Movement

  • 5Rhythms: A Call to Dance!

    Woman Dancing

    Written by Alexa Frey

     

    Mindfulness can be practiced in many different ways. Not just by sitting on a cushion. Dance is one of the many ways we can practice and it is indeed a very fun and beautiful one.

     

    The most widely-known mindful dance practice is the 5Rhythms approach to movement meditation, which was founded by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s. As a practice it is very much about about being in our bodies as they are being put into motion, while at the same time allowing the mind to quieten.

    Teachers of 5Rhythms offer a gently guided framework for exploring our inner world and outer experience, creating a "dynamic movement practice ... that ignites creativity, connection, and community." Here are a few ways in which this beautiful practice can enrich our lives and our mindfulness practice.

     

    Connecting with the Body

    As we dance, we naturally connect with our bodies. Moving to the beat, we might feel our feet on the ground, our arms swinging through the air, our head shifting back and forth. We might notice that our shoulders feel tense and start loosening them up through movement. We notice our body, the pleasant and the unpleasant, the tingly sensations and the drum in our hearts. The mind quietens, and we become present.

     

    Moving Through Emotions

    Emotions arise in every dance, as they do in every day life. Just as we move consciously, we notice our emotions with more awareness. We might notice that our belly feels cramped from anger, or that our chest feels heavy from sadness, or we notice an expansive feeling of joy spreading out from our head. During a 5Rhythms session, we get to know our emotions, we move with them, shake with them, we breathe through them and we move. We just keep moving.

     

    Processing Trauma

    Each of us carries trauma in our minds and bodies. As we live, we experience trauma. Trauma tends to send us into fight, flight, freeze, and sometimes even into faint. Through the dance, as we move, we make contact with our trauma.

    We might notice that at times our bodies want to freeze in response to a negative thought. Or that we want to grab our phone and text an angry message to a friend. As we dance with the rhythms we notice such impulses and we … keep moving. We move with and through our trauma with self-kindness and acceptance.

     

    States of Transcendence

    As we dance, there might be times when we completely loose ourselves in the dance. In those moments, we might tap into something bigger and experience a sense of interconnectedness and love for the earth, the animals and our fellow human beings.

    At other times, we might clearly see one of our destructive and painful patterns so clearly, that we dance and break through it. Or we might just simply become fully present in our bodies as the present moment just unravels beneath our dancing feet.

     

    Community

    As we dance with our fellow beautiful dancers, we connect. Even if we don’t want to talk to anyone, we can connect through dancing. Maybe just by observing another dancer for a while, maybe by smiling at another dancer and sometimes we choose share a dance with another dancer.

     

    Being in Dance

    As we dance, we don’t have to achieve anything. We don’t have to dance well. We don’t have to look good. We don’t have to be good. We don’t have to dance the way our internal judge might think should be dancing. In the 5Rhythms dance we dance the way our bodies want to move. Moment by moment. We are free.

     

    Dance Is Always Possible

    Dancing is always possible. On some days we might be too weak or tired to fully move. On those days we might just lay on the floor with our legs up the wall tapping our feet against the wall.

    On other days we might feel like giving our bodies a good stretch before we start fully moving to the beats. At other times we feel full of energy and bounce around throughout the whole dance. There’s no pressure during the 5Rhythms.

     

    I have been doing the online 5Rhythms dances with Sue Rickards for the past year and a half during lockdown and have experienced her teaching to be hugely transformative. She is an absolutely unique and wonderful teacher. She makes everybody feel welcome, and embodies pure presence, acceptance and kindness.

    Sue's online dance groups over Zoom take place every Tuesday and Sunday evenings (UK time). Everyone is welcome and you can join by registering directly through the 'A Call to Dance' website.  

     

    Find out more about Mindfulness Project's courses, workshops and drop-in sessions.

     

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