Ancient Cellular Yoga

Though there are many aspects of, and definitions for Yoga, I have always loved the simplicity of the one most of my yoga teachers have offered:  a conscious union of body and mind, creating more harmony in our being.  When I became introduced to the work of Ancient Lomi Lomi (also known as Ke Ala Hoku — Pathway to the Stars), I was surprised to find that most of the work was not at all about bodywork, but about the awakening of our own cellular consciousness.  One method used to explore the Great Mystery inside of our bodies is called ‘Ho’omanamana’.  In the words of my teacher, Kahu Abraham Kawai’i, Ho’omanamana is “stretching as awareness of physical, psychological and energetic body and its' connection to breath.  Ho’omanamana is taking old, ancient or unused energies and converting them in to contributing functions.” 

As I dived into this powerful work, I came to view Ho’omanamana very much like a form of Ancient Yoga.  Consciously making gentle circular, or stretching movements throughout the joints, muscles, liquids and connective tissues of the body, I discovered an experience of deep interconnection between tissues, breath, awareness, emotions, memories, thoughts and expanded consciousness.  Beginning stages of Ho’omanamana allow us to begin to listen deeply to the many layers of our being by paying particular attention to breath and sensation as we move. 

As a dancer, used to pushing my body to (and past) its’ limits, I was fascinated by the gentleness of the practice and it’s encouragement to honor the early boundaries of my range of motion.  The slow movements felt deeply comfortable to me and I would wake up early to give myself plenty of time for the practice.  For over three years, I practiced Ho’omanamana for a minimum of 3 hours each morning.  To my surprise, I found it to be full of emotion.  Anger, sadness and fear would emerge unexpectedly as I moved towards different positions. I spent much of that time in tears, as layers of sadness, trapped in my tissues, came rising to the surface.  Most of the time, I had no idea why I was crying, but felt great relief emotionally as well as more and more freedom in my body.  After each session, I felt as if I had more ‘space’ to breathe, think, feel and move.   As it evolves, Ho’omanamana begins to include practices to develop strength, deeper flexibility and build Mana (life force energy). 

Like Yoga, this Ancient body of work approaches the moving body as a foundation for awareness to arise and for consciousness to flow more freely through all of us, structure included.   In the paradigm of Ancient Lomi Lomi, the body is recognized as a huge part of the subconscious mind, holding within it, every experience we were unable to ‘metabolize’ consciously.  As we are able to ‘let go’ and be guided by the wisdom of our sensations, we are shown various pathways, through the complexity of our being, which result in deep healing.  In this way, Ho’omanamana is like an ‘adaptogen’ — an herb which responds uniquely to each person’s particular needs.  One persons’ trajectory of healing from a car accident or a broken arm, will be very different from anothers’.  As we start listening on a cellular level, we realize that our own unique pathway of healing is already here, waiting for our open attention.  Our cellular consciousness knows how deeply to breathe,  which positions to hold, how quickly to move in any given moment, what emotions may need to be released,  what awarenesses need to be uncovered, etc. 

Listening and following, in this Ancient practice, gave me a potent and grounded pathway to access all aspects of my system, and promote a profound, and ever-deepening, sense of well-being.  I have found Ho’omanaamana to be, Like Yoga, a union of the vast dimensions of our being, allowing us to approach Life with more wholeness.  Mahalo to Kahu and all who came before him, for bringing this profound work to the modern world.

Published with Living Aloha Magazine, Maui, September 2016.

Ancient Principles to Free Stuckness

Is there any aspect of your life that is in a 'holding pattern', anywhere you just can't seem to make the next step?  Do you come to the brink of 'moving on' and find yourself backing up.....with all the good reasons why moving forward is just not a good idea?   Are you aware of mental or emotional patterns that seem to rise over and over again, keeping you in the same responses to life?  I think at some point in our lives, we all have felt stuck.  From large decisions like changing jobs, or moving to another city, to small daily tasks like getting around to cleaning out your 'junk drawer', blockages can sometimes seem to run our lives. 

Ancient Wisdom gives us new perspectives on how to unlock the patterns that keep us stuck.

1. Listen with new ears

Instead of falling into the familiar pattern of condemning our blockage, lack of motivation or 'stuckness', pause and listen to what you're really feeling.  Go into slow motion inside and notice what else is there besides your repetitive thoughts.  Let your resistance unfold itself and really listen to the nature of it.  You may feel things like heaviness, fear, fatigue, overwhelm, sadness or ......?

