Kalani Honua Blog - Workshop Reflections

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

When Ty Black left Oklahoma to spend a month at Kalani, he had no idea how his time on the Big Island would transform his life -- on and off the mat.

Check out the video below for more on his personal transformation and how the Hawaii Yoga Festival and Peak Beings Yoga Teacher Training helped Ty expand and deepen his yoga practice.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Rachael J. Haylock

With promises of diverse classes, dynamic teachers, like-minded people and special performances, yoga festivals are popping up all over the world year-round. Everything from power vinyasa to yoga nidra draws you in with ideas of furthering your practice, deepening your philosophy and opening your mind.

Life is about the journey, and treating your time at a yoga festival as an integral part of this journey could lead you down a variety of paths — or change your course completely. By attending a yoga festival, you have the opportunity to use a week of yoga-based activities to help you make new decisions and learn new lessons. Here are some of the benefits a yoga festival can bring to your life:

Listening better to your body

It can be tempting to choose from a lot of physically-challenging classes that could leave your body worn out before the week is over. The best way to tell if you’re expanding your comfort zone or if you’ve gone too far is to tune into yourself.

“Our intuition is the ability to understand through feelings and not through facts,” says Maxwell Starkhouse, founder of Intuitive Yoga, based on the Big Island of Hawai’i. “If we’re in a posture and our feeling is telling us ‘This is too much,’ it’s having the wisdom to listen to our intuition instead of our logic or ego: The teacher said I should hold it for 10 breaths. Look how deep they are in the posture; I’m going to push myself until I get there.”

Learning to listen to your body's wants and needs can result in you leaving the festival with revived equanimity and balance. If you’re having trouble going inward, Starkhouse suggests moving to the pace and rhythm of your own breath -- not your teacher’s or your neighbors -- to facilitate a deeper connection to your body, your intuition and your practice.

When you’re pushing your limitations, Starkhouse also recommends slowing down your practice. “If you’re in an aggressive class and don’t have the time to process the feeling of what’s going on in your own body, you lose some connection to the self and how you’re feeling. If I slow down, I start to feel what’s happening with my forearms, my elbows, my chest. Kind of like doing a body scan in each posture.”

When you pay attention, your body will let you know when to speed up and when to slow down, when to challenge yourself and when to relax.

Disrupting habits

Another benefit that yoga festivals offer is the opportunity to notice your routine -- and your attachment to it, gifting you with a heightened awareness of your frame of mind. Becoming aware of which classes you gravitate toward and how you chose to organize your day can give you insights into your daily habits. What would your hatha practice feel like if you spiced it up with some vinyasa flow? Dropping old habits and introducing new habits, however small, can aid our personal growth in a multitude of ways.

Find presence by changing your routine and breaking your usual yogi habits. By stepping outside your comfort zone, you will allow yourself the space to grow. If you’re someone who always puts your mat in the back row, challenge yourself to practice front and center (or vice versa!) and see how that influences your practice. Approach every class or workshop with a new curiosity in order to break down any repetitive behaviours you may have acquired.

One way of expanding your comfort zone on and off the mat is by taking a partner yoga class. “Sometimes yoga can be so serious, but partner yoga lightens it up and adds some fun, says Crystal Galleher, a yoga teacher on the Big Island of Hawai’i. “It’s another way of being more present because you’re exploring the practice in different ways — you’re inviting someone else into your practice and supporting someone else’s practice at the same time.”

Setting intentions

During your time at a yoga festival, you will begin to find new spaces within your body. As you listen to your body's wants and needs, taking the time to explore your practice in different ways, you will end the week feeling stronger and more supple; a perfect blend of ease and steadiness.

The body acts as a direct reflection on the state of the mind, so the more space you have in your body, the more you will find in your mind. Within these spaces, you will have the ability to find clarity on your situations and your direction.

For the Hawaii Yoga Festival organizers, having a theme for the festival was an important part of setting the right tone. “We set an intention of balance for the Hawaii Yoga Festival this year,” said Ali Slous, Director of Storytelling at Kalani Oceanside Retreat Center. “Not only because it falls squarely in the middle of Libra season, but to reflect what many of us are searching for lately: balance between work and play, effort and release, solitude and connection.”

