several times a day is required to reinforce the new movement pattern, but what tools are used to address the chronic nature of the compensation? A lifetime or years… Read more »

Ben Blazke

I have recently received an NKT assessment and corrections from an NKT/YTU practitioner and can can personally testify that NKT and YTU complement each other wonderfully. NKT helps you to identify your blind spots and YTU gives you the methods to brighten them!


Wow this was great! It’s so great to hear and see that this intelegance is sprinkeld throughout the world with the same goal in mind! This was inspiring to see the different approaches internal mapping and body intellegance! I think I have an excuse to finally get out of the country this sounds like a great compliment to yoga tune up and a fantastic way to further my studies! I will be looking this up! Thanks for sharing.


I’m in the YTU L1 training as we speak and I’ve been looking for a program exactly like what’s described in the NKT course as a further compliment to what we are learning. Thanks for sharing!


Thank you for this – I am so glad to hear the two practices complement each other. I am a corrective exercise specialist, currently in the middle of the YTU training, and right before I came I scheduled an appointment with a level 3 NKT practitioner for after I get home – I was looking for help with an injury of my own, but also really curious about NKT and wondering whether it would be a good next step for someone with my background.


I am so glad to hear that you think these modalities complement each other! I am in the middle of the YTU training right now, and I have an appointment with a NKT practitioner next week when I get home – I scheduled it in part because I am hoping it can help me with one of my own injuries, but also because the woman is a level 3 and I was hoping to pick her brain about what the training entails and whether it would be appropriate with my background.


Emilie, I remember learning in massage therapy class that saying “where ever is, it ain’t”. My massage teacher then followed that up with “but if you want them to come back you have to spend a bit of times on the painful area”. I commonly treat upper back pain by releasing the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. I like to thought that NKT activates?releases the body in this way. I would like to look into NKT when I’m done my Yoga Tune Up Level 1 certification.

Noelle Carvey

This is absolutely the direction I want to head in. Purpose and intention. I love this community and the ability to discover. To be intentional and yet explorative and playful about it. To actually be able to find the root cause of someone’s pain and find ways to overcome that, as well as find people beforehand and prevent injury and spread more knowledge to more people who in turn tell other people that information with excitement. I just completed the YogaWorks Larkspur 200 hr TT with Michele Klink and Hillary Skibel and am right in the middle about of the… Read more »


Thanks for the informative article, Emilie. Working as a Massage Therapist and Yoga Instructor, I’m always looking for new techniques to deepen my skill set and I love when there is some overlap in ideas or techniques. Very cool to hear about the collaboration between YTU and NKT. Do you know of any NKT practitioners or trainers in the Pacific Northwest?


I’ve been an NKT practitioner for about 3 or so years now, and I can agree wholeheartedly that NKT is a great system to complement YTU! More than anything else, NKT is a detailed system of assessment. The treatment and “homework” aspect of it is completely dependent on you the practitioner to use your other skillsets to help your clients once you have a good understanding of the dysfunction that needs tending to. Having a pinpointed approach to finding the tissues we should actually be releasing, and how we should be integrating the correction back into full-body movement. As a… Read more »

Alex Salomons

This NKT sounds incredibly interesting and I will definitely be doing more research on it. I can see how it would mesh so incredibly well with our YTU training. Really awesome im super excited to learn more about the NKT technology.


Very well written Emilie! I love the idea of integrating different practices and ideas for continuing education. Finding the driver (or root) of the faulty movement pattern is so important to correcting the dysfunction and NKT seems like it gives you the tools to do just that. I’ll definitely be looking at taking this course in the future to include in my physiotherapy practice along with my YTU training.

Marissa Maislen

As a dancer, this was a wonderful bread crumb towards a larger investigation of my body. With limitations or struggles I’ve always had as a dancer coming through my mind, I’m learning more and more that what I think it’s the problem, is NEVER the real problem. It was a huge realization that my problems with balance had nothing to do with a lack of core but with shortened muscles in my feet. The tissue there​ was so so tight!! I started rolling them every day, and felt a difference immediately!

Tanell Liptak

Hi Emily. I have been following David from NKT on Instagram for a long time and I am always amazed at the connections he is able to make. I am very interested in taking the time to take the NKT L1 at some point, but I was wondering how much time I would have to spend afterward to truly master the skill of assessing clients. I have a very full schedule and some times simply trying to be an excellent YTU teacher can be a more than full time job. It has definitely taken me at least a couple of… Read more »


First off, I follow you on IG and love the content you post! I’m also a big fan of NKT, and I am interested in learning more about the postural assessment, and learning to be able to test and assess. A lot of times where you think the cause of pain is, it isn’t. Can’t wait to see more posts about this from you.


I do not really know very much about NeuroKinetic Therapy, but it certainly sounds very interesting. I like the idea of using testing to determine why the client/student is experiencing a faulty movement pattern. It’s also exciting to be able to incorporate the Yoga Tune Up balls to release the facilitated muscle, and the Yoga Tune Up movements to awaken the muscle the muscle that was being inhibited in order to address the faulty movement pattern, and create a new improved “normal”. Thanks for writing this article.

Janelle Schiavi

Thank you for sharing. I love how the instruction to use your intuition is brought to light. Following certain guidelines of course is mandatory but to really feel and investigate where the muscle connections are in your body. Let the body speak to you.


Very interesting blog article and very thought provoking. I am new to Yoga Tune Up, and come with an open mind to discovering tools and techniques to help identify sources of dysfunctional movement and improve or correct them. NKT sounds fascinating and full of synergies with YTU. I will probably explore it as an expansion to the YTU training over time. Thanks very much for sharing!


Thank you Emily for this article. It just confirm even more that i made the right choice to do my NKT level in few weeks ! I am soo much looking forward to this!


Emilie, I absolutely loved your blog. I have not heard of NKT but after reading your article, I will certainly delve deeper. YTU and NKT appear to be a match made in heaven.Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Martine Kerr

I am fortunate that YTU brought Emilie and I together – as we both live in Dubai. And I’ve also experienced some of the NKT magic from Keith Littlewood, my ‘voodoo’ guy. I love the idea of targeting my self-care work. As an active Strength coach, I do ask a lot of my body…sometime too much as my tissues periodically respond with a vengeance. The whole NKT approach to scanning for imbalances in sometimes unexpected couples is a great way to keep things in check. Find, release and activate. I’m looking forward to taking the course myself!