What Is 5Rhythms®?

Debra Durkee

Dance and movement can be used as a therapeutic practice, and 5Rhythms® allows an individual to get in touch with the most basic elements of the world around her. It is built on the principle that a series of patterns exist throughout life, from a mother's heartbeat to waves in the ocean. These rhythms are divided into five different types, and individuals are taught how to channel the energy they create. The process was originally developed by Gabrielle Roth, who taught the rhythms in hopes of introducing individuals to a new self within.

The 5Rhythms® technique purportedly opens deep meditative channels in the body.
The 5Rhythms® technique purportedly opens deep meditative channels in the body.

The process is freeform dance and movement, while stressing the five different types of rhythm found throughout nature and the human body. Chaos, stillness, lyrical, staccato, and flowing are taught, with individuals instructed to perform the rhythms as they are felt instead of in a particular, formal way. One of the main ideas behind 5Rhythms® is channeling movement as a form of meditation, without formal steps, routines, or a right or wrong way to perform.

When the 5Rhythms® dance movements are performed, the different rhythms allow individuals to connect with themselves and the world on various levels. The dance is about the rhythm rather than the movements themselves, and an individual will typically find herself performing her own personal dance. While most meditation is performed with the body still, moving the body along with the various rhythms can create a deep form of meditation that will open energies and allow the individual greater understanding of what exists inside her.

Chaos is defined as the wild and untamed behaviors within us and the world around us. Those in a chaotic, rhythmic state often do not know what movements will happen from one moment to the next, and while there are feelings of freedom evoked, it is impossible to recapture the exact movements or the way the individual got to that state. On the other end of the spectrum is stillness, where movements are slow and deliberate. In this state, the individual is aware of every movement of every muscle, as well as the feeling of the world through which she is moving.

The lyrical movements of 5Rhythms® are slow and flowing, often taking the form of repeated patterns. Dancing lyrical movements is likened to channeling the soul into a physical expression. Staccato is a representation of the fundamental pulsing beat that runs through and underneath everything, most commonly compared to a beating heart, and can be used to help channel the grounded, practical side. The fifth type of movement, flowing, represents the connection between the individual and nature through the energy that runs through all.

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