5Rhythms Friday: …this could be hard on the power bill…

Today’s post is dedicated to the lovely Jennifer of Flowtation Devices, who suggested that I try using a space heater for yoga/dancing, and who wrote a post about heat that made me wonder if I could ever possibly enjoy it the way she does.


Turn on the space heater and shut the guest room door.
Turn on the music, a playlist of your own creation.
This time is going to be different, you can feel it.

Start on the floor, remembering last week’s lesson. You are determined to follow your body’s instincts this time. Gently flex and point your toes. Massage your feet and circle your ankles. Feel the blood move through your feet and softly warm them. Bend and straighten your knees. Focus solely on your body. Matthew has the little one, and this time is just for you.

Windshield-wiper the knees from side to side and slowly lie down on your back. Swing your legs in wide arcs along the floor, rolling from side to side. This is your practice and you can do whatever feels right. The cats brush by curiously, but for once they do not disturb you. You keep swinging, feeling your entire body awaken. Then you roll up to all fours and articulate the spine…cat and dog…side to side…in circles. All your YogaDance training comes back to you and you smile to yourself. Someday soon you’ll be guiding others through this, but for now this time and this movement are all for you. You don’t come to standing until the end of the song.

The music shifts. You naturally fall into a pattern of breath and circular swinging motions. You spiral around yourself, swaying and circling your hips. Your left shoulder is bothering you from yoga and your right hip is still a little tight from last week, but you take them in your stride and don’t push into discomfort. You look for the movements that feel good now.

This is how your body is today, you tell yourself, dance for NOW. Only then does it occur to you how much damn time you spend dancing with your mind in some kind of hypothetical ache-free future. No wonder you get so down on your body all the time!
The music picks up, and you speed up your swaying and circles and breath in time with it. You lose track of the pattern and motion of your dance, forget to write this blog post in your head. You’re flowing and you’re warm and…wow…this feels really really GOOD.

Another shift. This music is electronic, pounding, and strange. Your body finds the beat and moves in sharp, jerky steps. For once this doesn’t feel forced or dangerous. Your body is WARM. You let go of your head and release into the movement, just the way you’ve been wanting to. You pulse to the beat, you shift your weight in crazy patterns, you find your elbows jerking out in fabulous, funny ways. And you smile and say thank you to the space heater that has relaxed your muscles for the first time you can remember, and to Jennifer, who suggested it.

Yes. This is what you wanted. You become a sweaty, dancing wild woman. Body, breath, and beat become one, and you’re not afraid anymore. You stomp and jump and squat and dip and you feel every muscle in your body coming alive, and you bless the aliveness. You feel your yoga pants clinging to your legs and you think back to all the times you tried to do this and got nothing but chilly dampness and tightness as a result. You begin to think that maybe this “heat” thing really is as great as your old ballet teacher used to say. For the first time in your life you find yourself eager for the summer weather, when you’ll be able to feel this way all the time without waiting for the heater to kick in. Your hair, swinging wildly around your head, gets damp and tangled, and you smile through it all, loving every drop of precious sweat, and welcoming it home.

For perhaps the first time ever, you “get” this lyrical thing. Maybe it’s because you picked out the music from your favourite tunes, maybe it’s because you’re truly warm and in your body for the first time in ages, who knows. All you care is that you’ve naturally shifted into the rhythms of lyrical: wild and free, but lighter than chaos. Yes. This is it.

Oddly, stillness is the greatest challenge for you today. You shift back into what you vaguely recognize as echoes of your flowing patterns, but it takes a conscious effort to move from that into the smooth serenity of stillness. You find yourself wanting to reach up with your arms, but your shoulder is hurting again so you drop the arms and try to find new ways of dancing -of being- in this rhythm.

That’s a good thing, you think, it’s all an experiment, after all.

This is an experiment worth repeating.

