Welcome! The 5Rhythms is a movement meditation and, as with other meditation forms, the quality of our experience depends on the quality of attention we bring to our practice. The following points will help get you started, and help us all create and nurture a space for deep practice.
Keep moving. As we move, we stir things up; you may hit patches of fatigue, boredom, frustration, or discomfort. Even if you can only wiggle a finger or nod your head to the beat, you can stay with that until something changes. Movement opens the door to the alchemy of this practice.
Pace yourself. No matter what the rest of the room is doing, honour your own energy level so you don’t get exhausted. By allowing yourself to rest in the beat when you need to, you’ll be ready to ride the next wave of energy when it comes. Respect your body’s needs and limitations; there’s no need to push.
Stay present with what’s happening for you. As with any meditative practice, you will have to deal with distractions. You may have the sudden urge to admire the décor or find a partner NOW or otherwise get away from yourself. (This is a great place to map those escape routes- and we’ve all got them.) Just notice when you get distracted and gently, consistently, keep bringing your attention back to the dance.
Release your expectations. You might be ready to play tonight, but what if no one else is in the mood? What happens when you have a hankering for a certain kind of experience – and the teacher (or your body) has other plans? We might prefer dancing to our favourite song, in our favourite outfit, with our favourite partner, but holding onto ideas of “how it should be” – and rejecting anything else – cuts us off from what is actually moving in the moment.
It’s not just about the music. The teacher uses music to catalyze and support what’s happening on the dance floor. While a certain exercise or piece of music may evoke strong ideas or emotions for you, how you respond is up to you: whatever comes up, use it as fuel for your dance. The music is simply a platform for your practice. You don’t have to love it – just keep moving, and respond.
Practice respect. Is your partner sending signals that he/she needs a bit more space? A bit more connection? Do people have to dance around you or tune you out while you stop for a chat on the dance floor? Are you endangering anyone? Mindfulness – in relation to Self, to others, and to the whole group – is an integral piece of this practice.
Stretch. If you always keep to yourself, you might try including others in your dance. Or, if you are constantly on the prowl for a partner, maybe it’s time to try ‘going solo.’ Slow down -or speed up- and see what happens. Experiment with different ways of moving, and ways of being still. This practice can stretch us in so many ways – and move us, if we allow it to, into places we’ve never been before.
Please * no scents or perfumes * no socks or street shoes * no intoxicants * no chatting on the dance floor *
Joanne Winstanley, www.danceherenow.
Used with permission; all rights reserved.