All work and some play

  • The hiking group meets at Under the Bodhi Tree before heading out for the monthly excursion. (COURTESY PHOTO)
    The hiking group meets at Under the Bodhi Tree before heading out for the monthly excursion. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Under the Bodhi Tree, a vegetarian/vegan/raw food restaurant in Mauna Lani, serves healthy dishes to residents and visitors seven days a week. But now they’ve added a new item to the menu: Team Bodhi.

The shop’s employees banded together in Aug. to create a program that offers free organized walking, running and hiking groups for the public led by their staff.

“We were talking one day in the shop about us getting moving,” Owner Stephen Rouelle says. “We wanted to find a way to incorporate a ‘whole life/whole person’ approach into what we do in the restaurant.”

Employee Tiffany Nakamura oversees the program with a degree in kinesiology. She also leads the running group on two- to six-mile runs within Mauna Lani Resort on Friday mornings.

Rouelle organizes hiking outings one Sunday each month. The half-day expeditions began in Sept. with a hike on Puu Oo Volcano Trail near Hilo. Eleven people attended.

Team Bodhi also holds weekly yoga classes in a store space at The Shops at Mauna Lani and tai chi in the courtyard outside the restaurant. Zumba classes will be added on Tuesdays beginning in Nov. and all activities are free and open to the public. Optional donations are accepted and given to local charities.

Charity Events

Beyond the classes, Rouelle aims to raise at least $1,000 for one select non-profit organization each month. To do so, he holds a monthly fundraiser dinner at the restaurant, and each time a diner purchases the “Charity Deal of the Day” special on the menu $1 is donated to that month’s charity.

Team Bodhi also sponsors anyone interested in running in a 5k/10k race by paying their entrance fees and providing registration. For the Run for Hope 5K/10K in Sept., they sponsored 17 participants. Among the sponsors are Club Rehab, Hawaii Kombucha, Foster Law Offices, Big Island Running Co. and Kona Impact.

Even Rouelle participated in another race on Oct. 4, his first 5K. “It was fun to get out and support Peoples Advocacy for Trails (PATH), a great charity for Hawaii Island,” he says.

Nakamura adds, “We have a different race selected for every month over the next year for 12 different charities that are local, support kids or something physically active.”

In Oct., the charity is Friend of the Library in Waikoloa.

Within the restaurant, employees have created a new “Sweat Wall” to display team photos of participants at the classes and events. Future ideas also include group swims and keiki fitness activities.

“The ultimate goal is to host a race,” Rouelle says. “We hope this serves as a model for all businesses.”

For more information on Team Bodhi group activities go to or call Tiffany at 895-2053.

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