You may discover new insights, or even just master that pose you've been trying to grasp, not to mention make connections with like minded-people from all over the world. With an increased awareness of your body, the habits you want to leave behind and the intentions you want to welcome in, it's not hard to envision how you will be feeling at the end of the week.

What's more, you can take the lessons you learned in the classes and workshops and apply them off your mat: remind yourself frequently to listen to your body and assess your options for growth, therefore maintaining a constant balance between strength and ease as you take on the waves and currents of life.

Photo credits: Zoltan Bovanovics and Melanie Heufert (middle)


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ali Slous
With his warm, personable demeanor and down-to-earth presence, you would never guess that “Bodies in Motion” creator Gilad Janklowicz is one of the fitness industry’s biggest stars and pioneers. Gilad has maintained a place in our homes and hearts - from television, to VHS, DVD, and, now, the Internet - for upwards of thirty years. Gilad returned to Kalani last week for his fifth-annual Fitness Adventure Camp, welcoming fans from all over the world to disconnect from their electronic devices and re-connect to their bodies, with nature, and to each other. 

Called to Hawaii from Palm Springs in the early 1980’s, Gilad was presented with “an offer he couldn’t refuse” to teach at the Honolulu Club, where he agreed to spend a year instructing three classes per day. As the demand to experience his workout at home became apparent, Gilad began the journey of producing his first television show in 1982; requiring him to seek funding and other resources to make his project a reality. By 1985, his show went from syndication in Hawaii, Nevada, and Texas to airing nationally on ESPN, where it ran for eleven years. Thirty years later, Gilad’s show is still going on Discovery Fitness & Health, and is considered the longest-running fitness show in America. 

Gilad’s longevity is in large part due to his ability to evolve, incorporating relevant fitness trends, while maintaining his signature style. His simple, yet memorable words of encouragement (“30 seconds more!” and "it's getting better every day!") and devotion to making his workouts fun and enjoyable have endeared him to devotees from across the globe. When Gilad comes to Kalani, it is an opportunity for him to meet some of the people he has impacted.

“[At Kalani], I have the chance to meet with people I haven’t met before and I get to see what affect this television medium has had on their lives. It never ceases to amaze me how the show really moves them. I try to make it fun, motivational, and positive. I’m here to share it.” 

When asked about the greatest hurdle people face in getting and staying fit, Gilad reports that time is an obstacle for many of his fans – yet, the very same people are constantly posting on Facebook. He asserts that it is not the lack of time that prevents people from incorporating fitness into their lives, but the need to allocate time correctly. For that reason, he offers 10-minute express workouts, that if done daily, will help people see incremental results. 

Gilad also notes that some of today’s “extreme” fitness trends often lead to injury and that he hopes to motivate people to get off the couch in a way that is safe and healthy. He reinforces that he wants people to walk away from his workout with energy to spare – so that his participants can come back and do it again the next day. 

Gilad’s background in the Israeli military and Olympic-level track and field training helped him understand that the body is “a fine-tuned machine.” He hopes his retreat participants will take away the idea that a simple equation - eating right, exercising, and resting, with consistency - will ensure they get results. 

Regarding why he continues returning to Kalani, Gilad elaborates:

“People come for the fitness experience, but from the get-go it is more than a fitness experience. I know what Kalani offers for people to emotionally let go. They get so much more than exercise and fitness, they get in touch with themselves, laugh, cry, and release. They make friends and become a tight group. Here, you’re able to put the brakes on, let yourself be, enjoy living with geckos and pigs and coqui frogs, outside-in.”

We have loved watching this release in action throughout Gilad’s retreat week for five years running – and look forward to each future visit!

For more information about Gilad Janklowicz, visit www.bodiesinmotionwithgilad.com

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Adrienne Brown

Kalani was an utterly healing experience for me. I was a part of the sabbatical program - it was a big risk for me to invest in a month halfway around the world, in the jungle. But I had amazing inspiring conversations with the staff beforehand - and it was worth every second and every penny.

I was immediately welcomed into the community by the staff and volunteers. There is a lot of care and love in the ohana, and it was easy to access. 

