Ritz Carlton Kapalua on MauiE Malamo Kou Kino is Hawaiian for “care for your body.” For most of us, simply the idea of a trip to Hawaii seems like a great way to care for the body. The reality is, a cramped plane ride, the stress of TSA, hearty doses of sun and a Mai Tai-laced sunset may not necessarily add up to personal care. But I’ve discovered a Hawaiian oasis where awareness of your body and best self intersect with the typical trials and delights of a Hawaiian vacation. You can have it all, or at least all the best for your body at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui.

To shine a spotlight on their wellness philosophy, the cultural and wellness teams at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui recently offered a four-day event focused on E Malamo Kou Kino. A part of the five star resort’s fall wellness program, this four-day event (which is anticipated to become an annual offering) gave visitors a glimpse at the resort’s regular wellness offerings available to all guests but incorporated it with classes and seminars by special guest instructors from across the nation.

Although I’m one of those visitors to the Hawaiian Islands who believes that a daily snorkel and a good night’s sleep contribute to all the vacation wellness I need, I attended the Care for Your Body weekend and dove headfirst into four days of serious mind and body stimulation and rejuvenation.

chakra yoga at the Ritz Carlton wellness programWhat did I discover? Tai Chi can make your leg muscles quake like a full circuit of the gym; all-natural pure peppermint oil can make those muscles release as well as (if not better than) any over the counter rub. You can improve your immunity with yoga; create beautiful massage oils with common herbs; keep an orchid lei fresh in the refrigerator; get a full strength training workout without a single weight or prop; balance chakras with movement and—best of all—drink wine, eat chocolate and lose weight. Now that’s what I call caring for your body!

I gleaned kernels of wisdom from each of the weekend’s presenters—an impressive lineup that included Beth Shaw of YogaFit, strength and conditioning expert Nick Tumminello, YogaGlo instructor Felicia Tomasko and the resort’s own fitness coordinator Claudia Micco, who is instrumental in making wellness a part of the Ritz Carlton Kapalua experience all the year through.

wine and chocolate pairingMy own greatest connection was with Robert Ferguson of Diet Free Life, a nutrition and weight loss expert who endorses the daily enjoyment of wine as a part of a maintenance or even weight loss program. His wine and chocolate pairing seminar was nothing short of decadent. In short, Robert’s pleasure-filled eating philosophy has to do with combining foods for optimal caloric burn. I only got a small taste of his most delicious medicine but information on his whole program is available through the Diet Free Life website.

But the practitioner who probably most greatly impacted my E Malamo Kou Kino experience was T’ai Chi champion and holistic practitioner David Dorian Ross. The creator of TaijiFit, a Western-style mind/body workout based on T’ai Chi as well as a motivational speaker, Ross offered a number of classes and workshops throughout the weekend. His message of finding true health and happiness from within would have resonated with me no matter what the setting. But being reminded to reflect on all that is good and harmonious in life in the paradisiacal surroundings of the Ritz Carlton? Perhaps there is no more powerful motivator than a positive message carried on a sweet, tropical breeze.

Although E Malamo Kou Kino happens only for one autumn weekend, wellness is a year-round focus at the Maui Ritz-Carlton. The resort’s cultural, environmental and fitness offerings include interactive tours of the resort’s kitchen garden with a focus on sustainability and healthful eating; a full array of weekly fitness classes and 24 hour fitness center; Aloha Friday lei-making classes; an ocean-side labyrinth for quiet contemplation and, of course, the ultimate rejuvenation center of the Ritz Carlton Spa featuring treatments based on native, Hawaiian healing.

ambassadors of the environment at the Ritz Carlton KapaluaThe resort’s most remarkable wellbeing offering just might be the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program, which affords guests the opportunity to interact with the environment in-depth and in meaningful and impactful ways. Programs, led by Ambassadors all possessing university degrees in environmental and marine studies, vary daily but include learning about Hawaiian wellness and identifying medicinal plants, exploring the coral reefs and learning about ocean protection efforts, discovering Kapalua’s tide pools, guided snorkeling and star gazing. Programs are available for budding environmentalists of all ages and elevate the Ritz Carlton’s amenities from typical resort to a center of wellness and discovery both of the self and Hawaii’s unique environment.

For more information, visit The Ritz-Carlton, Kapaula websiteor call (808) 669-6200.