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Ondine Brooks Kuraoka


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Posted By Ondine Brooks Kuraoka

My muscles are howling from my latest hula session. Oof. The most challenging workout ever. It’s a lovely dichotomy, though, my blazing quadriceps and the flowing, mellow music.

My teacher, Lori, is a firm but encouraging taskmaster with a wry sense of hula humor. "Get the rough out- your hands are supposed to look like waves. Now you’re picking a flower- just think about that while you sway your hips." Yeah right. And rub your tummy while you’re patting your head.

But somehow, over the weeks, the motions are starting to sync. My inner hula goddess is beginning to peek out from within my 40-year-old self. The music starts and I feel my spine fall into alignment, allowing my hips to move from my core, my abdominal muscles, through sheer force of will, keeping my parts from clanking to the floor.

Not that parts don’t clank. Young Lori says, "It looks like you’re moving you’re left hip further out than your right one."

And I say, "Yes, that’s as far as my 40-year-old hip will take me."

"Oh," she says, looking sheepish. "Sorry."

And so our teacher-student relationship goes. I think it’s just hard for her to relate to the fact that my body, as much as I was willing it to do all that it was being asked to do, is rather stubborn at this late date.

My right hip clicks with every Ami until I warm up, and then again when I’m fatigued. And my knees snicker at me every time I even think about doing a deep knee bend. But my 40-year-old body shows me as I show up for each lesson that I can strengthen and bend and flow like a wave.

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