The week I landed, there was a transformative writing workshop being offered, and a hypnotherapist available. Both had wonderful impact on me. There was an abundance of opportunities for engaging in personal growth and healing, with visiting teachers and with the skills of the community. 

I was part of the agriculture team, which I hadn't properly packed for, so right away I was directed to the free box for work clothes. The agriculture team began each day with Hawaiian chanting and gratitude, then got sweaty together weeding and working the land. I looked forward to each day of work, and spread my 8-day sabbatical work commitment over half days to make it last longer.

I took tons of yoga classes with a variety of teachers and learned things that have stuck with me for my personal practice. A stand-out teacher was a woman named Kathy, in her 70s, who gave me permission to be gentle with my body and really listen to the wisdom in it - that yoga is about increasing my capacity to be conscious of spirit. 

I went on weekend adventures across the island to Kona for beaches, and in the midst of it fell in love with several of the wonderful people working behind the scenes. One of them, a healer named Jai, will stay with me forever.

I boldly spent as much time as I could exercising my clothing optional rights in the pool, sauna and hot tubs, as well as using all of the bodywork sessions that came with the sabbatical - I got reiki, watsu, lomi lomi, shiatsu. 

I left Kalani glowing, with several friendships that continue to deepen and grow me.

Gratitude abounds. Now I am recommending it to other friends who need to regenerate.



Saturday, November 26, 2011


Have you heard about Anusara Yoga and Anusara-Inspired Yoga?

It's a relatively new yoga practice, based in Hatha, which focuses on connecting yogis to the heart, divine energy, and universal oneness with each asana.

If you're interested in learning more, Omkar and Kelley Linn, the two Kalani Yogis behind Yoga Hawaii Time, have launched their own online video series which explains the beauty and techniques of Anusara Yoga.

Watch the two videos below to learn more about the practice, and subscribe to the Yoga Hawaii Time YouTube channel for future videos and online classes in Anusara-Inspired Yoga.

Omkar and Kelley Linn will be teaching a range of Anasura-Inspired Yoga classes in their upcoming Hawaii Yoga Escape retreats running December 3-8, 2011, and April 2-7 2012.

Click here to view the Hawaii Yoga Escape retreat page.


Thursday, October 13, 2011


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.


Bill (Will) Donnelly - Kundalini Yoga TeacherAloha 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:

  • Improved physical fitness and strength
  • Improved well-being
  • Spiritual growth
  • Clearer thinking

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.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Soul Purpose Consultant and Life Coach, Geraldine McMahon

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.’

So how can someone actually 'get into' their Heart Space?

To get into your heart space, remember that you are the creator of your life experience. This saying expresses it perfectly:

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habits.

Watch your habits, for they become character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

People who live in head space tend to get caught up in drama, do things they feel they 'should', even though they know deep down they don't want to. It's not much fun.

A way of getting into your heart space is to train your focus and thoughts on things that you love. Another way is to make decisions with the heart by asking yourself 'What is best for me?' and choosing the option that makes you feel good.

You'll notice when you’re in your heart because you'll be flowing towards what you love; the life you love will start to manifest all around you. You feel connected to everyone and everything. Of course this doesn’t mean that life is ‘perfect’, we may still experience difficult or challenging times, but it’s how we perceive these times which makes the difference.

When in the heart, you'll feel more confident. You won't become easily derailed from the goodness you are feeling. You'll understand on a deep level that even challenging periods will pass and make you a stronger, happier person too!

Learn techniques to get into your Heart Space and create a life of Passion, Purpose and Prosperity with Geraldine at Heart, Intuition, Purpose on Saturday 24 September at Kalani's EMAX, and contact Geraldine at [email protected] if you have any further questions about this interview or her upcoming workshop.

If you would like to discover Geraldine's 5 Steps To Doing Work You Love to go www.blissfulcareer.com.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Noelani Rodriguez

Is Kalani a "Power Spot" or Vortex?

When it comes to "sacred geography," Hawaii often gets lost amongst the more famous locations such as Sedona, Machu Picchu, and the Egyptian pyramids.

