Editors Note: This entry is first in a special series of blogs that will chronicle the growth of permaculture at Kalani.
I’m Eric and I have the honor of being the very first Permaculture Design Specialist to work at Kalani.
Editors Note: This entry is first in a special series of blogs that will chronicle the growth of permaculture at Kalani.
I’m Eric and I have the honor of being the very first Permaculture Design Specialist to work at Kalani.
Bill Donnelly is a true pioneer in the field of yoga. Along with co-creating and co-hosting the yoga-reality series Guru2Go, Bill is also the creator and founder of Practical Yoga, an energizing practice designed to heal and uplift the body, mind and soul.
Practical Yoga is the latest addition to Kalani's schedule of 50+ weekly classes and activities.
Having experienced the amazing high that comes from attending a Practical Yoga class, we decided to sit down with Bill to gain further insight into the practice.
Aloha Bill! Congratulations on joining Kalani's team of yogis. I was buzzing for hours after attending your Practical Yoga class last week. So that our readers know what to expect from your class, could you explain to us what Practical Yoga is?
Aloha Cameron! I am very happy to be a part of the Kalani team of teachers! Many visitors come to Kalani for healing and rejuvenation, so the styles of yoga that we offer are a very important component to their positive experience here.
Practical Yoga is, first and foremost, a healing yoga. My class experience is centered around the ancient and powerful tantric-based Kundalini Yoga & Meditation (as taught by Yogi Bhajan Ph.D.)™, which gives students a deep experience of healing. I like to think of this style of yoga as a very helpful "energy management system". It is useful to anyone searching for meaningful ways to improve the quality of their lives.
What kind of an experience does a Practical Yoga class offer?
We start each class with light stretching, and continue with core-strengthening, aerobic-inspired exercises and a brief Hatha-flow series to build heat and warm up the body. Then, we experience a full Kundalini Yoga set.
To finalize our work, we do an 11-minute active meditation to help focus the mind and expand our potential. We end class with a luscious deep relaxation to "let it all sink in" maybe the most important step! Evocative, healing music is used throughout class to heighten the experience. I offer a non-dogmatic, approachable spirituality in class.
Can you share a couple of Practical Yoga techniques with our readers?
Sure! There are literally hundreds of videos and techniques that people can access on the Practical Yoga Website.
For example, BICYCLES is an excellent exercise to help connect with and strengthen the core.
FROGS is a great technique people can use to stretch the back, strengthen the legs and buttocks, and balance their energy after a long day. Yogis also use this technique to prepare for deep meditation.
What are some of the benefits people will gain from Practical Yoga?
People who are on a conscious path of wellness, creativity and healing tend to appreciate the many powerful benefits found from even just one session of Practical Yoga. As you mentioned, you were "buzzing" for hours after attending. You had stimulated some inherently powerful life force in your body, and the healing and awakening process had been activated.
Some of the benefits include:
Kundalini Yoga™ recognizes the importance of glandular balance in relation to physical and mental health. In addition to increased physical strength and improved mental focus, each of my classes works to elicit the Relaxation Response.
Is Practical Yoga designed to be a little more rigorous than other yoga classes?
Practical Yoga is designed to give all levels of students an invigorating, yet approachable, workout. Exercises can be self-monitored by the student, so you can easily meet the yoga where you are physically and mentally.
The music helps participants move through any moments of challenge, and within weeks students find themselves stronger, happier and more energized, or "in the creative flow". Hatha yoga, in general, takes years to learn and perfect. Yet with Practical Yoga, even after just one session, students have an amazing experience and so many of the benefits the class has to offer.
Practical Yoga is about tapping into your inner strength and steadiness, and anyone with a sincere desire can do it. You don't need to be a pretzel to take a Practical Yoga class!
Did you create Practical Yoga yourself?
My partner and I developed the idea of Practical Yoga over a 10-year period of teaching yoga in top Los Angeles yoga studios, privately with in-home sessions, and on our television show, Guru2Go on fitTV. I received formal training at the renowned Golden Bridge Yoga Studio in Los Angeles, studying under the Renowned Gurmukh. After personally healing from this yoga, I concurred with its founder on the urgency of bringing this personal wellness technology to the larger community.
It was after filming our show that we realized how practical this yoga really is. It was then we developed our Practical Yoga for Everyday People DVD, which has sold internationally and has helped countless students get into shape in the comfort of their own homes.
Bill teaches Practical Yoga at Kalani each Thursday from 10:30am - 12:00pm.
