The term "mindfulness" is a popular buzz-word these days. It is a specialized practice of cultivating awareness, attention, acceptance, and non-judgment, which was originally designed for adults and brought into the American mainstream in the 1970's by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program that introduced mindfulness meditation and yoga as a way to deal with stress, chronic pain, and illness. It is now gaining acceptance in schools to help children improve in areas of focus, self-regulation, stress reduction and social emotional learning.
Hula is part of the Hawaiian sacred oral tradition of storytelling. It is important for my audiences to know that when I dance, I am telling a story. Along with my dances, I explain the mo'olelo (story), mana'o (wisdom), or kaona (metaphor(s) within the song and dance.
While studying to become a yoga teacher, I gained a deeper knowledge of origins and history of this 5,000 year old practice that originated in India. I am immensely fascinated with the many parallels between Hawaiian and Hindu wisdom, philosophy, and mythology. I think of it as learning through the ancients' scientific lenses and their analysis of human nature, the planet that we live on, and the mysteries of the universe.
So when I teach yoga, I teach the same way that I dance hula. I want my students to learn how to embody the meaning and intention within the postures and movements. These movement practices go beyond the physical benefits and can help us achieve and maintain peace, harmony, and well-being in our lives. In order to do this, we must learn to be in the present moment, and move intelligently, with purposeful intent. This is what mindful movement is all about.