2.  Welcome the Unknown

Whatever you discover, even if it's an unfamiliar or undefinable feeling, see if you can bring it closer to you.  In other words, treat it like a small child of yours that has something to say.  Let whatever is bubbling up inside of you speak and welcome whatever is expressed. 

3.  Don't Judge

See if you can accept whatever arises as valid.  So often we discount parts of ourselves, or judge them as 'bad', 'wrong', undesirable or unacceptable.   The truth is that all parts of you belong to you and deserve a voice.  Our frustration, anger, sadness and pain all have the right to be heard.  The magic of allowing them is we then diffuse their power.  A recurring pattern can be seen simply as a part of us that is rising again and again to be heard.   If we can embrace, instead of pushing them away or down, they will no longer keep demanding recognition, and we will be free of the pattern!

4.  Stay in the Present Moment

See if you can stay simply here, now.   In doing so, you'll let your mind take a break from all the reasons why you can't move forward.  You've likely been using your mind to solve this problem, and it hasn't worked, or there wouldn't be a recurring pattern.  This Ancient pathway is not for your mind.  Keep coming back to this moment and what you're feeling right now. I know this is often easier said than done, however there is a super simple and easy way to do it:  Keep your attention on your body.  As you feel your feelings, notice the sensation of your breathing, your feet against the floor, the air on your skin, the saliva in your mouth, the beating of your heart........ Anytime you want to drift into the past or the future, come back to your sensations.  Your body is always here now.

5. Envoke 'Natural Order'

In this Paradigm, everything inside of you is part of your family.  As you listen to each aspect (each 'child') arise in you, be aware of who is listening.  The One who can hear all the children and listen to their woes with full attention, is 'The Head of the Household'.  This being is the grounding of your internal family, and reflects the Natural Order of the Family.  In all of Life there is a foundational, organizing principle, of which we are all expressions.  inside of us, the Head of the Household serves as the organizing principle for all of our thoughts, emotions & actions.  In evoking Natural Order, you allow the Head of the Household to emerge, and thereby ensure that none of the 'children' have taken over the whole being.  When this happens, the rest of us becomes lost in one focus.   For example, if we allow the child Anger to take over, there is no other choice with which to respond, except Anger.  When the Head of the Household is in charge and Anger arises, it can be felt & honored within the context of the whole family.  In this way, we expand the choices of how to respond.

6. Move

Once you have allowed your feelings underneath the stuckness to speak, and you have welcomed them without judgement, make a decision to take at least One Step towards completing your goal. If it can't be done right now, give yourself a timeline.  After this process of bringing closer what seems to be holding to you back, you may notice more freedom as you begin to move forward.  Taking actual steps may very well become easier.

7.  Make a plan

If it's a more complex area, like moving to another city. or finding another job, map out a list of tasks that need to be done, set aside specific times, and put them in your calendar.  Even if it's only one....just do it.  A wise man once said to me:  "A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing!"

8.  Celebrate!

No matter how small your steps, celebrate each one. Small steps add up.  They can lead to big steps, and even to quantum leaps.  Let yourself really feel what's true as you begin to move in places that have not been easy in the past.  Do your best to keep attention on the nature of your forward movement, as well what has actually been done.  Give yourself a pat on the back. Do a 'Happy Dance'!  You are coming into Harmony with more and more of your Infinite Self!

Finding a successful way to navigate our blockages helps us to discover and to keep unfolding our unique gifts.  There is some expression that each of us came to blossom into.....and keep blossoming!  I believe that each of our gifts is here to bring more beauty, compassion, healing and love to all the creatures of this Earth.  But it starts with us.  These gifts are pouring through us, exactly as we are.  These Ancient Principles give us ways to meet the reality of where we are now, and to uncover our gifts in the face of whatever is happening:  stuckness, fear, overwhelm, or tragedy.  Life can only get better as we are able to expand with whatever we meet.

Below, Jim Carrey offers inspiration on meeting our potential in his video Dream Up a Good Life.  May the Ancient Principles assist you on your way!  Enjoy!

Please feel free to post comments about how this article may have been helpful, or questions that it brings up in you!  To accelerate an embodied experience of coming back to your essential self, Register for one of our Residential Retreats held internationally.  See you somewhere in the world!

