How 5Rhythms Saved My Life
Updated: Mar 31
First, let's start off with me explaining what 5Rhythms is. Disclaimer. I'm a dedicated student of the 5Rhythms practice and have been for 4+ years. I'm not a certified 5Rhythms facilitator but I'm working towards it.
The 5Rhythms is a movement meditation practice developed by Gabrielle Roth in the 1970s. It is a form of ecstatic dance that involves moving through five different rhythms or phases of movement as a way to connect with the body and access a deeper sense of self. There are several pieces of literature, retreats, and resources where you can learn more about the 5Rhythms and how to dance and live amongst them.
In summary, here is a brief explanation of the five rhythms.
The five rhythms are:
Flowing: In this rhythm, the focus is on fluid, continuous movements. The goal is to let go of tension and resistance and allow the body to move freely.
Staccato: This rhythm is characterized by sharp, precise movements. The focus is on exploring boundaries and finding clarity and definition in movement.
Chaos: In this rhythm, the focus is on letting go of control and allowing the body to move in unexpected ways. The goal is to break down patterns and explore new possibilities.
Lyrical: This rhythm is characterized by light, playful movements. The focus is on finding joy and creativity in movement and expressing oneself freely.
Stillness: In this rhythm, the focus is on finding inner calm and stillness. The goal is to connect with the body and breath and experience a sense of peace and grounding.
The 5Rhythms practice is often done in a group setting with music as a guide. Participants are encouraged to explore each rhythm without judgment or expectation, allowing the body to move freely and expressively. The practice is often described as a way to access a deeper sense of self, release tension and stress, and connect with others in a nonverbal way.
How 5 Rhythms saved my life?
I won't share the details of my life story, tough childhood, abandonment and personal traumas in this article but I will say this. My first weeklong 5Rhythms retreat at Esalen saved my life. It helped me find my divine essence at a stronger, clearer and more confident level. It cracked me open, forced me into submission of acceptance, and gave me hope and strength to believe in myself and better honor myself. And I have been in this frequent state of inquiry, curiosity, compassion and divine exploration since. I'm now a forever student. At my first 5Rhythms workshop, I was so lucky to be facilitated and taught by the amazing Lucia Horan. She probably doesn't know the enormous impact she had on me and the ripple effect she's had on others through me. Lucia's teachings are unbelievable and highly recommended. After my first 5Rhythms retreat, I scheduled another weeklong one at Esalen.
First weeklong 5Rhythms retreat:
The Path of The Wounded Healer: A 5Rhythms® Heartbeat & Mindfulness Retreat
Holy shit. This was the start, jumping into the deep end, drowning for a quick second, scared to death and then finding myself reborn as a big wave surfer, renewed, confident, and alive. The beautiful masculine beast of the man inside me was found and unleashed, ready for the world to experience and be protected by. Through Lucia's amazing facilitation, I learned and entered the healing path trajectory. As a group, a tribe, we discussed and moved through the five stages of healing as the victim, the survivor, the healer, the transformer and eventually the one who arrives in compassionate service. She shared and taught Gabrielle Roth's living wisdom and passed on the gifts. This retreat spotlighted deep wounds around my abusive father and mother, terrible betrayals, loneliness, battled my fears, anxieties, my discomfort around both women and men, being able to feel safe and trust humans, and forced me to lean in towards anger, grief to achieve forgiveness, love and understand joy. My feet were worn out, wrapped in tape after the first day only to be gifted with more dancing, stomping, jumping, skipping, warrior movements and release without concern — only pure magical reward.
Birth, Life, Death. I'm alive.
Second weeklong 5Rhythms retreat:
Maps to Ecstasy: 5Rhythms® & Mindfulness Workshop
This retreat helped me navigate my way out of resistance, turmoil, and items that had been holding me back. It was also just a ton of fun. It supported healthy change. I enjoyed a week of learning, Dharma talks, movement, seated meditation, sharing, tears, vulnerability and my body's primal howls at the moon through dance and expression. It increased my appreciation and gratitude for myself and others and expanded myself into elevated consciousness and satori.
And since then, I've been to four additional 5 Rhythm workshops/retreats, danced weekly, and become more integrated with local conscious dance communities. This has also called me to invest deeply in the Ecstatic Dance community to offer and co-create space for others to heal, play and dance — through love for music, dance, and spiritual healing. As James Brown said, "Almost everything can be solved with dancing."
"When we dance, the chains of the past break, the chains of the future break, our little ego is shhhh'd. And then, only then, brilliant lightness and clarity arrives in the present moment — honoring our soul, gifting us nourishment and releasing our divine primal spirit. It's delicious." - Minus the DJ