Healing movement | Gabrielle Roth
Gabrielle Roth was a dancer in her twenties and then spent ten years of her life teaching movement to children, elders, people-at-risk, and the disabled. This was the very beginning of the development of her quite famous approach to movement called 5Rhythms.
What stood behind the development and the relation to my work
“Every day I was discovering that if you just set people in motion, they’ll heal themselves.”
Gabrielle Roth describes in her book "Maps to Ecstasy: A Healing Journey for the Untamed Spirit" (2011) that she just trusted her intuition over the course of the years. She didn’t have a structure, method or system she followed.
When somebody asked her what she was doing in life back then she even felt insecure because she couldn’t put a name on it. She needed to improvise her answer every time. She writes
“To find my voice, I still had to put the pieces together inside of me and learn to welcome my power”
I can relate to this so much. I feel this about my work. Systemic Nature Therapy is not something that people know or are familiar with. This makes it hard to describe and even for me to grasp it sometimes. But exactly there lays the beauty of it as well!!
If you still want to learn more about Nature therapy, here I´ve tried to describe it.
I know that I’m doing something that is really me. I haven’t chosen the easiest path but it’s my own path. There is not one big path to follow for me - I need to find my own route and I love it, even though it’s really hard sometimes.
I love to guide people in a non directive way. I love to not be bound to certain methods and concepts. I love to be surprised by what people make out of invitations for practices I suggest. I love that I’m doing something that comes from a place that feels very authentic. I love to see what my work does to the people that trust me to guide them.
5Rhythms combines elements of dance, movement therapy, and mindfulness
5Rhythms, developed by Gabrielle Roth in the 1970s, is based on the idea that movement can be used as a form of self-expression and personal exploration, a way to connect people with their bodies and their inner selves. The practice combines elements of dance, movement therapy, and mindfulness and involves moving through five different rhythms: flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical, and stillness. She found that those 5 rhythms can describe all of our life.
It is designed to help individuals connect with their bodies, emotions, and inner selves. Roth drew inspiration from a variety of sources, including indigenous cultures, modern dance, and spiritual traditions.
The flowing rhythm is characterized by smooth, fluid movement, starting from the feet. No beginning, no end. Each movement gives birth to the next. Everything is round, soft, absorbing, receiving. Everything in this dance flows - heavy, warm, pulsating like the magma inside the earth. It is meant to help you connect with your body and release any tension or blockages.
The staccato rhythm is characterized by sharp, sudden movements, like a heartbeat. We connect the feet with the hips. Here we seek articulation, clarity and definition in the dance. It is meant to help access your power and express your inner fire.
The chaos rhythm is characterized by wild, unpredictable movement. It is meant to help you let go of control and surrender to the present moment. We give ourselves freedom of thought - freedom from thoughts. We allow the head to move over feet and hips. We allow it to go round so that thought can change direction. This dance cleanses the mind like a shower under a mountain waterfall.
The lyrical rhythm is characterized by fluid, expressive movement, like a bird in flight. You can connect with your emotions and express yourself creatively. We give away what we have (learned). We dance our maturity, we dance joy. Air is the element in the lyrical, the hands are the lively means of expression of the body in movement.
The stillness rhythm can be delicate and inward, the gentle quivering of the begging bowl that the mind has become. It can also be ecstatic, fast, unpredictable, free from all conventions and expectations. And everything in between. Connect with your inner wisdom and find inner peace. Doing nothing, leaving nothing is the mantra in this rhythm. Stillness means breath in movement.
The body and movement are integral parts of my work
5Rhythms dance is something I’m practicing and taking time to experience regularly. It’s a practice of being in my body — which ignites belonging, connection, and trust. Our body holds so much wisdom and has so many answers for us. If we just find a space to listen.
It is a holistic practice that can have a positive impact on mental, physical, and emotional well-being. It is a powerful tool to connect with our own body and emotions, to let go of limiting beliefs, and to cultivate a deeper sense of self-awareness, aliveness and embodiment.
Movement, music and dance play a big role in my retreats and other offerings. I love to explore what is present in our bodies and what wants to be expressed or released. To do this outdoors in a natural space is even more powerful because there is the possibility of an additional connection with this certain space and all the elements around us.
JOURNEY TO YOURSELF
~ a Sea & Desert retreat in Egypt
Healing through connecting with your inner & outer nature, movement and being in community.
Discogs (o.J.): Gabrielle Roth & The Mirrors – Selected Works 1985-2005. https://www.discogs.com/de/release/17793292-Gabrielle-Roth-The-Mirrors-Selected-Works-1985-2005 (accessed: 25.01.2023).
Roth, Gabrielle (2008): Gabrielle Roth - The Wave Dance. Sounds True. https://youtu.be/8cYYzcTzm6Y (accessed: 22.01.2023).
Roth, Gabrielle (2011): Maps to Ecstasy: A Healing Journey for the Untamed Spirit. New World Library.
Schulz, Tom R.(2022): 5rhythmen mit Tom R. Schulz in Hamburg. https://5rhythmentom.de (accessed: 22.01.2023).
5Rhythms (o.J.) 5Rhythms Cosmology. https://www.5rhythms.com/gabrielle-roths-5rhythms/5rhythms-cosmology/ (accessed: 25.01.2023).