Awakening to Surrender

Photo:   Clarissa Koenig

What if
One day,
We wake up to realize
That we are not who we thought we were,
Nor who we wanted to be,
But who we are — unimaginable.

What if we wake to realize
That any definition of ourselves
Is limiting,
That we are made of The Limitless
The same Life we honor
In the Eagle, The Ocean, The Land
Is inside of us
To be seen
To be heard
To inhabit us fully.

What if we could
in Surrender To Life.

What if it didn't matter
What I want,
But what Life wants
Through me?



Living An Effortless Life

Flying Dec 21, 2012.jpg

According to Ancient Wisdom, there is a way to perceive yourself, your life and every circumstance without the necessary use of knowledge. We do not need to know the movement of energy systems, spiritual paradigms, psychology, physiology or science to  successfully navigate the unfolding motion of our lives. We do not need past experience, insight or logic. We simply need to develop the ability to listen to the Life in our cells, which enables us to listen to the Life in all that exists.

As we attune the outwardly directed mind to the more subtle sensations of the body, we gain awareness of a broader spectrum of Life—and of the vaster intelligence that moves through us. This gives us the opportunity to feel beyond our subconscious assumptions and become more open to what is truly here right now.  In listening, with no attempt to understand, our perceptive field changes and we begin to experience a world outside the classifications of reality we have been taught.  As we widen our perception, we have the opportunity to increase our Mana (energy) and to live in deeper harmony with the Great Mystery of Life Itself.

The undeniable truth is that, as you read this, your heart is beating, your lungs are delivering oxygen to every cell in your body, your emotions are expressing certain colors, and somewhere in your system, your hopes and dreams are alive. We are a mass of cellular processes, thoughts, emotions, breath, light, water and spirit. All of this together (and more that we don't  comprehend) creates the frequency of you, here now.

Your vibration calls out to its match, in many forms. We see, feel and experience that which we are. In each moment, you are creating Mana (energy), gathering energy, and discovering deeper layers of your Self that will either move you forward in your life, or obstruct your own way. In contrast to the prevailing view that we are virtually powerless against the circumstances of life, the Ancients guide us to dissolve the separation between ourselves and the unfolding vision of our lives, and recognize each movement, perception and circumstance, as a resonance coming from deep within.  

In some ways, this is similar to "The Law of Attraction", but it includes a wider spectrum in the definition of Self.  Far more than just convincing the conscious mind of what we want to experience, The Ancient Ones show us that our subconscious and unconscious existences contribute similarly, if not more than our conscious existence, to our resonant field. When things occur that seem out of alignment with who we are, it may be an invitation to uncover an aspect of ourselves that we may have buried, denied or even tried to destroy.

In this potent time, our subconscious and unconscious resonances seem to be rising to the surface.  We are getting to see, feel, and experience anything that has been hidden, repressed, feared or denied. Anything we couldn't deal with or didn't want to deal with in the past now seems to be rising in order to be met, acknowledged, embraced and freed. If we had wanted to believe that bliss was the only frequency at which we were vibrating (or should vibrate), we can see now that we often hold a broader spectrum inside of us — part of our 'Ohana Nui, or Great Family.  

It is our job to observe how we pay attention and what we pay attention to. If weare honest with ourselves, we might notice that we often choose to escape this deep attention, distract ourselves from what might turn out to be a painful, or empty moment. The irony is that we can never escape ourselves. We can put a lot of activity, intellect, food, travel or drug use between ourselves and our true experience, but we remain, with all of our bliss and all of our pain, until we learn how to come, unfettered, face to face with this moment.  

The Law of Attraction, as it has been presented, encourages us to change situations we don't want by shifting the vibration of our conscious thoughts. Ancient Wisdom shows us that these very situations may be an uncovering of deep imbalances in our system that are crying out to be heard, to be seen and met. This is our moment to listen, and in doing so, welcome more of who we are into our consciousness.

Meeting our own fear, lack, insecurity, sadness and anger, we can allow them to be free, available as energy, taking their rightful place as members of our internal family. As such, they can support us in our forward movement instead of holding the weight of our efforts to keep ourselves separate, or the struggle to keep ourselves 'in the Light'.  

