Hawaii Yoga Retreat – The Meaning of Aloha

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The Meaning of Aloha

The Meaning of Aloha


alo,[ 1. sharing, 2. in the present ]
oha, joyous affection, joy
ha, life energy, life, breath [prana]





In Hawai’i… it is common for us to use the word Aloha. We use it in greetings and farewells and in expressing love. But the word means even more, it is a way of life.

[NB: Aloha has many parallels to the deeper meanings and philosophical underpinnings found in Yoga which we will explore in our upcoming Hawaii Yoga Retreat. Yoga is also a way of life, accompanied by practices which remind us how to live a life of joy and connection.]

Besides these common meanings, the word Aloha holds within itself all one needs to know to interact rightfully in the natural world. These insights describe an attitude or way of life sometimes called “The Aloha Spirit” or “The Way of Aloha”.

The spirit of Aloha was an important lesson taught to the children of the past because it was about the world of which they were a part. One early teaching goes like this:

Aloha is being a part of all, and all being a part of me. When there is pain – it is my pain. When there is joy – it is also mine. I respect all that is as part of the Creator and part of me. I will not willfully harm anyone or anything. When food is needed I will take only my need and explain why it is being taken. The earth, the sky, the sea are mine to care for, to cherish and to protect. This is Hawaiian – this is Aloha!

Hawaiian Hula dancers at sunset

Hawaiian Hula dancers at sunset

As the child grew, the need for a fundamental code of ethics was taught. This code is found within a deeper layer of the meaning of the word Aloha. The code is derived from one of the acronymic meanings of Aloha.

A, ala, watchful, alertness
L, lokahi, working with unity
O, oia’i’o, truthful honesty
H, ha’aha’a, humility
A, ahonui, patient perseverance

The kahuna David Bray interprets this code as:

“Come forward, be in unity and harmony with your real self, God, and mankind. Be honest, truthful, patient, kind to all life forms, and humble.” He also stated that to the Hawaiian of old, Aloha meant “God in us.”

NB: [Just like in the philosophical system of the 8 Limbs of Yoga: Compassion, Truthfulness, Discipline, Self Study and more…]

[…] Aloha, it contains a deeper meaning and explanation of our place in the world and a code of ethics to help us with our interactions in the world. This can be found within the root words that make up Aloha.

alo, 1. sharing 2. in the present
oha, joyous affection, joy
ha, life energy, life, breath [prana]

“To consciously manifest life joyously in the present.”

We can translate this literally as “The joyful sharing of life energy in the present” or simply “Joyfully sharing life”.

[Aloha, similar to Yoga provides answers for…] Big Cosmic Questions about our existence, which is much easier to contemplate when broken down into smaller parts. The parts are Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Aloha has answered three of these, so far. Who, of course is you and I. What, is the conscious creation of your Reality. When, is Now, the Present Moment, that place between past and future, which is the only place Reality exists. The answer to Where, is Nature. The answer to Why, is because we are here to cherish, protect and take care of this being we live upon, the Earth.

Waterfall hawaii

Waterfall in Hawaii

The Hawaiians have no word for “nature” as in the sense of “being outside in nature”. The ancient Hawaiians did not view nature as being something separate from themselves because nature was their reality.

[….] Nature is an embodiment of the meaning of Aloha, and vice versa….It is in Nature that we can discover the wonder of our existence here on Earth.

Where else but in Nature is the spirit of Aloha easier to experience? Beauty is awe-inspiring and energizing and draws you into the present moment, like the feelings brought on by love and joy.

Nature is also where we can gain the wisdom to make responsible choices if we approach with Aloha in our heart. With an attitude of Aloha we can gain from the wisdom of the wind and the wisdom of the water and the wisdom of the soil and the wisdom of the trees and learn from the truths and revelations presented by the non-human community.

So, we’ve seen that Aloha is indeed a way of life, an attitude and it even contains guidelines to help us in our lives. It is most definitely a “word to the wise.” In closing, I’d like to bring to mind another old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” […] So, the next time you greet a friend with “Aloha,” hold its meanings close to your heart and think of the picture you’re painting. It is indeed a beautiful world.


Article written by: Curby Rule

NB: Kat Clayton

Credit Web Source: https://www.huna.org/html/deeper.html

Yoga Retreat | Maui, Hawaii | 2022

If you’re feeling called to go a bit deeper in your yoga practice and enjoy the beauty and healing energy of Hawaii, I invite you to learn more about our upcoming Hawaii Yoga Retreat on the island of Maui – in 2022.

To learn more about the retreat, please click the link.

Hawaii Yoga Retreat

Hawaii Rainbow Yoga Retreat

Hawaii Rainbow Yoga Retreat

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