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. .