Bill will also host a special Holiday Yoga Retreat from Dec 20-27 at Kalani. Each day will feature two sessions of practical yoga and meditation in one of the most stunning environments you could imagine, surrounded by fiery lava, invigorating ocean, tropical foliage, and people celebrating the spirit of aloha. Celebrate and honor yourself and your spirit through the winter solstice and Christmas. Click here for more information on Bill's Holiday Yoga Retreat.
Soul Purpose Consultant and Life Coach Geraldine McMahon will host Heart, Intuition, Purpose on Saturday 24 September, a workshop at Kalani designed to help people get into their Heart Space and create lives of purpose, passion, and prosperity.
We sat down with Geraldine to deepen our understanding of why getting in - and living in - our heart space is so good.
Aloha Geraldine. Could you start by sharing why there is a growing movement of people who want to 'get into' their Heart Space? What happens, exactly, when we're there?
Aloha Kalani! More and more people are seeking to get into their heart space is because life is truly great when you do!
When you're in your Heart Space, life becomes easier, almost like an experience of heaven on earth, and worries cease to exist to weild any power.
By living within your heart space, you are naturally inclined to invest your energy and its power into your visions of what you love, what you’d love to create for yourself next while still being totally within the present. There are no concerns or thoughts of the past, and when the future is considered it is done with a firm anchor in the present. The ancient Hawaiians had a firm grip on this principle, even their language doesn’t have a past or present tense!
Life flows, fortuitous synchronicities are common, and our vibration changes too, which means we cease to attract experiences or people we do not love, attracting instead more magical occurrences and people to match our vibration.
It sounds awesome. So what exactly is the alternative? Head Space?
Correct! That's exactly the alternative. You'll notice when you're 'in' your head space because you'll have a busy mind, lots of internal chatter and dialogue. Overthinking, analyzing, and worrying are telltale signs of being in your head space, as is limiting language such as 'should' and 'have to'.
People face limited options when they're in 'head space', as when we are lodged in the head, we are only opening to memories, programs, beliefs and assumptions from past experience.
When you are in your ‘heart space’ you have a clear mind. You’ll feel at one with everyone and everything. The feeling we get when we’re in love; when everything is wonderful and there’s no fear. The world takes on a rosy hue. You’ll have experienced this while in nature, maybe looking at a sunset, totally engrossed in it and in your heart.
When in the head we are only using 5% of our brain’s capacity. When you’re in the heart, you open up to an infinite number of possibilities. You move from the left brain to the right brain, the imagination and the intuition. As Einstein said ‘The imagination is the preview of life’s coming attractions.’
Many people at Kalani Retreat Center love "The Point."
The Point is known as a powerful site where you have an 180 degree view of the ocean and also of the lava flow in the distance.
Most people here at Kalani have stories about The Point being a symbolic place for them--sometimes they've invited all their friends there for a party, sometimes they've used it for an individual ritual like prayer or meditation. The Point is definitely a special place, and on Saturday March 19th, 5:30pm there will be a performance out at The Point with dancers and actors from both the Puna community and Kalani. This performance called "Supernature," is inspired by the Point itself and the epic story of Hi'iakaikapoliopele. It will be performed by the grass roots troupe, Wai Company with founder and Artistic Director Wailana Simcock, who is also part of the Kalani staff.
Here is an interview with Wailana about performing at The Point.
NR: People that visit Kalani love "The Point." So you're doing a performance at The Point called "site-specific." Sounds like fun, can you explain "site-specific" for us?
Wailana: Site-specific simply implies that the actual site of the work being performed is pertinent to the piece/art. I have worked with choreographers who have taken this idea to the hilt. Like when I danced with Pearl Ubungen in San Francisco 1993, we danced at a pit where once stood a building, The I-Hotel, which housed the first wave of Filipino Immigrants to the US and where in 1973 they were cruelly displaced. A human barricade that was 5 man deep awaited the cops at 5 am in the morning of their wrongful eviction. The site sat empty for 20 years. On the 20th anniversary of the eviction, Pearl decided to perform right there, so we had the corner of Kearny and Jackson street shut down for our 3 night performances. It was amazing!
Also, Anna Halprin was a great inspiration for not only Pearl and I, but for the whole of Modern Dance. She is a well known Choreographer and Activist. She had a performance on a Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California where the community re-enacted these rapes that had ravaged her community. The re-enactment was a way to "reclaim" the mountain that was seen as spiritual symbol for them. It was a way to "take the mountain back," also expressing grief, uniting the community around the tragedies.
