Some Thoughts on the Real Meaning of What Hula Is

Dance can be one way of teaching people to harmonize Body, Mind and Spirit. Hula is one of the best forms of dance in the world for teaching people how to experience that kind of harmony.

Unlike what most people think of hula – grass skirts and coconut bras of the Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley movies or the fast hip movements of the modern hula (Tahitian); the traditional ancient form of hula, like the Chinese Tai Chi, instead helps you "break free of the box". It can be a path of spiritual development as well as a source of joy to beholders and dancers alike. Even when you do it alone, it has a harmonizing effect on you and your environment. The leg, hip and upper body movements are conducive to the release of muscular tension blocks. (This is also similar to modern aerobic dancing, though in very different ways, in being low impact, calming and relaxing)

Hula was the most important part of the ancient Hawaiian way of life. It is still considered the heart of the Hawaiian people, and helps Hawaiian living on the mainland today to maintain their culture and community - their 'ohana. The ancient Hawaiians sang and danced together in all areas of their life. For the Hawaiians, the ancient hula was one of their primary tools for their “three selves” (heart,mind and spirit) to stay in pono/harmony. It was through the storytelling in the movements of the hula - grounding it into their bodies - and in the songs and chant – telling the stories of the ancient legends – that helped them to see the interconnectedness of life – past to present, to themselves, each other and to the environment. In these stories lay the lessons and meanings of being here in physical form. It also helped them to connect to the "higher form" of God through their aumakua, their ancestors on the other side, who being in spirit form were considered “lesser gods”

The spiritual function of hula is to attract the positive aspects of the universe, to increase mana (the vital life force) and to help the audience and dancer to experience a sense of well-being. It is the Dance of Nature and of the Heart. It is actually older than the Hawaiian people that we know today. The first hula is said to be God creating the world. And ultimately, the true form of Hula is the unique hula or movement for each person – how their bodies want to move and express itself.

Learning Hula is great fun; and when you acquire even just a little skill, dancing Hula is like a moving meditation that allows you to fully experience your connection with your own Inner Essence. It is truly Embodied Spirituality. .

The Hawaiian 3 Aspects of the Self - Heart, Mind & Spirit



For many people, the islands of Hawai'i represents paradise. Many of the visitors that go there often find a deep sense of connection to the land and a need to return or perhaps to even move there.

What is the magic of Hawai'i that seems to pull at one's heart? Why is this feeling of it being paradise so strong there? Anthropologists have held the opinion that the Polynesians came from India or Southeast Asia. Many elders and kahunas of Hawai'i claim that their knowledge and culture originated in the Pacific and spread from there to the rest of the world. Researchers now are finding certain key Hawaiian words and place names in other parts of the world, which seem to confirm these claims. The Hawaiian Islands that we know today are believed by some to be the tops of the mountains of the original land call Mu, which was a very spiritual land. It is also believed that this huge land mass disappeared under the ocean many generations ago and the mountain tops of Mu have just re-surfaced in recent times.

The magic of Hawai'i, then, is in the land itself. It is the intangible substance that one experiences as charm, warmth, sincerity, generosity and love known to many in Hawai'i as "the Aloha Spirit", the Way of the Heart. The ancient Hawaiians believed that this is a Power of Love that can enable each of us to fully embrace all that is implied by the term "to be fully human" and to be able perceive the oneness of all things. It is no coincidence that so much interest is developing about Hawai'i today. We are at a time in our evolution as humans where we can create a world where we can all live together in community and in peaceful co-existence. This ancient and powerful knowledge of the "Spirit of Aloha" is becoming popular at this time because it can help us to create this.

The Islands were invaded twice, starting around 1200 AD, forcing the Hawaiians each time to protect their history and knowledge by hiding it with the individual Hawaiian families and within the language itself. This knowledge, sometimes called Huna, is the understanding of life as a vital living philosophy. The word “huna” also means “hidden”; but what is meant by that is the knowledge that is “hidden” within each of us to be re-discovered now. It is about living our lives from a love-based reality rather than a fear or warrior-based one that has been so prevalent in our world for so many generations. In embracing the Hawaiian “Aloha Spirit” and all that it means, we have a practical way for understanding the true essence of who we are and for giving Love a real place in our world. The Hawaiians also had no written form until the 1800’s when the missionaries arrived and created one for them. The kahunas and elders of Hawai’i are also sharing more of this knowledge with us, to help us in the evolution of our world. And now with all that is also available to us through modern technology, we have an incredible gift and opportunity to be able to learn and embrace this way of life.

The first step is in understanding the Hawaiian Three Aspects of the Self – Heart, Mind and Spirit. In learning how to bring them into harmony (Pono) and integration within ourselves, we can move forward in the world and in our community with others with awareness, strength, confidence and in vibrant health. I will be going more into each of these Aspects in my next blogs.

Until then, E Malama Pono (Be well and in harmony),