Is it possible, in our Judeo-Christian culture, that one of our deep assumptions is the clear existence of 'Light' and 'Dark'?  Have we become consumed, on many levels, with getting rid of the 'Darkness' and living in the 'Light'?  Listening on subtle and subconscious levels reveals that the Light and Darkness inside of us may not be as polarized and fixed as we imagine. What if we were actually a continuum of light, vibration, choice, frequency, and experience, all continually forming around a central core of Love?

There is nothing to be gained by rejecting or denying any part of this continuum.  It is all us, and the sooner we say YES to every part our being, the more rapidly we can access the full spectrum of Sacred Being that lives at our core, and move forward in Life as a True, Beautiful and Unique, Force of Nature.

The Magic of Home

Fuerteventura, May 24, 2014



After what seems like endless amounts of airplane rides, take off, after landing, after take off, and getting lost in the haze of security lines and jet lag, I arrive on Fuerteventura to clear, open skies,  an undulating landscape of dry and shapely mountains, and stillness.

I am dropped at the small rental of a friend of a friend.  It is made of stone and plaster, powered by solar and windmill.  I am either lucky or cursed that almost everywhere I go, I feel I have come home.   How many homes can a person have?  I’m still counting.  

Settling into Fuerteventura, I am settling in to space - the vast terrain and the endless sky speak with the space inside me.  Blessed in the middle of nowhere, with no car, telephone or wifi, I tackle the initially daunting task of just being here, now.  Nothing to do, and no one to engage except myself and this vast new home.

The land here has a powerful resonance.  There is a rolling softness to it, and a heightened intelligence — at least these are my visceral perceptions.  

I walk along the gravel road towards a nearby set of twin volcanos.  Sitting on a short stone wall, it feels good to be still with these two giant presences.  After a while, it feels as if I am breathing with them.  It feels as if they are gazing back at me.  It feels as if we are remembering each other.   I am once again in awe of this sacred space of Life meeting Life, and so grateful for the blood of my ancestors that guides me to recognize the Life in all things. 

The thought floats through my brain that it is important to remember, on a visceral level, our origins.  At the same time, the already present wind picks up to mini tornado for a few thought confirmed by the wind....perhaps.

I am aware that I can’t try to remember, can’t think my way home, can’t create scenarios of my origins and then make the logical choice.  I start at the place of truth:  that I don’t know, that maybe no one knows, and that I am open to the discovery. 

Ancient Indigenous wisdom, including Kahuna Sciences, recognize the intelligence and interconnectedness of the whole.  We are guided to come back into contact with parts of ourselves that have been banished as less-than or unimportant:  sensations, emotions, hopes, dreams, impressions.  In these less defined aspects of ourselves are shades of our expanded identity, waiting to be experienced.  I have had the honorable opportunity to feel the ever expanding edges of these often overlooked doorways and dive below, deeper and deeper, uncovering new dimensions of my Self, new opportunities for growth, awarenesses that expand in my daily life without effort.  

To the uninitiated, this may sound like nonsense.  However, there is a reason that legends of myth and magic are found in every indigenous culture.   It is because vast possibilities exist, far beyond our perceptions.  These new vistas make sense in the context of the awakening whole, but from a modern ‘Western-Mind’ perspective, they seem ‘magical’ or impossible.

If we were to present cell phones to our ancestors of only 100 years ago, this too would seem like some kind of impossible phenomenon.  Ancient Wisdom guides us to pay attention to the matrix of our being, the background in which our beliefs are set.  The beginnings of these can be found in the rhythms, sensations, feelings and shapes inside the body which we generally take for granted, or ignore.  If we can open to this different, and even opposite perspective, we are ushered into a world beyond our current perception, which is informing how we perceive on every level.   Here is where subconscious and unconscious beliefs can rapidly change and resonate into daily life.

For me, this is the path guiding me to my Original Self.  As my teacher has said, ‘it is a path beyond time.’

On this small stone wall on the edge of the Atlantic, I am struck once again by the profundity of this Ancient Magic which is ‘closer than breath’ in all of us.  And I am grateful for this land which has welcomed me home.


