University of Hawaii

MMS Faculty

R. Makana Risser Chai, J.D.

Ms. Makana Risser Chai is the author of the book, Be Fit in No Time: Transform Your Body, Mind, Heart & Spirit with Mindful Multitasking. It’s about doing exercise while you’re doing something else, so it takes no extra time. She is an attorney who changed her life 20 years ago and became a licensed massage therapist, a certified Stress and Wellness Consultant by the Canadian Institute of Stress, a Forgiveness Facilitator with the Stanford Forgiveness Project, a Pilates exercise instructor, and a teacher of yoga and meditation. She taught Pilates and yoga to seniors at Kailua District Park four times a week from 2002-2010.

Prior to moving to Hawai‘i, she graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, practiced law in Silicon Valley and founded a training company. From 1987 to 2000, she taught HR law compliance training classes in 38 states for organizations, such as: DuPont Corporation, Blue Cross, and Oracle. Her fun, engaging style led her classes to be consistently rated in the top 1% of courses offered by her clients, which typically mandated her program for all managers. She taught at Santa Clara University and the University of California, Santa Cruz. In Hawai‘i, she has taught Public Speaking at Hawai‘i Pacific University and has presented her well-being programs to the AARP, the Plaza at Punchbowl, Pohai Nani, Kahala Nui, University of Hawai‘i Hilo School of Pharmacy, University of Hawai‘i Kapi‘olani College Massage Program, Heisei University Honolulu, and the University of Hawai‘i School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene.

As a heart patient, she is an advocate for self-care with nutrition and movement. For fun, she works out four times a week and enjoys hiking and museums with her husband, Mark Chai, a well-known artist. She has performed improv and stand-up comedy and loves to laugh. She attends the Honolulu Friends Meeting (Quakers) and meditates daily. Her role model is her mother, who at 91 has a morning exercise routine, then walks several miles a day and swims laps regularly.

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