The Trauma Recovery Institute

What is 5Rhythms Dance

The 5Rhythms comprise a simple movement practice designed to release the dancer that lives in everybody, no matter what its shape, size, age, limitations and experience. To find your dance is to find yourself, at you’re most fluid and creative level. While the practice itself is the essence of simplicity, it has the power to catalyze deep healing and creative expression. The primary teaching of this work is: If you put the psyche in motion, it will heal itself. To start with, the music for flowing should be slowish, grounded, internal – allowing you to let the dance in and connect with yourself. For staccato, find something with a beat that will let your hips groove and the breath out. For chaos, the top of the wave, something faster, something to shake out to and let it all go. In lyrical the music could be light, joyous, trancey. And ending in stillness…its a moving stillness so choose music that has the spirit of stillness within it – sometimes classical music can be beautiful to dance too. These 5 Rhythms come together to create the Wave, a movement meditation practice. Rather than having steps to follow, each rhythms is a different energy field in which you find your own expression and choreography, thereby stretching your imagination as well as your body. Each rhythm is a teacher, and you can expect to meet different and sometimes unknown aspects of yourself as your dance unfolds and your practice of the rhythms deepens over time.


“I have come to drag you out of yourself and take you in my heart I have come to bring out the beauty you never know you had and lift you like a prayer to the sky.” ~Rumi


Flowing,  Earth, Let it in, Receptive, Fluid, Flexible, Grounded & Nurturing

 “God writes spiritual mysteries on our hearts, where they wait silently for discovery.” —Rumi

Flowing is 
the root of the dance, the beginning, allowing ourselves to be danced by letting life in
awakening the feet to take fluid instinctive steps, receptive listening, attending to our needs, embracing continuous circling spiraling momentum, 
fear & courage, 
Mother & birth, 
the Earth, 
physical body, our flesh blood and bones, embodying the power of being.
Rivers flow along in a continuous stream of movement; day follows night as night follows day; trees allow their roots to spread out into the earth in order that they can grow up strong and well supported. Flowing is a state of continuous movement, of being fluid, flexible and rooted.  Flowing movements are rounded and fluid with lots of curves and circles, which have no definable beginnings or ends. It is the rhythm of being grounded, earthed and attuned to oneself and others.
In flowing we learn how to “go with the flow” and not to build our lives around resisting or wishing things were different. We learn to tune into our own needs and instincts, knowing when we are tired, hungry, happy, sad, bored or lonely. The shadow side of flowing is apathy, inertia and at its darkest, depression.
Staccato, Fire, Let it out, Expressive, Manifestation, Clarity, Power & Truth

“In your light I learn how to love, in your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.” —Rumi

Staccato is the home of the percussive beat that shapes us in a thousand different expressive ways 
hips & heart
, anger & forgiveness
, Father & childhood, 
fire, creative shape, line, form, structure 
definitive and expressive, clarity, boundaries, communication, creative action 
focusing the power of passionate living.
Rocks have shape, mountains rise up with confidence from the earth’s core, sunrises and sunsets fill the skies with fiery red glows. Staccato is a percussive, pulsing beat. The movements are clear and definite and flexible. Staccato is active, not just being, taking action, not just thinking about it. Staccato knows our limits, draws boundaries, makes and keeps commitments. Staccato is makes plans and carries them out. In staccato we have the confidence to state our opinions and to follow our heart’s desire. Staccato supports us in being centered and paying focused attention. The shadow side of staccato is rigidity, being right all the time. At its worst it is the autocratic dictator.
Chaos, Water, Let it go, Surrender, Freedom, Release, Unpredictable & Shake it out

 “Doing as others told me, I was blind. Coming when others called me, I was lost. Then I left everyone, myself as well. Then I found everyone, myself as well.” ~Rumi

Chaos is the dynamic fusion of fluidity and focus into a freestyle intuitive way of being, emptying out of the busy thinking mind
, sadness & release
, Self & adolescence, 
, spontaneous, catalytic, unpredictable wildness, 
, dropping in to the power of knowing.
Waves break as they come to the shore; waterfalls are created when water lets go down small and large cracks in the earth; leaves fall from the trees in the autumn as a way to allow new growth to happen. When the rhythms of flowing and staccato collide they create the rhythm of chaos. Chaos embodies a deep sense of relaxation. We cannot ‘do’ chaos or use effort in chaos. Chaos is about letting go and emptying out, releasing whatever it is that holds us back from being free spirits.
Chaos supports us to let go of people when they die, of relationships when they fall apart, of emotions when they threaten to destroy us, of thoughts when they sabotage us, and of memories when they hold us back. In chaos we learn how to get beneath our logical, rational mind into our deep intuitive mind. It allows us to dance our own dance without being concerned with what others think of us. It is the gateway to real freedom. The shadow side of chaos is confusion and at its worst, destruction.
Lyrical, Air, Let it happen ( let go of letting go ), Effortless, Spacious, Creativity, Discovery & Lighten up

 Silence is the root of everything. If you spiral into its void, a hundred voices will thunder messages you long to hear. ~Rumi

Lyrical is the part of us that is part of everything 
beyond the finger tips, joy, effortless delight & gratitude, 
world & maturity, 
, disappearing into the luxury of lightening up into our own unique, liberated imagination, 
connection, community, creative offering, service, 
expansive, shape shifter, theater of the soul
, gateway into trance, the deep awakened states of expanded consciousness, 
opening to the power of seeing.
Flowers appear in the cracks of rocks; light shines through clouds in wondrous formations; daffodils appear even on dull, dark windswept days. Lyrical is the rhythm of air. It comes in the aftermath of chaos. If we truly let go in chaos of our physical resistance, our emotional baggage, our attachment to our thoughts we begin to lighten up and the rhythm of lyrical moves through our bodies. Lyrical movements are spacious, light and airy.
Lyrical is the rhythm where we learn the deep meaning of acceptance of the present moment and the profound joy that can come from that acceptance. We learn to make space for all that can happen in our lives without the need to control each experience. We learn the lessons of impermanence, where nothing stays the same for very long. We come to realise that the only thing we can rely on is change. In the shadow side of lyrical, we run the risk of getting caught up in our fantasy or daydream or need to escape that we disconnect from our bodies and become spaced out.
Stillness, Ether, Let it be, Spirit, Emptiness, Reverence, Integration & Returning home

“Every thought is buried in your Heart. He will reveal them one by one in silence.” – Rumi

Stillness is all the rhythms converge in the vital resonance of silence
we move in stillness…. we are still inside motion…. into the mystery, 
the body becomes a vessel for prayer
, breath, 
Compassion & connection, 
Spirit & death, 
, poetry in motion, 
embodied presence, 
awakening the power of healing.
The mountain forms a perfect reflection in the still water; silence allows the inherent sounds of nature e.g. bird song, to be clearly heard. Stillness is the rhythm of slowing down, pausing, stopping. We focus our attention on the ebb and flow of our breath and the beat of our heart. We learn to explore the silence within and without. We access the lessons of stillness: wisdom, compassion and empathy. Stillness is the rhythm where we truly ‘see’. We stop so we can feel our feelings, hear our thoughts and see how we are actually living our lives. The shadow side of stillness is being numb, cold and cut off from our feelings and life force.


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