My personal journey to health started around the time I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 30. The prognosis from Western doctors was disheartening at best. According to them, I would face a lifetime of chronic, increasing pain and severe inflammation in my joints. If I didn’t take the medications they were offering me, which came with side effects, such as internal bleeding and kidney damage, I would become deformed and possibly unable to care for myself. I looked at the life they were telling me I would live – one of fear, pain and disconnection. I promptly walked in the opposite direction.
I began to live both traditions fully every day and started Hale Pule Ayurveda and Yoga in 1999 with the intention to share the teachings. Hale Pule was small back then, but I dedicated my days to growing the work. We built a small farm to create a direct link between the world around us and the food we ate, led Yoga teacher trainings that offered a holistic view of Yoga and began offering distance Ayurvedic consultations. I traveled extensively throughout India to continue my training and each time I brought back a deeper understanding of how I could apply this vast wisdom to my own life and better support my clients in their journeys.
I tell my clients that the manifestation of disease is an opportunity to remove what is holding us back. I took a dose of my own medicine and focused my practice of Ayurveda and Yoga. Over three months I slowed down enough to give my body the space to heal. I worked through the emotional issues and fears at the root of the imbalance. I released old attachments to foods and ways of being that weren’t in my best interest. I healed, washing away old layers into the earth. When I felt ready to begin surfing again, I knew I would be fine. After a year and a half I was free of the leukemia. The experience gave me a deeper grounding in the present moment – every present moment – and cultivated a stronger connection to my dharma.
I turned 60 last November (free of cancer and no symptoms of the arthritis that was supposed to have crippled me years ago) and have spent time reflecting upon what we’ve created here at Hale Pule. As we grow – training more yogis, providing people with simple Ayurvedic tools to change their lives – I feel blessed to have witnessed hundreds of transformations. As people are now waking up to the teachings of Ayurveda and Yoga faster than ever, I am more inspired to grow our work so that I can share what has been passed down through a lineage of teachers that stretches back more than 5,000 years.
When I tell my story, people respond with surprise. Sometimes it is shock (that I chose the science that is true to my heart over the one that is true to its drugs) or awe (that I found the power within to heal myself). But what I learned on this journey is the same lesson available to you. Health is not something that happens to us – health happens through us. Health happens in our kitchens, on our Yoga mats, in our meditation practice. Health happens when we step into our true selves, walk away from our attachments to high-powered jobs, titles and physical objects. Health happens when we embrace our responsibility to be our own healers and become fully in charge of what happens to us every day. Health happens when we love ourselves and our lives.
Hale Pule means “house of prayer” in Hawaiian. I gave it that name to make sure that I never forget the true nature of this work. When we practice Ayurveda and Yoga, we build a deeper connection to ourselves. But that connection is simply a remembrance that we are eternal spirits – that we reflect divine consciousness. As I have learned on my own path, this is what it takes to make us whole. And when each of us remembers who we are as eternal spirits, we will make our world whole again.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.
With love and blessings