Coincidentally, a week after this performance, a tip came in and the perpetrator was caught. Whether it was due to the performance or not does not really matter. The fact that the community was able to heal and take back the mountain was powerful and meaningful enough. Him being captured was just extra!
NR: Many people at Kalani love The Point, a magical place where you can see 180 degree views of the ocean, hear it roar, and do rituals or celebrations. Many visitors to Kalani have stories about special occasions or soulful moments. I know someone that had a birthday party on The Point, someone else that reclaimed her body after 5 years of being in pain due to an accident by doing Qi Gong on The Point.
Can you tell us why you chose The Point?
Wailana: The Point was just the most logical place to go outside while here at Kalani. Thus it is a celebration of nature really, more than reclaiming anything or making a poltical statement. It is to honor the 'aina (land) and to recall the story of Hi'iaka and Pele where they live here in Puna. It is so inspiring to live where their myths and legends are lived out. And, as you know, the Point is so symbolic. To me it is like where time stands still, a portal to the gods and the sea, a symbol of union where the sea meets the sky. Supernature is a nod to the super nature found here and to the supernatural gods and goddesses of Hawaii.
NR: One well known Goddess of Hawaiian myth is Pele...
Wailana: Pele has chosen to live here next to us, with her "clan," right here at Kileaua. We are right next to her, we feel her everyday. We can't do a dance outside without talking about Pele. I want to pay homage to this wahi pana (storied place) of Puna that have been told for hundreds of years.
NR: What will you be doing for the performance?
Wailana: It's very eclectic and all over the place. Some acting, spoken word. Some oli (chanting). We're going to be doing some Aerial work too on the tissue, ring, and straps, hanging from the trees there. We're going to have a Nina Simone song I am excited to work on in the aerial straps, a pas de deux to "Wild is the Wind" by my favorite, Nina Simone.
We'll have some different influences, like some kitschy camp 70s music (Supernature by Cerrone), some original hula and oli, songs about Pele.
NR: How can we come see you in this unique performance?
The performance is Saturday March 19th, 5:30pm at The Point. We are accepting love donations of any kind! We are a very young company and are very ambitious. We are premiering Wai Company, our name, our mission and and our website - waicompany.com. We are stoked to be this unique dance theater company based out of Puna. We are faced with lots of challenges here but we make them into opportunities. You have to to survive. You gotta be creative. I never would of thought I would start a dance company here. But I am so glad I did.
Aquaponics is the buzzword around Kalani these days. When I moved to Kalani a year ago, I had never even heard of the word, and now, I seem to be the local expert.
It all started in Kalani’s drive to become more sustainable on this island that currently imports 90% of its consumables. Gardens to feed the guests, volunteers, and staff that number between one and two hundred at any given meal were an obvious place to put our energy. There’s only one problem … living on a part of the island that was flowing lava as recently as a hundred years ago, there is very little soil to grow in. While considering trucking in soil which hardly seemed sustainable, my boss discovered a system of farming being developed in the Virgin Islands that not only did not need soil, but produced fish to eat as well….Aquaponics.
The word AQUAPONICS is a combination of AQUACULTURE which is the raising fish, and HYDROPONICS which is the growing of plants in nutrient filled water instead of soil. Aquaponics marries these complimentary forms of food production into a stable ecosystem that solves many of the problems that occur when each is practiced independently.
When I heard Kalani was interested in exploring this new food producing technology, I knew I was the person to do it. After leaving my engineering profession 4 years ago for the simple island life, I had been missing the challenge of problem solving and experimentation that had been such a part of my every day life on the mainland. Combined with my knowledge of fish and filter design from working at an aquarium store in my youth with my more recent interest in gardening and sustainability, I began a project that has brought me more joy from creating than I ever felt in my whole engineering career.
I researched ways people were doing Aquaponics locally and on the internet, primarily influenced by Friendly Aquaponics located here on the big island. It became apparent that the size system required to supply our kitchen’s demand for 900 pounds a month of greens would be a bit risky to jump right into. We decided on something much smaller to prove the concept and started construction in November. Due to the thorough training from Friendly Aquaponics as well as the simplicity of the design, things went very smoothly and we had our first harvest in early February. There is still much experimentation and learning to be done before we stop buying greens for the kitchen, but plans for a first stage of expansion are already underway.
