Core Training for Boomers

In Core Training for Boomers, Marko Kowalski coaches Pat Gardner (l) and Marilyn Axtell (r). Photo by Anne E. O’Malley

by Anne E. O’Malley

Spending an hour in Core Fitness for Boomers class with Marko Kowalski is like zizzing around the globe, as pithy remarks and quotes from leading scientific and medical sources, balanced with ancient Chinese and Japanese proverbs tumble from his lips. And always, always, there is his admonishment to “listen to what your body tells you; if it’s painful, stop.”

From a Harvard study, students learn that the body recreates two to three billion cells regularly, that we shed them regularly and can “throw away” the dead stuff; that we cannot pick a flower without affecting the constellations, and more. He’s got 42 years of physical training and a seemingly unlimited database of applicable information that he weaves into his classes.

Marko Kowalski

Marko Kowalski teaches TRI-Hara Holistic Fitness. Photo by Anne E. O’Malley

In all of his TRI-Hara Holistic Fitness classes — Core Training for Boomers is but one — Kowalski brings influence from each discipline he has learned over the years — yoga, tai chi, meditation, karate, aikido, shintaido, and laughing yoga.

Kowalski explains TRI-Hara this way. “It stands for Trust, Release and Integrate, while ‘hara’ is the stomach, the place where energy originates from.”

Kowalski’s path to founding TRI-Hara began as a pre-adolescent growing up in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“It was a tough neighborhood,” says Kowalski, retaining the slightest hint of a New Jersey accent. “I initially started karate and judo to learn to defend myself, because I would get beat up. I used to fight a lot when I was a kid.

Paving the path toward TRI-Hara, was gradual, through the practice of yoga, tai chi and meditation. Teaching came naturally, from leading 30 kids in sessions when he was only a kid himself, with a brown belt in karate — now it’s black.

“I think I was born to be a teacher,” says Kowalski.

“I was learning at a very young age to teach and didn’t know that was what I was doing.”

He turned to macrobiotics, learning food prep at the Kushi Institute in Boston, and welcomed aikido into his life, “More of a way of harmony,” he says.

The places — east and west coasts; the work — U.S. Navy, three Karate studios he operated in New Jersey, more on the west coast; and experience teaching all ages of students have all made him a sum of his experiences.

Kowalski likens Tri-Hara to a buffet.

“Depending on what you feel that day, those are the movements you need to do to bring body and mind into wellness, balance, wholeness,” he says.

Says Kowalski, “In TRI-Hara Holistic Fitness, our aim is to strengthen our body while creating more flexibility so that the chi, the living life force, can flow uninhibited through our being.

“It relates to having an open mind, the heart being generous and compassionate; and physically, being flexible and strong. It truly is a gift you give yourself and others.”

He adds, “When we feel this sense of well being, we have so much more to offer our friends, family, loved ones and the community.”

TRI-Hara will offer a special playshop, “Embrace the Infinite,” on Saturday, Dec. 15, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Children of the Land in Kaua`i Village. The fee is $30  with pre-registration online at; or $40 at the door.

Twenty different sessions of TRI-Hara Holistic Fitness, each one 15 minutes in length, air daily on Ho`ike Community Television, Channel 54, at 7 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. TRI-Hara training DVDs are available for purchase online at

For a full list of TRI-Hara Holistic Fitness classes, check online at For more information, e-mail or call 808-212-6228