Yet visitors to Kalani on the Big Island of Hawaii love to express their amazement at the power of this magical land. There's good reason why Shiva Rea calls Kalani "one of the most potent and nurturing retreat centers on Earth."

Consider the following:

Pele's Power - Kalani is just 10 miles from the foot of Kilauea volcano, a volcano filled with molten magnetic iron ore. Known in Hawai'i as the home of volcano goddess Pele, Hawaiians for centuries have celebrated the destructive and regenerative power of the volcano in chant and dances.

Author William Chiles writes, "Pele's lava is a powerful symbol, and the foundation of new beginnings. It acts as a field for the piezoelectric 'armature of you,' amplifying what you're all about." Chiles suggests that Pele magnetizes your desires and brings them to the surface. Visitors and residents at Kalani regularly share stories about finding new, positive directions here. Some people experience sudden, unexpected torrents of emotion, only to find they transform into the sunny skies of new visions and understanding. Guests and locals alike report finding a positive new direction here.

Ley lines and Vortexes - There are the long-held beliefs surrounding the "ley lines" around the Earth, which form an energetic grid around the planet. Vortexes are crossing points on the ley lines. In the book Secrets and Mysteries of Hawaii, one passage talks about the Big Island being connected in a planetary grid, showing precise interconnectedness with sacred spots around the planet like the pyramids of Egypt, Machu Picchu, Uluru in Australia, and the Big Island's Kilauea volcano.

The ley line coming into the South Point of the Big Island, not far from Kalani, is considered be one of the most powerful to hit land mass. Author William "Pila" Chiles talks about the South Point as a "doorway" where "the density of three dimensional reality seems to be very thin" and the energy is "very unusual."

The Big Island as a "Pyramid" - Given that many pyramids around the planet are built on ley lines, it may come as no surprise that the Hawaiian translation for the word "volcano" and the word "pyramid" are identical. It could be that the Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes that are near to Kalani are actually the biggest pyramids of all!

Prophecy about the Big Island - White Eagle Medicine Woman, a frequent visitor to Kalani, a teacher and channel, spoke to a large Kalani audience about how she felt guided to build a community drum at Kalani. White Eagle refers to Hawaii as the heart chakra, or heart center, for the planet. She refers to Alaska as the crown and Macchu Piccu in Peru as the root. White Eagle's prophecy is that Kalani and the Big Island have a bigger role in shifting mass consciousness for change, setting the energy of intention through a powerful global grid.

The Big Island of Hawaii may not be as famous for "sacred geography" as Sedona, Giza, or Machu Picchu - but clearly it has a powerful spot to hold amongst its well-known cousins. Either way, there is no doubt that those who visit again and again will confidently declare Kalani as a "power spot" for finding direction and creating new dreams.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Noelani Rodriguez

Photography by Jose Martinez At Kalani, a Hawaiian yoga retreat center and educational village just 5 miles from where lava flows into the sea, Director Richard Koob playfully pronounces that "I Lava You" is the mantra this Valentine's day.

Based on the foothills of the largest volcano of the Hawaiian Islands, Kalani is near the home of the mythical goddess Pele, the Kilauea volcano. Pele, which translates to "lava", is the spirit of all things passionate and fiery, burning away illusion to find love and compassion within. Pele could be thought of as a Goddess that watches over Aloha Spirit.

Perhaps Pele could be thought of as a Valentine's Goddess of sorts, spreading the message of love and Aloha Spirit.

But what is Aloha Spirit exactly?

Stewart Blackburn, a Kalani facilitator that runs a popular class on Hawaiian Shamanism, talks about getting more Aloha Spirit in your life. He describes "Aloha Spirit" as finding your own joy. The Hawaiians believe that your power comes from feeling joy, as joy gives you the power to live, and to love others fully. Stewart talks about "Aloha Spirit" as something we can practice with a Beloved. "Being connected feels good," he explains, "things like criticism hurt connection, while love and joy help build connection." He talks about Aloha Spirit as a daily spiritual practice for sharing love and joy with others, and thus being on the right path.

