Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian Cultural Center in Kaka’ako, Honolulu

Still & Moving Center is not only a wellness and yoga studio in Hawaii; you will also find here an abundance of Hawaiian cultural education. Kumu Mālia Helelā, our traditionally trained cultural practitioner, teaches both the ancient and modern forms of hula: Hula Kahiko and  Hula ‘Auwana. In her live classes, whether in-person or virtually, she plays the ukulele or ipu gourd drum, sings or chants, dances, gives students directions, and translates from Hawaiian to English… all at the same time! She imparts the history and details of the locale where each dance come from, such as the type of wind that blows there or the species of flowers or trees that grow in that place. You will come away with a tremendous appreciation for our island home, for our Hawaiian culture, and for the genuine, friendly spirit of aloha.

Kumu Mālia has been the receiver and giver of Hawaiian lomilomi massage in her family since childhood, in addition to being formally trained in lomilomi as an adult.  Having developed her own curriculum for an 8 part series of lomilomi trainings, Kumu Mālia now trains both professionals and other interested individuals in the art of Hawaiian massage. 

Thanks to Kumu Mālia, we offer classes in oli, traditional Hawaiian chanting, and ukulele playing. In her hula halau (school), Kumu Mālia teaches keiki (children) and adults how to play traditional Hawaiian instruments: from the feathered gourd rattle uli uli, to the bamboo pu’ili, to the ‘ili ‘ili stones, to the kala’au wooden rhythm sticks, and of course the ‘ipu drum. She also teaches the Hawaiian art of lei-making from flowers, ferns and leaves.

Since thousands of Kumu Mālia’s students live in Japan, we translate many of her classes, workshops and trainings into Japanese. We also offer Japanese and English-speaking students a language and meditation class called Kaiwa.

Kumu Mālia shares the Hawaiian worldview as the balancing of opposites: male and female, light and dark, land and sea. She draws this insight from the Kumulipo, the ancient Hawaiian creation chant.  At Still & Moving Center we honor the Hawaiian balance defending tradition with celebrating innovation. 

ʻAʻole pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi. Not all knowledge comes from one school, says an ancient Hawaiian adage.

Because knowledge comes from many disciplines and many cultures, Still & Moving Center offers Hawaiian cultural practices side-by-side with many other moving and meditational practices from around the world. For a culture to truly live, it needs to evolve, adapt, and develop, which it cannot do if it’s isolated like a museum piece inside a glass box. Cross-pollination keeps any species in the natural world strong and vibrant.

Kumu Mālia’s hula choreography therefore stays rooted in Hawaiian tradition, yet by working and practicing at Still & Moving Center, she continually upgrades the ways she teaches Hula. Kumu brings principles of alignment from Yoga to Hula,  pointing out the zenith and horizon lines of our arm positions. From Tai Chi she brings awareness to hula students of the important weight-shifts that we need to make from foot to foot as we pendulum our hips from side to side. From Feldenkrais, Kumu Malia brings in listening carefully to our body sensations to perform the hula steps safely, preserving our healthy knees and ankles. One might consider Kumu Mālia to be something of a renaissance woman amongst Hawaiian cultural practitioners!

Still & Moving Center serves as a cultural center in Hawaii that helps our members immerse themselves in wellness and healthy living. Visit our studio today to find your balance between the traditional and the modern, your awareness of living Hawaiian culture.

Malia Ko’i’ulaokawaolehua Helela

 

Kumu Mālia is beloved by students around the globe for her kind heart and loving style of teaching, not to mention her deep knowledge, beautiful voice and exquisite dancing. She is a traditionally graduated kumu hula and lomilomi practitioner/trainer, as well as a cultural consultant for Still & Moving Center.

Malia Helela completed her hula ʻuniki (graduation) under Kumu Hula Puluʻelo Park in 2002, and studied oli (traditional Hawaiian chant) under Kumu Hula Keola Lake. Malia has been teaching both practices ever since to a wide range of students, from infants to kupuna, and leading her halau (school), Nā Hula Ola Aloha. Kumu Malia has personally taught thousands of hula students in Hawaii. Additionally, the many Japanese hula teachers whom she has trained over the years teach hundreds of their own students in Japan using the style, method and philosophy of Kumu Malia’s hula lineage.

Kumu Malia considers her hula practice and lomilomi practice to be two parts of the same whole. From her 20 years of lomi experience, she developed a 128 hour massage training program of her own called Puana Lomilomi, based on the intertwined practices of lomilomi, hula, pule, oli and lei-making.

As a member of Ka Pā o Lonopūhā, Malia participates in the sharing of native Hawaiian healing arts that focus specifically on lomi aʻe and elements of haki kino, laʻau lapaʻau and hoʻoponopono. Malia regularly teaches lomilomi for the Salvation Armyʻs Womenʻs Way program representing their cultural healing classes for women in recovery.

As an ambassador and guest lecturer of Hawaiian culture, Malia has delivered presentations for Leeward Community College, the Hawaii Yoga Institute, Outrigger Reef on the Beach, Mid Pacific Institute, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, Manoa Cottage, Honolulu Theater for Youth, numerous groups of International middle and high school students and Still & Moving Center. Kumu Mālia Helelā is currently researching and writing a trilogy of historic novels centered on the Kawehewehe and Kalia area. As a kumu hula and lomilomi practitioner, she looks to the ‘āina, the land, for grounding and inspiration.

Hawaiian themed outings, events and trainings
Available in English with Live Japanese translations

Intro to Hula, Ukulele, Oli, Olelo, Lei Making, Poi Pounding: Kumu Malia excels at introducing first time visitors to the arts and practices of Hawaii. Any combination of the above can be delivered in 30min to 4hr programs. Either virtually or in person, in our beautiful studio at 1024 Queen street or on location at the Beach as well as at Waimea Valley (additional fees required). Other locations possible on request. Interactive formats best for groups under 30. Demonstrations/lectures/virtual activities available for groups of any size.  Auntie Doris, Kumu Malia’s assistant is also available to lead introductory sessions as well as local Talk Stories and Pidgin.

