To Empower a Beautiful Soul

“There is something important for us to understand,” begins kahuna Hale Kealohalani Makua, as transcribed by anthropologist Hank Wesselman. “The word mana is not some impersonal supernatural force that is spread out across the universe... Mana is a personal creative force that is manifested within the individual and that can flow out into the world. And the more mana people possess, the more they can accomplish—and create. When we prefix the word mana with ho’o, it turns into a verb that means ‘to empower’—ho’omana.”
lomi To empower individuals to embrace their unique gifts and fill the world with their mana is exactly our intention at Ho’omana Spa Maui. And with every passing lomi lomi retreat, I am reminded of how blessed we are to be a part of just that. My life has changed, and was impacted quite a bit since the immersion, so I thought to write you. This is a letter from Koa Ramos, a student who joined us this year for Lomi Lomi Immersion. Stories like these are beautiful confirmations for us of the powerful work that we’re doing, to which I can only say, Mahalo Ke Akua! The immersion was deeper than I ever could have thought! Aside from the learning the modality of Lomi; you have awakened and activated a huge portion of my heritage and life that I was ignoring, and has been otherwise dormant. Also, I have become a happier person overall. I have noticed a major lift in my outlook since bringing into practice what I have experienced from the immersion.  My few remaining amounts of family on Maui have been torn apart by everyone fighting for land. Going through this process gave me the courage to repair some of those relationships which I never thought possible. In between classes I also went to great lengths to trace my lost genealogy down in Lahaina back over 200 years now, and that has awakened a bigger sense of connection and happiness for me. So, on a personal note; thank you for providing a platform for me to find the courage to repair that link! taro This, combined with your training, Chucky, and Kumu Mike, Roy, even with Kumu tatau Samson & Kuaika, has connected me to the culture I always wanted to know, but thought had just been lost...I had been so disappointed with aspects of local culture growing up, and although I loved some of it, I turned away from it because of things that happened within my own family all in the face of negative sides from local culture. I always hoped to find a deeper more impactful side to the real Hawaiian culture. I never did, until this immersion. Going through all of this gave me such an overwhelming since of pride! To see, hear, and understand how extremely advanced and beautiful the culture is, has totally changed my life. You have also connected me with people that actually practice this, and I was floored to see this side of the culture being lived. For this alone, I am so grateful. I think there is a renaissance happening, and I feel the need to be within that. 

We too feel a great awakening of Hawaiian culture, after decades of oppression.

In 1896, the Hawaiian language was banned in schools, and teachers were threatened with unemployment for using Hawaiian to teach. In my own family, my eldest son is the first fluent speaker since my tutu— three generations denied their native tongue. But today, because of the efforts of our recent ancestors to spread Hawaiian teachings to non-natives, opening up their wisdom to the world with care and determination, Hawaiian culture persists. The heartfelt and strong protectors of Mauna Kea, the island-to-island Aloha ‘Aina Unity March, the torchbearers and the ‘aina warriors of the Keawanui Fishpond—each remind our global community of the ancestral wisdom that fuel our fires, and the responsibilities we have to care for our ‘aina and our resources for future generations. aloha aina

Brother Koa was filled with this fire and empowered to act in his community.

Since coming back, I felt an uncompromising pull to immediately make room for the gifts I had been given during the immersion. I have organized a monthly beach clean up with my daughter, and have a pull with my martial arts followers that make it a large contribution. We chant every time before we start! I have also started contributing donations from my martial practice to Hawaiian cultural efforts like Mauna Kea, etc. I am starting Hula next month, and have undertaken (attempting) to learn the language, while also imbedding it into daily life with my daughter. I also felt an instant transmission on day 2 of fundamentals, in which I had an immediate clear vision of Lua, as a part of healing arising from Lomi and healers. I think the normal outlook on most Lua is slightly off from what I saw and felt. It was like an instant download. So, I am following that vision as a hobby in my off time to share what I have, and putting together some pieces that come to me. We have decided to start putting plans in place to purchase land on Maui in the act of stewardship, not necessarily to live on; but simply to hold as conservation. Most importantly, I have resumed sharing cultural things with my daughter and calling her by her Inoa again. This was something I have forgotten... This activation, means the world to me.  I immediately got a table, oil, and supplies! I make it a practice to do at least 1-2 massages per week on family/friends (hopefully more!). If nothing else, Barbara and I give/receive! I still teach full time martial arts, but have since cancelled all of my personal fights. I intend to use all that time dedicated to learning and helping promote Hawaiian cultural efforts (or giving massage!) It is so important what you are doing. I hope more people with Hawaiian heritage, especially Kanaka (I am hapa!) start finding this.  Thank you again, you are without a doubt, my kumu. Only the beginning! 
Mahalo nui to you, Koa, for sharing your story of activation and action. May you continue to spread your mana across the universe, into the world, and inspire others with your light.