Charles Muir, a well loved teacher of Tantra for 32 years and co-author of the book "Art of Conscious Loving", who has recently been featured on Oprah radio, is coming to Kalani for a couples retreat for Valentine's Day. Charles is known for getting couples to re-connect in positive ways, and connection is part of building joy and "Aloha." Charles is known for helping men creating more intention and energy around loving, like drawing a hot bath with rose petals for their lady. Women create a similar experience for men on a subsequent evening. Couples can usually be seen here smiling on Valentine's Day, after taking a workshop like a couple's retreat.

If couples here at Kalani need any help, scent from Hinano flower from a Hala tree is said to add romantic punch to a partnership. According to Maui magazine, ancient Hawaiian culture utilized the Hinano flower petals for love rituals: "A young kane [man] or wahine [woman] desiring to awaken the affections of another would seek out a fruiting male [Hala] tree. Male trees sport prominent spikes called hinano. Suggestive appearance aside, the spikes are covered in sweet-scented yellow pollen considered an aphrodisiac by Hawaiians. They used this pre-Contact Love Potion #9 to perfume their bedding and dust like talc beneath their malo, or loincloths."

Many couples have renewed their vows here at Kalani, enjoying the epic oceanfront views from lookout point nearby, also called "The Point," where you can see lava flow into the water, or see turtles or whales jump out of the sea. Couples can enjoy plush tropical scenery on land or at sea, with so many scents and sights.

Many also enjoy healthy cuisine at Kalani which is legendary, including ahi tuna, basil limeade, and watercress soup. Along with many activities and yoga workshops to take and whales to watch at nearby Kahena beach, couples can combine intimacy with group activity here at Kalani.

Couples that come to Kalani get to practice Aloha Spirit, with each other and also with the friendly staff and volunteer community.

In the spirit of Aloha, don't forget to say "I Lava You" to everyone you can.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Marya Mann

Marya Mann

We live in unprecedented times. Just ask my cat Shiva. We sit in the sun together, pondering the brilliant sunshine. To my long-haired white cat Shiva, this is unprecedented, for her human servant rarely tarries: I’m so busy. We’re all so busy. We rarely pause to simply purr, watch and sense the larger movements of nature, the dance of stars, planets and moons, but I think it’s time we do.

And it’s about time. Time is the real art we are all married to.

From my backyard here on the Big Island, where the coming winter solstice, December 21, will be almost as warm as summer solstice, and thus easier to replicate the open-air observations of the ancient Maya, who studied and mapped the structure of the galaxy and greater cosmos nearly 4000 years ago. With profound precision, they pondered not only the Sun, but the precession of the solstices — how the winter solstice sun would rise at different spots on the horizon.

Over time, the Mayan shaman-astronomers realized that every 26,000 years, a major alignment would occur: the Solstice Sun will align with the Dark Rift in the Milky Way, which the Maya called the Mouth of the Crocodile, or “jaguar-toad,” on December 21, 2012.

Living now, during the end-times, was to these ancient astronomers, mathematical geniuses, so extraordinary that they chose our unique time as the transformation point of the sacred calendar, the Tzolkin, based on the cycles of the Pleiades, encompassing a vast parade of time — 26,000 years.

Linguistic alchemist and plant medicine pioneer Terrence MacKenna was one of the first to notice the incredible time-keeping system of the Mayans, which was actually a combination of several cycles that meshed together, marking the movements of the Sun, Moon and Venus. “The Maya believed, for reasons which are perhaps forever lost, or perhaps soon to be revealed, that the coincidence of winter solstice sunrise with the part of the Milky Way that they called the xibalba be would not be, as some have stated, the end of the world, but its moment of true creation.”

The Mayan visionaries, like their contemporaries the Vedic philosophers in India and pre-classical metaphysicians in Egypt, found in astronomical processes the bedrock truth of nature, and they devised inventions like the Tzolkin Calendar to teach us, their heirs, about these celestial energies, to help us push through or midwife sometimes difficult evolutionary changes. The Mayans seemed to want us to know that we are entering an Alignment Era, a time of transformation, and if we can sense it, we might feel in the spiral structure of our own molecules the spiral structure of the galaxy, and therein find our real liberty. Petty politics and WikiLeaks are symptoms, not the cause of our human problems. They obscure the real issue of realigning with nature.

