Global Impact Stories

See how Open Floor is making a difference in communities around the world.

Moving Towards Trauma Relief and Recovery in Hawaii

Kabba dancing on grass outdoors

Two days after devastating wildfires broke out in Hawaii in August 2023, Kabba Anand, Open Floor teacher from Maui, joined a team of volunteers offering support to the community.

Kabba drew on his 40-year experience as a practitioner in Traditional East Asian Medicine, movement meditation and dance to offer acupuncture, breathwork and mindful movement to the victims of the fires who had lost housing, work, employment, business, belongings, family members, and life as they knew it. 

Kabba explains their approach: “Many people were on the edge, they needed immediate support and resources for trauma relief.

It’s about resetting their dysregulated nervous system. We are helping people switch from a sympathetic nervous system fight or flight response to their parasympathetic system which allows them to rest and digest, helps them settle a bit, so that sooner than later their grief and anger can be processed and integrated.” 

Over weeks and months, the nature of the support that Kabba and his colleagues are offering is evolving. He is now part of an integrative team sponsored by a local hospice organization to offer ongoing bereavement support and healing wellness events. It started weekly, and is now bi-monthly, Kabba and a team (including a psychotherapist, and other healthcare professionals) co-facilitate Talk Story groups for evacuee victims of the fires. “ I offer ear acupuncture and facilitate movement and breath practice as part of our coming together, enhancing our ability to share and listen with greater presence. It helps us access “ground” and “center” as we share and listen.”  

“The most astounding thing for me as a mover and a movement educator was early on recognizing – for myself and the people I was supporting – that we already possess essential resources that we need to encourage post-traumatic growth and resilience. Starting with myself… I had to find my feet, I had to find my breath, I had to find ground and center, I had to find pause, had to find release…. many of our Open Floor movement resources.” 

The impact on participants is clear, Kabba says. “Many have shared that they do not know if or how they would be as well, and as functional post-trauma, without this support.  

 Alongside his volunteer work for trauma relief, Kabba continues to teach his regular movement class, Dancing Medicine on Maui.

“Teaching is service. This is an Open Floor value that really resonates with me. Every week, I start there. I focus on what will be the most welcoming, inclusive and supportive theme or resource to explore, considering where we find ourselves as a collective.” 

 

Kabba has written music in the wake of the Maui fires. He says, “Have been spinning it here, watching everybody move and groove, with great pleasure.” Listen Now

Kabba is passionate about music and dance, healing and expressive arts. He provides acupuncture for hospice clients and has taught mindful movement to adults in recovery. Kabba practices East Asian medicine and teaches Open Floor movement on Maui. He is currently active in relief efforts after the Maui fires. Kabba has assisted in teaching Ground Floor labs, was a working member of IFI for many years, and a mentor.

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