I’d like to acknowledge Barcus Adams, Richard Koob, Stuart Blackburn, and especially Tim Mann and Suzanne Friend at Friendly Aquaponics (www.friendlyaquaponics.com) all of whom were instrumental in this project’s success. Thank you for bringing joy and gratification back into my work life.
Note: You can read more about Jacob's aquaponics adventures at his blog: http://aquaponics.totallytuft.com
Aloha Kalani supporters,
Mahalo to the hundreds of you who sent letters and/or signed petitions requesting that the Planning Department reinstate Kalani’s EMAX greenhouse as a perfect location for Kalani’s community nature-culture-wellness programs.On September 3 the Planning Department Director BJ Leithead Todd, the County’s Corporate Council, Amy Self, and the Zoning Inspector, Scott Leonard, all came to visit us here at Kalani. Together we made offerings at our preserved heritage sites, walked much of the property, viewed structures and dined together.
The following day BJ sent a letter thanking us for the visit, rescinding the violation, and saying “We agree with you that working together will help better serve the needs of the community.”
So your Kalani ‘ohana is now confident that we are back on track with more of the co-creative collaboration that we have had with the Planning Department for 34 years!
- Richard Koob
The WE (Women's Entertainment) Network flew through Kalani this week and filmed our retreat for their Great Escapes show. They took shots of the sunrise, of Kehena Beach, of our food spread on the lawn, of our beautiful rain forest, of our weekly hula class with Kimo and Richard, and interviewed a few folks.
There was such a buzz that morning. Not only were the kitchen staff clad in Kalani shirts and looking extra-peppy in the morning, but the Gaia group brought in a lot of great energy with them as well, especially the fairies (the women with wings and fairy giggles that hug and kiss everyone they pass). The giddiness was so contagious that day.
I had a great morning relaxing by the pool and swimming and catching up with some girls at the pool, where small talk is simply impossible. We just dive on in. That’s one of the greatest things about Kalani and the people that come through, the conversation always just cuts through the surface within the first minute. I’ve never had more interesting and honest conversation in my life. We recharged in the sun and talked about future plans and always recognizing how lucky we are to be where we are with the people we are with. We spoke of freedom and happiness and living in the moment and love. Wonderful poolside revelations.
My interview took place right after lunch. We set up a chair on the lawn with people frolicking in the background by the pool. As I was hooked up to the microphone and got situated it started raining (the first time that day as it was as clear and sunny all morning). We then had to pack up and move on to the tree house and filmed there.
Chris and Mike, the film crew from Maui, are cousins and couldn’t be any more Chicago. Big burly guys, down-to-earth with a Midwestern teddy bear quality about them. Chris actually lived where I grew up in Chicago and even went to the same art school as me. Such coincidences at Kalani no longer surprise me because we chance upon such connections all the time here. Just a few weeks ago, the family of our resident surfer and artist, Roy Ruiz, was visiting from Canada. I was talking to his father over lunch and we just happened to realize that the one person he knows in Chicago (the ONE PERSON!) his cousin, is my godfather and father’s best friend. Ana Lisa, our resident fashionista extraordinaire from Oakland, California, we share so many mutual friends, it’s so weird that we’ve never met before Kalani. Everyone here is connected not by six degrees of separation but more like two degrees of separation.
The set-up took awhile. We had to wait for the helicopters to stop flying over Kalani. They had to get the lighting perfect. I sat in front of light for awhile, I felt a bit like chick incubating under the hot lights. We were talking story the entire time and I couldn’t have felt more comfortable. But once the camera lights went on and the countdown began… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and Nathan, our Marketing Manager, started in on the question and morphed into Matt Lauer, the butterflies began to revolt inside my stomach, my brain, my throat.
“You’re just talking to a piece of equipment,” Mike said.
“And my mother,” I responded.
I got through it. I don’t remember what came out of my mouth, but it was a fun experience. We talked about what 'ohana means to me and about the volunteer experience. It’s going to be so funny watching this on TV.
We had a wrap party afterwards at Todd’s house. Todd is one of our chefs, also a Chicagoan. The film crew came. A few guests joined us and some volunteers and it was a great evening. Chris and Mike looked like they felt at home immediately.
I don’t know if cameras can ever capture the magic that is Kalani. You have to just be here. You have to just sit by the pool and soak up the sun and look into people’s eyes and have a laugh. Then you may begin to get it.
