5Rhythms – Gabrielle Roth

The practice focuses on putting the body in motion in order to still the mind and allow the student to connect to the spiritual. The five rhythms (in order) are:

  • flowing
  • staccato
  • chaos
  • lyrical
  • stillness

The five rhythms, when danced in sequence, are known as a “Wave.” Many students practice the discipline in weekly classes, during which a typical “Wave” can take 45–90 minutes to dance, spending 10–20 minutes in each of the 5 rhythms in sequence. The dance is usually allowed to express itself with minimal instruction, with the teacher allowing the music (DJ’ed or live) to guide the pace of the class, coming in with instruction to connect the group, deepen focus and expand the range of movement. Intensive workshops are also offered for students, ranging from a single day to week long retreats, during which time teachers and students more deeply and purposefully explore each of the five rhythms, identifying how they relate to the individual (the body, the mind, the personality, the soul).

There are also untaught sessions referred to as a way for people to “Sweat Their Prayers”, and for some students their weekly practice becomes their “church” or “temple”,their place of spiritual expression; although the practice has no dogma and is not linked to any particular religious movement. It has been described by some as a mixture of a Friday Night Dance Club a Saturday Morning Aerobics class and a Sunday Morning Gospel Service. Elements from the following (varied) list can most likely be experienced or witnessed at any given class: traditional dance, ballet, pop, Latin, aerobics, yoga, tai chi, reiki, meditation, shamantic chanting… The practice includes a number of maps from which students can draw and use during guided meditation.

By putting the body in motion through each of the rhythms it is believed that one can deepen one’s understanding of natural truth and the nature of humanity, and ‘ground’ the mind (and spirit) by connecting back to the body

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