Waikiki Walk Story: Oahu’s geography of the Hawaiian Healing Arts. Connect with the ‘āina for a walking tour along Kalia Road and Waikīkī beach. Offer ho’okupu and learn about healing practices of the area. Discover more about Waikīkī’s rich history as Mālia shares the story of Kawehewehe and the surrounding fishponds and healing springs that were filled in the 1920s.  This thoughtful and insightful walk will challenge participants to seek traces of healing and recovery in the surrounding land and within each individual. An Optional Hula class is offered by Kumu Malia at the end of the walk. This 2 hour walk story begins and ends at the Waikiki Bandstand in Kapiolani Park. Best for groups of up to 30 people, able to walk up to 2 miles (tours can be tailored to shorter distances with more stops as needed).

Hawaiian Healing Family activity: Healing is an unfolding process of many steps.  Drawing on lessons of hula, lei making, lomilomi, ceremony and Oli chanting, you will weave healing practices into a tailored treatment that addresses body, mind and spirit. You will be led by Kumu Hula, Malia Helela, traditionally trained hula instructor, lomilomi practitioner and cultural advisor, and invited to discover a new perspective through the eyes of a traditional healer and cultural practitioner. You will engage in Hawaiian hula, the historical highlights and evolution of the Hawaiian healing arts, Olelo (language), lei making, chanting and self-massage healing techniques throughout the activity. This 4hour activity is designed for groups of parents, Kupuna and Keiki to enjoy together.

Kāheahea Hawaiian Hospitality Training
A true sense of welcome requires us to acknowledge our shared relationships, in a manner that is genuine and inclusive.  By defining the ways we are interconnected, we become invested in the wellbeing of our guests.  Kāheahea encourages us to turn towards each other, looking again and again for ways to provide service before it is even asked. This training is available to all but targets participants who are involved in the hospitality sector and is presented as either a 4 hr introduction or a full 2 to 3 day training.

Hiʻuwai ceremony
In the hula community, a sunrise hiʻuwai ceremony often precedes graduations and other significant events.  Kumu Mālia has led consistent quarterly hiʻuwai since 2003, observing every solstice and equinox.  Following a pre-dawn meditation, participants gather to chant awake the sun and then go into the water to ceremonially cleanse themselves. This 1 hour activity can be combined with other practices at the beach and/or offered at high noon.

Puana Lomilomi Experience
Lomilomi, like all forms of healing, is an unfolding process of many steps.  This approach to lomilomi focuses on settling the nervous system and integrating all parts of the body into one.  Drawing on lessons of hula and lei making, students weave lomilomi massage techniques into a tailored treatment that addresses body, mind and spirit. Lomilomi has traditionally been practiced in the home. Led by our traditionally trained Kumu Hula, Malia Helela, this initiation to Lomilomi will provide you with practical and accessible techniques that can be safely shared with your family and friends. “At the heart of the human experience is a calling to care for one another, and this can be accomplished beautifully through lomilomi.” 2hour workshop.

Waolehua guidance for Women
Waolehua is the domain of lehua blossoms.  It is a dedicated space for women created near each new moon. These womenʻs gatherings seek to provide a safe space for uplifting dialogue on any number of topics pertinent to the female experience.  Female identifying individuals are warmly welcomed. Various topics can be explored with healing as a main focus. 2 to 3 hour sessions for groups of up to 30.

Keiki Offerings:
Kumu Maliaʻs uplifting and engaging style welcomes even the littlest dancers into the world of hula.  Classes include seated hula for infants and toddlers together with their caregivers, as well as classes for elementary aged keiki.  Children love lomilomi as well as grownups and Kumu Mālia has provided lessons for keiki and their parents to work on each other. Best for children  up to 10 years old with their parents/caregivers. 30min to 1hr sessions recommended for groups of up to 30 participants.

Palena Orientation to Hawaiian Management practices, Ancient wisdom for today’s leaders:
Living on the earth’s most isolated landmass, early Hawaiians adapted and thrived by managing their precious resources.  This management style has at its core a traditional healing prayer that provides direction, bringing all aspects of life into alignment.  Palena refers to land boundaries and participants are guided through establishing their own boundaries around business, projects and personal life. This training is best offered in small groups of 10 to 20 participants, as part of a larger Management training for a business group or conference or as an introductory session for participants seeking traditional wisdom to apply to their personal purpose building and projects.  Can be offered as a 2hour introduction or full 2 to 3 day training. 

Waimea Valley Waterfall activity: Oahu’s north-shore is rich with environmental diversity from mauka to makai (mountain to sea). Unfortunately many miss out on cultural elements that amplify the area’s beauty.  Even fewer take part under the guidance of a Kumu (teacher). We begin with an orientation to the history and significance of Waimea Valley.  Recognized as the Valley of the Priests, Waimea was home to generations of high priests.  In light of the historical significance of the area, we will offer a traditional chant asking permission to enter. There is no better way to dance hula than deep in a valley surrounded by nature.  Participants will learn the basic steps and gestures of hula, and then a choreography. During our time in the valley, we will make two different styles of lei.  The first lei will be made by stringing flowers and used during the hula lesson.  The second style of lei is made by knotting the stems of leaves together.  We will release this lei  into the flowing waterfall at the back of the valley.  All participants are welcome to swim out to the waterfall.  Life vests are provided for safety.

 

For all booking requests,
please contact neela@stillandmovingcenter.com

 

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