Waking up before dawn to a million crickets
Black sky, Bright stars
I gather my few things in an old string bag
And start up the pathway of illumination
The pathway lined with Kukui.
As I step, I feel the earth breathe, lifting my feet on every inhale.
Looking up into the tree tops, the sky is now barely glowing.
My vision feels like it is deep inside my head, and somehow in the trees at the same time.
I walk dumbfounded that my regular sight has disappeared,
And in it's place this kind of multi-sourced seeing.
Disoriented and Intrigued, I walk,
feeling the crunch of stone on the soles of my feet,
Not sure where 'I' am, or am not.
Listening to my vision,
Listening to the forest.
I say a quick prayer, in case anyone is listening,
As I speak, a pitter patter of leaves erupts in the forest right beside me,
A murmuring.
Individual leaves shudder and flap wildly, though most of the trees are still.
A sprinkle of rain is the only logical explanation I can come up with.
I look up — no clouds, no breeze
Just the forest, wide awake and listening.
We are in open communion with each other.
We are the breathing green, the waking light, the altered gaze, the damp morning air,
The stone and dirt meeting feet. 
We have gazed into each others eyes, this morning and I,
Seeing will never be the same again.

Reflections from a moment in Hana, Maui during our March 9-14th Training at Ala Kukui Hana Retreat.

Making Peace With The Unknown

It's quite possible that I have a special relationship with clouds.  I remember being in the midst of commuter trance in downtown Toronto in the middle of the day.  For some reason, I glanced up, and in the sky, randomly blocked by skyscrapers, were slow moving, white, fluffy clouds.  I moved next to a building to avoid being run over by pedestrians in mid-frenzy, and stopped.  I couldn't stop staring at the sky.  I was stunned, feeling like I had slipped into another world.  I remember thinking that regardless of the rushing masses, skyscrapers, droves of people busy with busyness and commuter traffic, that this slow, 'insignificant' movement was what was really going on.  I don't know where I was going, or if I was now late.  I didn't care.  I was stuck and indelibly struck by the intelligence of this movement.  I don't know how long I stayed there, but I can be sure that when I finally moved, my awareness, breath, pace and priorities were different. 

Today, over 30 years later, I find myself immersed in a work that continuously brings me back to what is true....what is really going on....the movement of Nature within and without.  Something inside me was calling that day, to be recognized and honored.  I was lucky enough to listen  — to quiet the daily thoughts, emotions and agenda for long enough to realize that the vastness of all of Life remains, no matter what our individual drama or perspective.   Notice that each day, whether our relationship is ending, a loved one has died, or we are buried in painful trauma, the sun never fails to rise and set.  If we choose to pay attention, we are not only surrounded by the natural world, but we embody it.  Each of us is the emanation of an ancient wisdom that is beyond imagination or classification.  The synergy, harmony and expansiveness of Nature lives in our every breath.  Despite our social and cultural programming, we are not (mostly) our agenda, our lists, priorities, beliefs or demands.  We are simply here now, the vast majority of our being comprised of energy, vibration, space and cellular processes.  Can we refine our listening to hear more of what is true and less of what is imagined, desired or projected?  The mind always wants to know, but what if we choose to attune ourselves to the unknowable? We live in a current world of radical upheaval on many levels.  The truth is that many things we easily took for granted 20 years ago are now in a state of flux.   The weather is fluctuating wildly in many areas of the earth, political agendas seem to have come into serious question, our food sources have been compromised and, depending on where we live, we remain either under the threat, or in the reality, of war.  If we want to thrive in this environment, it seems we will have to become attuned to 'the unknowable'.  As less and less is 'predictable' in our world, perhaps we are coming out of the illusion that anything was ever secure.  In big, bold letters, 'Uncertainty' has taken center stage. 

So how do we navigate this?  What is it to be in harmony with the unknown?   For me, it begins with welcoming, rather than trying to avoid or control it.  We can actually turn uncertainty into discovery.  If we can bring more and more of our attention, energy, breath, awareness and willingness to this moment, our world will expand.  This requires a willingness to see, as much as possible without the filter of the past.  If we can experience what is truly here now, without our preconceived notions, our vision begins to change, and what was unseen, becomes evident.  Each moment becomes an adventure of discovery.  Even in the most difficult of times, we can come back to the eyes of a child, where everything is new and filled with wonder.  So the next time you're able, just stop in your tracks, notice what is true, vs. what you have assumed to be true.  Notice your breath, and the air on your skin.  Remember that this very moment has never occurred before.  It is brand new!  Notice that you are smack in the middle of the unknown itself, even in the midst of all you may have previously taken for granted.....and see if you can feel the motion of Life Itself unfolding in you and in everything around you.  Every blessing on this infinite journey!