November 20, 2015 No Comments

Welcoming Makahiki

Each year, when the cluster of stars Makali’i appears in the night sky, Makahiki season begins. It is a time for celebrating abundance, gratitude and peace, in honor of Lono, god of rain, thunder and harvest. The four-month-long Makahiki season brought bounty and unity to ancient Hawaiians through festivities and the banning of war.

Ancient Hawaiians celebrated Makahiki in many ways, partaking in ceremonies and games surrounding themes of abundance and sustainability. Across the islands, Hawaiians would take stock of their resources and make sacred offerings to the akua loa, “long god”. If the ho’okupu tribute was sufficient, the festivities would begin. makahiki 2 The Makahiki games allowed ancient Hawaiians to compete in tests of strength and intellect in peacetime – that is, without any thought of war. Today, on the island of Moloka’i, Hawaiians gather to partake in traditional festivities and compete with aloha. makahiki 1 In celebrating Makahiki, people can reconnect to that which is sacred – to the ‘aina, the land, and to ancient Hawaiian culture. Makahiki reminds us of our connection to past, present and future, and that our malama, our caretaking, matters.

In ancient Makahiki times, ‘awa flowed freely, and the Hawaiians celebrated the season with sacred ‘awa rituals, to celebrate the abundance that the natural world will supply when it is cared for.

‘Awa holds a special meaning in Hawaiian culture as a medicinal plant and sacred treasure. At Ho’omana Spa Maui, ‘awa is central to a few of our healing treatments. Our Relaxing Sacred Awa Root Hawaiian Healing Bath deeply relieves tension throughout the body to bring calmness to mind and spirit. Our soothing ‘Awa Alae Body Masque carries warmth and relaxation to every muscle.   awa In honor of Makahiki, we are featuring the ‘Aina Spa Ritual this November. This Transformational Hawaiian Spa Ritual is a deeply enriching experience reflecting the love and connection that the Makahiki season celebrates. In the ‘Aina Spa Ritual, guests are invited to select medicinal herbs from our native Hawaiian botanical garden, experiencing the ancient style of gathering that our ancestors practiced. Feel grounded after soaking in a Relaxing Sacred ‘Awa Root bath. Indulge in an ‘Awa Alae Body Masque, followed by a deeply soothing Lomi ‘Ili ‘Ili Hot Stone Massage. AwaAlaeBodyMasque These authentic healing treatments are steeped in ancestral teachings and ancient wisdom. There are few better ways to celebrate the start of Makahiki than by reconnecting with the ‘aina and renewing your mind, body and spirit.

Welcome gratitude and abundance in your life, and let your aloha shine.


