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Gabrielle Roth's 5Rhythms™ is a Movement Meditation practice devised by Gabrielle Roth in the 1960's. It draws from many indigenous and world traditions using tenets of shamanistic, ecstatic, mystical and eastern philosophy. It also draws from Gestalt, the human potential movement and transpersonal psychology.[1] Ph.D. Thesis, Union Institute and University Graduate School in Fine Arts. The practice is offered as a soul journey, based upon the idea that everything is energy, and moves in waves, patterns and rhythms. Roth claims that by moving the body, releasing the heart, and freeing the mind, one can connect to the essence of the soul, leading to spirit, the place of inspiration where an individual has unlimited possibility and potential.



The form of the practice focuses on putting the body in motion with the assistance of a Roth certified teacher through the five rhythms:

  • flowing
  • staccato
  • chaos
  • lyrical
  • stillness

In sequence they are called The Wave. Students practice the form in weekly classes, and deepen their inner knowledge through workshop format. Many teachers, using DJ'd or live music offer the classic "Sweat Your Prayers" class on Sunday mornings. Participants dance or move through each of the five rhythms. The practice includes a number of maps from which we can draw. By putting the body in motion through each of the rhythms we deepen our understanding of our true nature and the nature of humanity thus setting our spirits free.

The Maps

The work is taught through a series of maps that explore the vast terrain of both the inner and outer worlds of individuals and their relationships to others and the space around them. The maps offer a soul journey by exploring embodiment, emotions, the life cycle, the psyche, and the archetypes. The rhythms offer understanding of our innate powers – being, loving, knowing, seeing, and healing.

The first map, "Waves" teaches embodiment of the five distinct rhythms. To embody the rhythms means access to the deep internal wisdom that human bodies contain. The "Heartbeat" map teaches how people have embodied and how they express the emotions of fear, anger, sorrow, joy and compassion; while the "Cycles" map provides great insight and understanding about how one has internalized conditioning and relationships throughout the life cycle specifically in the stages of birth, childhood, puberty, maturity and death. Insight and understanding of the ego is delivered through psyche map, "Mirrors".

While the practice is greatly transformative and can be deeply therapuetic, Gabrielle Roth does not describe it as a form of dance therapy. Many therapists have obtained a 5Rhythm certification to support their therapuetic practice.


Gabrielle’s influences in the early development of this work were psychologist Fritz Perls, anthropologist Gregory Bateson, the film maker Alejandro Jodorowsky and Oscar Ichazo. She spent much time in the 60’s at the Esalen Institute developing this work with the support of Michael Murphy and Dick Price.


The 5Rhythms™ has grown into an international movement with 120 member teachers[2] who are mainly bases in the US and Europe.

Moving Center Schools

Gabrielle conceived of the idea of offering her work through educational hubs in 1977. There are currently three Moving Center Schools. The Moving Center Schools are operated by core teachers— teachers who mostly have been with Gabrielle since the infancy of the 5Rhythms™ inception. The Moving Center Schools lead the development of individuals and certified teachers. The Moving Center School in New York is where Gabrielle Roth and her son Jonathon Horan are based.

The California Moving Center School is operated by Kathy Altman and Lori Saltzman. Andrea Juhan, PhD is also associated with California Moving Center School and has furthered the understanding of this work and its intersection with psychology through her work in Open Floor.

The UK Moving Center School was established in 1999 and is operated by Ya’Acov and Susannah Darling Khan who began working with Gabrielle in 1988. Recently, they have started their own school called the School of Movement Medicine to contiune their work. They have been responsible for bringing the work to many new communities throughout Europe and run a full curriculum of work grounded in the 5 Rhythms.


There is a limited amount of research about the 5Rhythms. The Mental Health Foundation, a UK charity published the 'Dancing for Living Report' describing a group of women's experience of 5Rhythms dance and the effects on their emotional wellbeing.[3]

The 5Rhythms Center for Therapeutic Study collects and publishes academic articles on the 5Rhythms and its overlap with other fields.

See also

  • Sacred dance
  • Gabrielle Roth


  • Roth, Gabrielle; Maps to Ecstasy; 1989; Nataraj Publishing; Novato, CA
  • Roth, Gabrielle; Sweat Your Prayers; 1997; Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin; NY, NY
  • Roth, Gabrielle; Connections; 2004; Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin; NY, NY
  • Stewart, Iris; Sacred Dance;
  • North, Madelaine (February 20 2005), " ", Independent on Sunday, . Retrieved on 22 December 2007.
  1. ^ Juhan, Andrea (2003), ,
  2. ^ List of teachers
  3. ^ Cook, Sarah; Ledger, Karen & Scott, Nadine (2003), , Sheffield: U.K. Advocacy Network,

External links

  • Gabrielle Roth and The Moving Center NYC
  • School of Movement Medicine in the UK
  • California Moving Center School
  • 5 Rhythms Center for Therapeutic Study
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "5Rhythms". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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