The 5Rhythms® movement meditation practice has been my primary spiritual practice for over twenty years and in 2004 I trained with the late Gabrielle Roth to become a teacher. In 2013 after several years of teaching the Waves (‘physical embodiment’) level of the practice, I trained with Gabrielle’s son Jonathan Horan to teach at the Heartbeat level, the path of emotional embodiment.
Both levels offer an extraordinary path of embodiment and liberation from our fictitious self. Through consistent practice we develop an increasing level of ease with all of life’s ups and downs through widening our ability to move, breathe and travel through all that life presents.
As in life there are three levels of relationship that exist on the dance floor: the relationship with self, with another and with the group, and in the practice of 5Rhythms® all three levels offer us unlimited opportunities for expanding our capacity for life and embracing the freedom that is offered to us in each moment. Our bodies by definition are limited, yet it is through these very limitations that we experience our unlimited nature. The secret is to offer the thinking mind to the moving body as we harness our intention to let the dance take over.
The first rhythm of flow is the rhythm of experience, in which any judgement is replaced by the physical experience of the continuously moving body. This dance is then invited into natural physical expression and relationship (with the space, partners and group) in the second rhythm of staccato.
In all the rhythms we naturally allow our dance the space and permission to grow, change and explore itself. Through the practice of stepping out of the way, we allow the body and breath to find their way to an entirely natural and experiential sense of liberation that the mind simply cannot access. There may arise the habit to hold on through intensified thinking, unnecessary judgement or subtle sabotage of the process, but through consistent practice we get to witness and welcome our transformation and the transformation of our relationships and connections both on and off the dance floor.
The surrender of the thinking mind to the moving body is specifically welcomed in the third rhythm of chaos which for many years was Gabrielle’s favourite. If we have truly experienced the physicality of the body through our flow, and expressed it wholeheartedly through our staccato, we are ready to offer the body to the bigger perspective in a way that is safe and effective. If we have practiced in a way that respects the body’s natural limitations, we’ll be better prepared for the great freedom that the rhythm of chaos brings.
In chaos we hold onto nothing. We let the skin shed until we fall naturally into the fourth rhythm of lyrical. In lyrical we are no longer bound by any sense of limitation. It is here that we rediscover the body as pure creativity in motion. The dance then transforms and transfigures into the fifth rhythm of stillness, the placeless place from which we get to experience the profound connectivity of all things. It is here that we allow all sensation to naturally be consumed into the consciousness that creates and connects us all. In stillness there is no question that our nature is freedom itself.
The benefits of touching into this freedom are immense. Permission is absolutely key, so we always begin where we are: perhaps stiff and achy, maybe heartbroken; perhaps vibrant, excited, even ecstatic. By being true to how we are in each moment we inspire each other into a greater authenticity and natural originality; and when we align with our inner groove, whatever it looks like, we align with the natural process of change.
We know in our heart that everything always changes, but we cannot deny that sometimes in life things feel stuck. In the dance we get to gently nurture these parts into physical, mental and emotional fluidity again. We offer our breath to the whole experience, thereby giving the process increased transformational potential.
The benefits of dancing 5Rhythms are countless and intimately entwined with the process of human evolution, so long as we remain dancing! We become more spontaneous, alive and trusting of our ability to open up to exciting new ways of being in the world.
The practice is open to anyone who has a willingness to align with the natural process of transformation.
“The last 5Rhythms workshop I attended with Francis still plays out in my bones. The intimate and safely-held space allowed for deep release, connection and unraveling. I walked in feeling all tangled and knotted up, and felt supported in the space through Francis’ gentle invitations, through others in the space and through the inspiring music to gradually untangle and open up into a honey-melting, tender, raw and open ocean of heart space… my heart felt so tangible pulsing through my body, pulsing in the space itself- in fact there was no distinction between outside and in.. there was something sacred and ancestral in the air, it still gives me shivers.
I felt so grateful to be a part of it, to be alive and dancing, no matter how helpless things sometimes seem.
Thank you for holding the space beautifully Francis, Thank you to all who danced, Thank you universe, thank you breath of life.”
“During Francis’ session I danced blissfully, and in the beautiful space that opened up within me I had a realisation that has brought great richness to my life. He created a wonderful thing for the group – a great space to let yourself go, express, be, energise, meditate, dream, discover, expand. It was a great step along my journey.”
“I found the sessions you led to be a wonderful blend of earthy and ethereal, and you held the space with a tenderness and presence which I have rarely experienced. The result was an ecstatic and transformative experience. I do hope we will have the chance to meet again!”
“It is already a few weeks back but I just wanted to thank you for the sessions you lead at the Valentine’s weekend in Croydon Hall. It had been ages (like years and years) that I had done any 5 Rhythms and your music and guided meditation certainly took me through my body, allowing myself ‘to be danced’ – a bit of a trance – wonderful. If you had a class in London, I’d be a regular!”
“Our introduction to 5 Rhythms through your superb session could not have been better. We were a bit unsure before it started and were hoping it wasn’t going to be too ‘new age’. As it turned out, the approach you took was fabulous. The musical choices were varied and many, ranging from 70’s soul and R&B through to more electronic stuff and a few very mellow songs from beautiful singers. They all worked exactly with the moods you were trying to create and the energy you were tapping into. We also enjoyed the guidance you gave as we danced….not too intrusive and nicely timed to steer us in the right direction… …We’d recommend 5R’s to anyone of any age who wants to just dance and express themselves. It clearly doesn’t matter how fit you are nor whether you have any traditional dancing ability (we are in our 50’s and were able to do 2 hours without a real break, but could relax our pace when we felt like it). It’s a shame you aren’t local to us, but we have started looking for other sessions and will be attending one on Saturday (hope it’s as good as yours).”