November 1, 2015 No Comments

Poi and the Story of Hāloa

Hawaiians’ deep connection to the ‘aina – the land – has roots in the very beginning of ancient Hawaiian culture. Hawaiians believe that humans are part of the natural world – not separate from it – and the Hawaiian creation story of Hāloa reminds us to care for the ‘aina the way that she cares for us. The story of Hāloa brings us to the beginning of the Hawaiian people. Wākea, the skyfather, and Ho’ohōkūkalani, descendent of the celestial bodies, fell in love and together had a child. But the baby was stillborn, so the deities buried him on the side of their home – the side of the morning sunrise. From that very spot where the gods buried their baby boy, a plant began to grow. This plant, whose heart-shaped leaf trembled in the breeze was the first kalo (taro) plant. The kalo plant was given the name “Haloanakalaukapalili” and he was loved. When Ho’ohōkūkalani again became pregnant, she birthed a healthy baby boy. He was named “Hāloa” in honor of his older brother Haloanakalaukapalili, the long stem whose leaves tremble in the wind. Hāloa was the first kanaka – the first Hawaiian person – and he connects all Hawaiians in unity with one another, with the kalo and the rest of the natural world. In Hawaiian culture, the plants and the ‘aina are our ancestors. They are our kūpuna – our elders, and we have a responsibility to mālama (care for) the land and all living things. Just as Haloanakalaukapalili the kalo cared for his younger brother and all of his decedents by bringing providing them with sustenance, Hāloa embraced the duty to serve his elder brother and mālama ‘aina. When planted – in wetland patches or dryland gardens – the kalo is positioned so that its three heart-shaped leaves reach toward the mountain, toward the sea, and up toward the heavens. The sacredness of the taro plant is carried on today, as both a reminder of Hawaiian values and as a staple food, baked or steamed, then pounded into poi. As Uncle Kauhane Adams told us at the ‘Aha Lomilomi Conference a few weeks ago, the Hawaiian men would wrap the pa’i ‘ai in ti leaf to make a bundle that would hang off their loin cloth, or “malo”. The pa’i ‘ai, made with much less water than poi, was easy to carry this way, and brought sustenance to the traveling men. Still today, poi nurtures the body, mind and spirit, reminding Hawaiians of our essential connection to nature and our duty to the sacred ‘aina. Poi with Kauhane Adams  

Watch video!

Try making the traditional Hawaiian dessert Kulolo – a sweet treat made with coconut, kalo and sugar. • 3 cups raw taro, peeled and grated • 1 cup fresh coconut, grated • 1 cup coconut liquid (inside from a coconut) • 1 cup coconut milk • ¾ cup brown sugar Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease and line loaf pan with foil. Combine and mix all ingredients together. Put into loaf pan. Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours. Remove foil during last half hour for browning.
Recipe courtesy of ILoveHawaiianFoodRecipes.


October 16, 2015 No Comments

Protect Mauna Kea: Kumu Mike Lee’s Mana’o

Can you imagine a world that replaced violence with words?

Since April, protectors of Mauna Kea have embodied Kapu Aloha, an ancient practice inspired by our kupuna, using compassion and Aloha with great intention as a response to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). June 24, hundreds gathered at Mauna Kea to block the passage of TMT construction trucks. Hawaiian chants and prayers filled the misty air and the protectors stood strong for the sacred mountain. 31 people were arrested, and in many ways, it was beautiful. The continued display of Aloha is a spark for the world, showing all what it looks like to stand in unity, and to fight with love. Protectors of Mauna Kea
Kumu Mike Lee’s mana’o helps us understand the real-and-now significance of protecting Mauna Kea, not only as a sacred space but also as a symbol of harmony and sustainability.
This movement is about awakening a spiritual essence in people, and is rooted in ancient wisdom that fuels us with Aloha and a deep knowing of what is right. Kumu Mike Lee paints us a picture: Hiapo is the eldest brother of the family, the chosen keeper of wisdom who holds the greatest responsibility. Our sacred Mauna Kea is the Hiapo, the eldest brother, for the mountains of the world. Mauna Kea is revered as the most sacred mountain by all of Polynesia, representing abundance and the water of life. All our ancestors of the mountain are water beings. Lilinoe, the goddess of the mist, and Poliahu, goddess of the snow, control the broad path of the source—that is, the surface water, the rivers and streams that carry life to the ocean, to everything (and everyone) in its path. Tutu Pele controls the lava tubes—artesian spring waters that run beneath the surface from mountain to sea. And for as long as the sea spray condenses on the mountains and native forests bring clean air and water together, the beauties of the natural world can continue to ensure the sustainability of the whole island. This system represents harmony as a model of sustainability and living in harmony with the land. Traditionally, the papa kilo hoku and the kahuna ‘o maka (masters of the stars and sky) make sure that balance is being maintained for all life and for future generations. The sky is so sacred that in studying the stars, kahuna ‘o maka would never look up, out of humility, but instead into his waihaka—water gourd—to see its reflection. For cultural practitioners, Mauna Kea is not only a sacred space, but also a symbol of the balance and harmony that sustains life. Every culture has historically pilgrimaged to a sacred space, to be spiritually activated, and to maintain that these sacred sites themselves stay activated. For it is through such activation that we might live in harmony with the land and with one another.
Do we choose to accept that a Thirty Meter Telescope won’t affect our sacred mountain?
Kumu’s mana’o also reminds us that Mauna Kea is sensitive to metals, they being stuff of the earth. Each mountain is created from a different make-up of earth elements, and in each one, there are specialized crystals that protect the mountain from massive bursts of gas and magnetic field released into the solar wind (called coronal mass ejections). When this process is disturbed by the different pull of the metals being embedded into the mountain (via, say, telescopes), it creates an imbalance in the mountain's natural rhythms, and the heat and flow of magma is effected. Tons of metal burrowed into the summit will of course change the energetic reactions of the mountain. This kind of disruption in the natural harmony of the ‘aina is not Hawaiian.
We cannot be passive against the destruction of our most sacred values. Kumu Mike Lee and the protectors of Mauna Kea have shown that the answer is harmony, unity, and aloha.
Take action for Mauna Kea. Get involved by signing this petition urging Governor Ige to put an end the TMT project. Join the Online March from wherever you are. Join the conversation on Facebook, and learn more about the sacred space at Check out these videos to see for yourself - This is history in the making: Mauna Kea and the Occupied Hawaiian Kingdom Mauna Kea TMT Blockade Arrests Mauna Kea TMT Showdown June 24 (Part 1 of 3)


