5 Rhythms

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

5Rhythms is a movement meditation practice devised by Gabrielle Roth in the 1960s. It draws from many indigenous and world traditions using tenets of shamanistic, ecstatic, mystical and eastern philosophy. It also draws from Gestalt, the human potential movement and transpersonal psychology.[1] Fundamental to the practice is the idea that everything is energy, and moves in waves, patterns and rhythms. Roth describes the practice as a soul journey, and says that by moving the body, releasing the heart, and freeing the mind, one can connect to the essence of the soul, the source of inspiration in which an individual has unlimited possibility and potential.

5Rhythms is a trademark owned by Gabrielle Roth, and the practice is only taught by certified teachers.


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 lead the pace of the class, or simply teaching by example. 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).

Weekly sessions are often referred to as a way for people to “Sweat Their Prayers”, and most typical students consider the practice a form of “church” or “temple”, although the practice is not directly linked to any particular single religious movement. It has been described by some as a mixture of a Sunday Morning Gospel Service, a Friday Night Dance Club and a Saturday Morning Aerobics class. 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.

Join the tribe

Facebook Click for Melbourne 5 Rhythms group |  Click for international “Sweat your prayers” group

Melbourne classes are $15 and held at:

Tuesday with Meredith Davies 7:30 – 9:30 pm @ St Brigid’s Parish, cnr Nicholson and Alexander parade, Fitzroy (Thursday with Madhuma Thompson 7:30 -9:30PM
St John’s Anglican Church 86 Clendon Rd Toorak
(Cnr of Orrong & Toorak Rd)
Tram No 8, Bus No 37

Sunday “Sweat Your Prayers” sessions for the remainder of 2011 are;

Sept.4, Oct 9th, Nov 13th and Dec 11th.
10:30AM – 12:30PM $ 15. at Abbotsford Convent, St Helier’s St, Abbotsford

NB: Bravo Charlie has no official link to 5 rhythms, Gabrielle Roth or the trademarks aside from being a dedicated participant and a true believer in the words of the founder, that if you only set people in motion, they will heal themselves.

Video content for you

I ask..  “If you haven’t danced yet..   then what the.. did you come for?” 🙂

Here is a short video Bravo Charlie filmed for Deva Nandan;


The text ‘Maps to Ecstasy’ by Gabrielle Roth (available on Amazon here) stands alongside Chogyam Trungpa’s Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior as something quite special.

Gabrielle Roths Maps to Ecstasy: The healing power of movement

They are soulful, truthful, instructional, inspirational and easily digestible books and highly recommended;

Companions, gifts for new minds, comfort for the twilight years, bibles for a lover and maybe part of the true ‘secret’ that we have known all along.

Please comment and let folks know if you get any benefit from dancing or the books 🙂

– Philip Bateman

Add your thoughts

One Response

  1. Gabrielle’s other book “Sweat your prayers” is also very good.  Easy to read, resonates with the heart, makes you want to dance 🙂

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