Holistic Hale

Halekulani ushers in a series of lessons on living as an art.

“That nature and the ocean: It’s just designed for healing.” These are words Kamala Skipper uses to characterize Halekulani, “the perfect” retreat to provide counsel on living well.

As Halekulani’s Lifestyle Coach, Skipper educates on all things health- and wellness-related through SpaHalekulani’s 2015 Living-Well Lecture Series: an assemblage of hour-long seminars on wellbeing. Captained by Skipper, hotel guests and interested parties, kama‘aina and visiting, are schooled on mastering healthy habits on the last Saturday of every month.

With topics spanning Summer of Superfoods to Living Longevity, the resort’s monthly mind-and-body talks are tailored to SpaHalekulani’s mantra of Living as an Art.

“We are very excited to be the first hotel spa in Hawai‘i to have a resident Lifestyle Coach and introduce this one-of-a-kind series,” says Kamala Nayeli, director of SpaHalekulani. “Ms. Skipper’s expertise and guidance will provide participants the tools to attain a life that is more fulfilling, happy and healthy, not just in 2015, but for many years to come.”

Per Skipper and Nayeli’s vision and “similar philosophies to health and wellness,” SpaHalekulani’s in-house wellness program ensued. Motivational and holistic, the 2015 Living-Well lineup, presents an appetizing menu of health- and well-being keystones, such as Self-Care and Food & Emotions: connected topics Skipper and Nayeli both feel strongly about and sense are applicable to modern society.

“To empower people in an hour is a bit of a challenge, so when thinking of the topics, I look at what I would have liked to go to at times I wasn’t feeling great,” Skipper shares.

Institute for Integrative Nutrition-educated, Holistic Health Practitioner-certified, and victorious over her own health challenges, guiding the public to sustainable health is Skipper’s professional (and personal) passion. The former human rights lawyer landed in Hawai‘i via South Africa, and now helps others weave their own personal “road to wellness” through integrative life tools with vitality.

“My intention is for everyone to leave lectures with their own list of self-care benefits,” she says, whether this be eating a raw salad and a green smoothie every day, or squeezing in a mere 10 minutes of yoga to stretch tired limbs. “If you’re not taking care of yourself, then it’s very difficult to offer your best self to the world around you.”

Chiefly, the Living-Well lineup aspires to conquer sentiments of guilt when “indulging” in self-care, and instead, celebrate personal maintenance. To illustrate, Skipper compares self-care to being on a plane: Put your own oxygen mask on before assisting those around you.

“When people leave, I want them to be empowered, so I give them an action step: something to focus on. I feel very blessed,” Skipper says. “There are people who now want to come every month, and if they want more support, that’s where they can design a comprehensive program.”

One such example is SpaHalekulani’s signature New Year’s Cleanse—a step-by-step detox with shopping lists, recipes and quick menus for the lazy, healthful-eating impostors among us. Enrollment is available any time, and the initial five-day experience can be extended to one’s preference.

“Anyone who wants to do the cleanse can do it though the Halekulani,” Skipper states. “I make it as easy I can; I give a daily meal plan protocol every day.”

Both talks and extracurricular affairs are especially attuned to busy people who want to healthy, but don’t have free time. One lecture, Mindful Eating, addresses the obstacle of making good food choices on a tight schedule; another, Simple Stress Solutions, looks at understanding and managing different forms of stress. Predominately in slideshow-form, Skipper’s sessions are not mundane speeches, but instead are engaging spiels applicable to daily life.

Further enrichment comes in the form of comprehensive programs, exclusively tailored to Halekulani guests. In finding more creative, fun ways for people to reduce stress, Skipper teams up with the spa to brainstorm “wellness weekend” activities, and the like, such as afternoon of yoga paired with superfood spread prepped by Halekulani’s celebrated executive chef Vikram Garg.

“They’re quite progressive in terms of the health of their foods,” shares Skipper of Halekulani restaurants’ “from scratch” nibbles and commitment to a farm-to-table, can-free kitchen.

“I want people to get inspired and have ideas,” Skipper says. “Many people feel that healthy food is bland and boring, but that’s so not true.” Need proof? Just follow her colorful, food-filled stream (@kamalawellness). When it comes to nutrition, a pillar of fitness, Skipper shuns zealous, finite food philosophies in favor of a holistic approach.

“If I had to sum it up in one phrase? Eating more real, whole and less processed foods,” Skipper shares, admitting that tastes range, and people often become righteous when it comes to eating styles. “Personally, [my diet] is predominately plant-based, not necessarily vegan or vegetarian … it’s about finding what works best for you.”

Nestled on Waikiki’s sparkling shoreline, it is appropriate that one of the world’s finest independent luxury lodgings, recognized with more than 500 accolades and awards since its 1984 inception, would provide an oasis for healing, among lauded arts, culture and dining locales.

“I saw so many people around me suffering, and I thought, ‘It doesn’t have to be that way,’” Skipper shares. “The whole point of this series is about finding a better way to communicate with yourself, your body and your environment.”

Living Well-Lectures are complimentary for Halekulani guests. For more information, call SpaHalekulani (808-931-5322), or visit halekulani.com/living-well-lecture-series.

Photo courtesy Halekulani

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