August 24, 2015 No Comments

Welcoming a Bountiful Life

To bring ancient wisdom into modern times is a profound exercise in faith.
Faith in the natural world, faith in the source, faith in love and in one's self--  these all come into play as we carry our ancestors' teachings into the present. Such a practice is indeed a challenge, as we are all familiar with the stresses and pressures that the modern world throws at us-- so familiar, in fact, that these feelings feel normal, and it becomes easy to forget what brings true joy and meaning to our life experience.

Are you taking time each day to remember that life is bountiful?


The funny thing about the past is that it brings the present--being present--back to us as a normal and bountiful aspect of our daily lives. It is normal and bountiful to be connected to nature, to the source and to others; Hawaiians have always known this, and it is in remembering such wisdom that we can infuse our world with bounty.
In ancient times, Kahuna La'au Lapa'au--the masters of healing in Hawaiian villages--would gather plants in odd numbers, always reserving one for the spirit ancestors.

Offering Hibiscus

Practitioners would use different aspects of the plant prepared as teas, mashes and poultices to heal the people. Always, they would honor the spirit of the plant through prayerful intention. Such intention declares an opening up of understanding of that which needs healing, calls the plant medicine to reveal itself, empowers full yielding of the body to the benefits of the treatment, honors the spirit realms and offers protection for the practitioner. Today, we practice holistic healing with La'au Lapa'au and intention together in each of our services at Ho'omana Spa Maui. Our After-Sun Replenishing Treatment is one of my favorite offerings. Niu (coconut), 'Aloe (aloe vera) and Wai Meli (honey) are used to exfoliate and replenish damaged skin surfaces in this treatment.

After-Sun Replenishing Treatment

Niu, while soothing to damaged skin, is also a powerful plant medicine that can help keep the skin from developing blemishes from aging and over-exposure to sunlight. Honey is also moisturizing, trapping and sealing in moisture to leave skin soft and supple. It also stimulates the growth of skin tissue, reduces inflammation and contains natural antioxidant properties that supply the body with vital nutrients. Put the two together, and with the loving Lomi touch you have a powerful and refreshing Coconut Milk and Honey Body Masque. After-Sun Replenishing Treatment'Aloe, another soothing plant, helps the epidermal layers rebuild cellular tissue. This anti-inflammatory is rich in minerals and vitamins C and E, hydrates the skin and even prevents dryness by increasing the availability of oxygen to the skin. Our Aloe and Lavender Serum is cooling and replenishing, leaving your skin feeling fresh and new.


When we gather up the bounty of the ‘aina using plants from our own native botanical garden, infusing them with intention for our clients' well-being, we are partaking in an ancient tradition of Hawaiian healing. Being a part of this practice, receiving loving touch and the healing benefits of La'au Lapa'au in connection with the life force of the land, brings ancient wisdom into modern living. Taking part in rituals of the past allows us to care for ourselves in a profound way and invites support and guidance from our ancestors who have passed on these original instructions for sustaining life in a vibrant way.
I invite you to take a moment today and think about the ways in which you are welcoming bounty into your life.
Share your reflections in the comments so that we can acknowledge and learn from one another in our individual quests for joy, meaningful experiences, and self nurturing lifestyle.


July 1, 2015 No Comments
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