Budget Travel by Arthur Frommer : You can still enjoy the Hawaii 'that once was'
Budget Travel by Arthur Frommer
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.09.2007
If you really mean it when you complain that Hawaii has "lost its character," if you're genuinely troubled by the crowds at Waikiki or Lahaina, if you're determined to experience the Hawaii "that once was" — then you'll consider booking a stay at the 120-acre Kalani Oceanside Resort Center on the Big Island of Hawaii.
It's a dreamy, laid-back, unpretentious place designed for the same people who patronize yoga centers and meditation camps on the mainland. Some 30 years old, it still follows the gentle precepts of its founder (he's still around): a mainly vegetarian cuisine (but with lots of fresh fish), yoga and tai chi everywhere, supportive and non aggressive fellow guests who follow their bliss, plain but adequate accommodations — and none of the conspicuous consumption or boisterous showoffs of the standard resort. Rooms are without TVs, and most are with open, screened walls.
A typical dinner starts with coconut squash soup, then features seared ahi with pineapple salsa, baked tempeh, quinoa with sunflower seeds, broccoli stir-fry and cucumber salad, and ends with lemon ginger cake.
Rates are refreshing by Hawaiian standards. Starting at the bottom: If you bring your own tent, you'll be given a campsite, three meals daily, two full-body massages, daily yoga classes and the right to engage in all resort activities (hula, ecstatic dance, meditation, weaving, pool, hot tub and sauna) for a total of $780 per person per week, whether single or double. If you're one of two persons traveling together, you'll receive all of the above for $930 per person per week in a room with shared bath, $1,020 with private bath.
A final touch: Volunteers willing to work 30 hours a week for a month pay $1,000 for an all-inclusive one-month stay at Kalani, attending all classes and activities, receiving accommodations and all meals. Call 1-800-800-6886 or log on to www.kalani.com.
But how can you get there cheaply?
Call ATA Airlines.
After Southwest Airlines bought a large portion of the struggling Indianapolis-based carrier ATA, the two airlines — now partners — dropped some routes and added others to complement each other and provide better connections for travelers. Hawaii is one of the major areas where new ATA flights have been added. And the result is that the least likely airline in America now offers the cheapest fares to Hawaii.
Bookings must be made through ATA (not Southwest); go to www.ata.com or call 1-800-435-9282.
Although Richard Koob, the Director of Kalani, has always recommended that every person find his/her inner leader, by a balance of mana'o, pu'uwai, and na'au, i.e. rational thinking, heartfelt emotions, and intestinal intuition, he was just declared "guru" by The Advocate, the award-winning national LGBT newsmagazine and world web site.
Their "cool jobs" article this month introduces Richard and 9 other "gays and lesbians working outside the paradigm."
Hawaiian retreat guru
Imagine if your typical workday looked like this: Practice Kundalini yoga at sunrise on the Hawaiian coast, socialize with travelers from around the globe, trek to the beach, sit in on a few staff meetings, play volleyball, and recover in the hot tub. And if it's Tuesday, teach hula.
That's the life of Richard Koob, 60, the director of Kalani Oceanside Retreat, a 120-acre getaway along one of the most unspoiled coastlines on the Big Island. Koob opened his nonprofit retreat in 1982 with his partner (Earnest Morgan, who died in 1992 of AIDS complications) as a place dedicated to nature, culture, and well-being. "It's important to enjoy life and focus on doing what we really love," says Koob.
Many of Kalani's activities, including dance and workshops such as a yoga retreat for gay men, reflect Koob's personal passions. "We've been on the vanguard of helping gay men realize how important it is to develop one's soulful and sensual side," he says.
An eclectic clientele is drawn to its rejuvenating massages, hula classes, historical sites, and breathtaking lava-walled cliffs. Accommodations range from $30 campsites to $260-a-night tree houses. Koob and Morgan always intended Kalani to attract people from a variety of backgrounds-both financial and cultural. Says Koob: "I think that appreciation of diversity comes from the gay experience."
Healing Lifestyles & Spas magazine in its March/April 2007 issue named Kalani as one of 10 Eco-Getaways leading the way to traveling "Green." They say that
...Kalani both honors and embraces the environment. Elements of the surroundings are reflected in the accommodations, which include cozy cottages and tree houses. Nearby, black and green sand beaches are the setting for water sports, and the resort offers yoga retreats to develop communion with nature. A full range of body work therapies can be enjoyed in massage rooms overlooking a peaceful pond, and a sweat lodge constructed with native lava rock is accessible for healing ceremonies.
Kalani embraces stewardship of the `āina and kai as one of its core values. Mahalo to Healing Lifestyles & Spas for its recognition!