My goal in teaching hula is to give others the opportunity to learn fun and beautiful dances while strengthening their bodies and minds. I strive to teach respect of the Hawaiian culture to those I teach, and help them understand why hula is so special. I have been taking a break with teaching during this pregnancy with my twins, but a few months ago I started creating dances that could be available for purchase online. I have one completed but not to the quality I would like and I haven't quite figured out how to add it to this website yet...
I'll describe the hula dance below, and if you are interested in purchasing it for a discounted price, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send a link for payment and then a password protected link with the tutorial and dance. Or you can check back soon, after I've figured out how to add it to this website!
I have been hula dancing since I was about 16. I had an amazing teacher. I loved that in hula I felt I could be graceful, elegant, and expressive. I loved that it was a work out and that it was unique. It was FUN. I tried to join other hula groups as I moved on to different colleges but I was not allowed to join because I was not Polynesian. It was really frustrating, but at the same time I could completely understand where they were coming from in trying to preserve their culture the best way they knew how. It really turned me off on dancing for a while, and it still sometimes plays a role in my hesitation to share hula with others. But every time I share hula I feel true to myself and I feel happy.
A few years ago I was really struggling with depression. I was lonely, overwhelmed, and numb. Things that usually brought me joy couldn’t even put a smile on my face. One night of misery while crying I begged God for the feeling to go away. A voice said clearly to my mind, “Get up and dance.” I hadn’t showered for days, was barely eating, struggling to keep up with the demands of motherhood, and yet I was somehow supposed to get up and dance? It was late at night so I dragged myself out of bed and went to a quiet area in my house as to not wake anyone. I stood there awkwardly and didn’t know what to do. I had zero energy and said “I don’t even know what to do!” And that voice came to me again and said, “Just start.” I slowly started swaying my hips, and then adding a step here and there. Energy built up and I started using my arms. I had no real rhyme or reason, just moving energy through my body with hula. As I danced a big wave of emotion flowed over me and I started sobbing. I could feel again! I felt Amanda coming out and I didn’t want to stop dancing. It was so THERAPEUTIC.
In the past few years I have been studying and learning more about energy. Energy is in everything. You can feel others’ energy and that is very apparent when you walk into a room and without knowing what’s going on you can sense tension. You can feel when people truly love each other. You can feel energy from plants and trees if you pay attention. We all carry energy in our body- both positive and negative. When positive energy flows through our body we are happy and at peace. When negative energy flows through our body we experience discomfort and illness. I’ve heard it referred to as “dis-ease.” The great thing is that there are so many ways to rid ourselves of negative energy. Many people call it “energy healing” or “energy work.” I’ve learned a variety of ways, but some are very common so I’d like to start off with those so you don’t think I’m too crazy! Reading, writing, art, praying, and music are all forms of energy healing. They have power to change our mood, help us work through problems, and elevate our senses. As you dive deeper into energy healing there is also meditating, applied kinesiology, essential oils, genealogy, reiki, rocks and crystals, and a whole lot more. As I have been learning more about energy healing I came across Ho’oponopono. I was immediately intrigued because it was Hawaiian and I love everything Hawaiian.
Ho’oponopono is basically about forgiving yourself, others, and trusting God. The Hawaiian word Ponopono means to put right, put in order, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat. Adding ho’o in front of it turns it into a verb. Anciently to do Ho’oponopono, Hawaiians would hold family conferences where relationships were set right through a formal process. They’d start off with a prayer, state the problem, discuss it, work through it, acknowledge feelings, and then forgive, release, and let go. They would then end with a feast. My family once tried a version of this and it was amazing. The feast at the end was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I was blown away with the forgiveness and desire to change in all of us. Many years ago a Hawaiian healer named Mornah Simeona formed a modern version of Ho’oponopono to make it more available for self help rather than a whole group process. And then later on a man named Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len took Ho’oponopono to the next level in teaching others about it and using it to help heal others. He said, “Any experience you don’t like is a projection from inside you. The problem isn’t with them. It’s with you. Change you.”
In a world where it is easy to blame others, Ho’oponopono reminds us that if there is a problem we see or hear, it then becomes our problem. Once it becomes ours then we have the responsibility to clear it. And how is it cleared? By 4 simple phrases. “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” As these phrases are repeated, an energetic shift occurs that clears out negative energy. That is how Dr. Len healed an entire psych ward. He never saw a single patient. He only reviewed their case file, recognized the same negative qualities in himself that the patients had and took responsibility for it. He cleared that energy from himself, and by doing so cleared it from others. I practiced this one night. My baby was up screaming and crying. He was so tired but not sleeping. I was getting more and more agitated as I rocked him and just wanted to sleep. I was blaming this baby for a variety of things when I realized the issue might be me. I started repeating the 4 phrases over and over in my mind. Clearing myself. As I did, my baby’s tears started to slow. It gave me hope and I kept going. Focusing on me. Eventually I was calm. The situation was no longer burdensome and I was at peace holding my baby. In return, he snuggled up and fell right asleep. I put him in his crib and walked back to my room in a much better mood than I normally would have. It worked. And it works every time I remember to use this helpful tool. Sometimes it takes moments, other times it takes repeating over and over for quite a while.
So there you have it. Two of my favorite things: hula and healing. One day I had the thought “Why not combine the two??” And so I did! It has been a long process. I would take a step forward in progress and then take several back. I let perfectionism and the worry of what others would think of me hold me back. But if this dance can help me then I want it to help others too. Because we could all us a little more good right now.
This Ho’oponopono Hula is precious to me. I was challenged by a mentor to set a date to have it done by, and the day came and I had little to show. I was determined though so I stayed up late until I could feel the meaning of a dance flow through me naturally. I finally created the dance and It felt right. I have since used this hula to calm me when I’m overwhelmed. When I’m struggling with an issue or relationship. I use it some mornings to get my energy flowing.
So my challenge for you is to learn this dance. Practice it over and over until you can do it on your own. Use it as a tool to help balance your energy and bring healing into your heart, one step at a time.