Through their myths and elaborate ceremonies, the Maya honored the cosmic waltz of time, the sacred relationships of planets and stars in their cosmic waltz, dancing in the skies. For one moment, now, feeling Shiva’s fur as we count our blessings in the garden, I notice the dancing. This dance as we know it, the dance of life in our universe, has been twirling its celestial choreography for at least 13.5 billion years, the estimated age of the universe.

So what’s a little 26,000-year-cycle? One of my mentors, Jose Arguelles, wrote in The Mayan Factor, “The emergence of humankind – Homo Sapiens – represents a particular stage in the evolutionary cycle of a star system, a stage in which the purposive integration of the four levels of consciousness becomes a distinct planetary possibility. The stage, Homo Sapiens, has a duration of 26,000 tun or five great cycles of 5,200 tun each. The 26,000-tun cycle is roughly equivalent to the so-called Platonic Great Year. The 5,200-tun cycle is but the fifth or last stage of the current evolutionary cycle. What we are experiencing is the climax of our particular species and evolutionary stage – the very last 26 (now 2) years of a cycle some 26,000 years in length!”

Indigenous people all over the globe would confirm what MacKenna and Arguelles have perceived. The ancient time-keepers foretold that human lives were bound with nature, and that if we step too far away from nature or caring for the planet and each other, we can not reasonably stay in balance.

Ah, but Nature gave us options. Nature is giving us support. On this December 21st Solstice, the heralded solstice Sun will rise in concert with a rare eclipse of the Full Moon which begins on the evening of Monday, December 20th, an event that occurs only once every 120 years.

The beauty of this moment is that the Earth’s shadow — the ego’s negativity, anger and indulgence, which creates war, racism and greed — will eclipse the fullness of our singular Moon. During its overnight dance in the skies, as the Earth’s shadow moves past the Moon, I think all the wounds and pettiness of human nature can fall away too. I plan to pitch my own sly and prideful cellular negativities into the proverbial bonfire. I hope you will too.

Let the power of the visual architecture and incredible choreography of the celestial spheres carry us home to ourselves, knowing our dignity, generosity and enthusiasm for life as gracefully on Earth as the sky is above. “As it is above, so it is below,” say the ancient teachers.

And as it is below, so it will be above, in a transformed state. The passion of singers like the Puna Men’s Chorus, futurists like Richard Koob, Jim Berenholtz, and Mark Kadota, musicians Boaz and Tony Selvage, and dancers Yoko, Janelle and myself, to co-create joyful ceremony at places like Kalani Honua on the Big Island, arises from this: an abiding belief in the rejuvenating power of this poignant time, and the regenerating energies of the sacred space of Kalani, so near the outpouring of lava from Kilauea Volcano.

Whether you can celebrate this amazing time, this New Alignment Era, with us on the Big Island, or you plan to find your own transformational event, party or meditation, realize that as we bless and appreciate these significant – and also ordinary – moments in time, our sacred reflections and intentions refresh the music of the spheres.

Cleansed and renewed by the Solstice Moon Eclipse, we can choose to set our sights for the next two years, to Winter Solstice 2012, and beyond that, into the flowering of human consciousness around the one wheel of life. The time is upon us for this reunion, to quicken our pulse with the rhythms of nature, to re-bond with the earth, water, sky, fire and ether that permeate life. We’re zooming into the Floral Age, and if we reaffirm our oneness with nature, it will be the most powerful time for transformation and renewal our planet may ever face.

“As we struggle with the vastness of the universe of space and time and our place in it,” said MacKenna, we follow in Maya footsteps. In doing so, we should celebrate the wisdom of the Maya and ponder its depths, and wonder after its most persistent perception: that the world is to be born at last on December 21, 2012.”

Petting my cat Shiva while this afternoon’s Sun showers us with light, I recall how I named her after the dancing god of India, the destroyer or transformer of the Hindu Trinity of divinity. Shiva is often depicted as Nataraja, the lord of the dance, dancing the Tandava upon Apasmara Purusha, the demon of ignorance, stamping out greed, anger and delusion.

The Solstice Eclipse this December 20th at Kalani will be a chance to dance with Shiva and renew the ancient light of our true nature. Please join in, wherever you are.