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Total Well-Being: Starting the Search
Gabrielle Roth

"Dance until you shatter yourself." Rumi.

"Working out should be like having a conversation with your body and spirit; it should be personal, intimate, and holy, not boring and painfully repetitive," says Gabrielle Roth, who practices what she preaches. An internationally renowned dance teacher, Roth has taught her form of ecstatic dance to thousands of people in settings as diverse as schools, hospitals, corporations, theaters, and growth centers. Her philosophy strives to marry the physical to the spiritual in a quest to liberate the body and the spirit. "I can make a dancer out of anybody because I know that deep down everyone is one. "Anyone who can walk can dance...but it does take doing."

Roth suggests dancing every day, even if you can only spare ten minutes. Over the years, she has identified five "rhythms of the soul." They offer a guide, but it is not important to dance them all. What matters most is to move. "A spiritual practice requires discipline, the willingness to show up not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well." Before choosing your music, rock easily on your own to get a feel for your mood, "whether it's up, down, edgy, excited or dreamy." Choose music that speaks to how you are feeling in the moment, and surrender to the dance with an attitude of prayer.

The Five Rhythms

  • Flowing is the state of being fluid, of hanging loose and being flexible. It's also very rooted. Michael Jordan playing basketball is the essence of flowing. In flowing, we learn how to be sensitive to our unique energy, to follow it and be true to it.
  • Staccato is a very percussive, passionate, fiery and angular type of dance. Where flowing is earth, staccato is all fire. This rhythm takes our experience, and puts it out there. It lets the dance out. In staccato, we learn how to listen to our hearts and honor our need to express our feelings.
  • Chaos is art! It is the rhythm of life itself. It's where the inhale and the exhale collide...where the feminine and the masculine come together. Chaos is where we get in touch with our whims, our impulses, our spontaneous poetic intelligence, and free them to move through our bodies and hearts.
  • Lyrical is the rhythm most connected to our souls. On the dance floor, it's where the dancer really discovers their style. In lyrical we have the freedom to keep shifting energies, so as to never get stuck in one possibility.
  • In stillness, we move into letting be whatever's left. Anytime we are ready we can access the lessons of stillness: wisdom, compassion, and inspiration."

Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.

Program Description
James S. Gordon, M.D.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Help YourSelf
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