15 thoughts on “5Rhythms Friday: …this could be hard on the power bill…”

  1. YES! I was actually moved to tears, reading this post. I know that this has been such a journey for you, a struggle at times, and to know that you were able to acheive dance again, the way you need to dance is just…well…it’s simply a miracle. The kind of miracle that’s real, like the birth of a baby. Beautiful!

  2. I felt like I was right there in the room with you. Such evocative writing and such a personal experience for you to share. I’m so happy that you were able to enjoy this time.

  3. I love this post for so many reasons. First off, many, many thanks for the shout-out. I’m so glad you found a source of heat, and I’m impressed that you took my advice so quickly. You must have really needed it!

    The description of each rhythm was magical. I was moving with you. I felt like I was reading Sweat Your Prayers.

    And the photos, what a great addition. This whole post was poetry, and you are an artist!

    Finally, please do share what songs you used for this particular 5Rhythms. I am so curious what gets other people into such healing states. Plus, I am always on the lookout for songs to add to my own playlist!

    On another note, I was thinking of you last night during my own 5Rhythms class. I was flowing around the studio with about 8 other people, thinking, “Man, I hope Meg’s 5Rhythms Friday is going as wonderfully as this is for me.” And it sounds like it did!

    1. Wow, thanks Jennifer! 😀 It really really did! I can’t wait to do another one!

      We’ve actually had an unused space heater in the apartment for AGES, I just never thought to use it for myself! Now I have appropriated it until the summer weather hits 😉

      Here’s my playlist:
      Warm-up: 32 Flavors by Ani DiFranco
      Flowing: Dawn Dance by Alasdair Fraser
      Staccato: Blacklight Fantasy by Freaky Chakra
      Chaos: Saviour (Vox) by VNV Nation
      Lyrical: Gamelan by R. Murray Schaefer (he’s a Canadian composer who has created several CDs of music using the human voice as the only instrument…he’s awesome)
      Stillness: Comptine d’un Autre Ete by Yann Tiersen (from the Amelie Soundtrack…but it’s not really still enough for Stillness, which is part of the reason why I had trouble, I think)

      I was considering including my musical selections in this post as I was writing it, but then I forgot…I’ll try to remember to do it next time I use my own playlist (making my own list made a BIG difference…I definitely want to play with this more!)

  4. Thanks so much for the playlist. I use Grooveshark.com to manage my music, and not everything was available, but this is the adapted list. I can’t wait to try it out:
    – “32 Flavors”
    – “First Flight” by Alasdair Fraser (“Dawn Dance” was corrupted)
    – “Blacklight Fantasy”
    – “Saviour (vox)” <—sounds AWESOME!
    – "F–kn' Perfect" (Pink) for lyrical (your Canadian guy is too obscure!)
    – "Amazing Grace" (Walela) for transition from Lyrical into Stillness. This is a beautiful song sung in Cherokee.
    – and finally, the Amelie song.

    I think maybe adding something between Lyrical and Stillness may help making Stillness feel complete. I’ll let you know how it goes!

    1. Yes, definitely let me know! 😀

      I’ve been meaning to check Grooveshark out! How are they? I’m not surprised that they didn’t have R. Murray Schaefer! I had to mail-order his CDs from a site in British Columbia…they weren’t available anywhere else!

      I’m glad you like VNV! Matty introduced me to them when we first got together, and I am a HUGE fan! I’m currently obsessed with the song “The Great Divide” (which is on my YouTube dance party playlist), and Matty and I used lyrics from their song “Standing” on our wedding invitations.

      I also tried doing a VNV-only playlist yesterday:
      Warm-up: Carbon
      Flowing: Arclight
      Staccato: Lightwave
      Chaos: Saviour (vox)
      Lyrical: The Great Divide (although I don’t know if “jump up and down and sing along at the top of your lungs” is *quite* what Gabrielle Roth had in mind for lyrical :P)
      Stillness: Tempest
      My review: I could have used another “flowing” type song in there for warm-up/flowing…If I find one I’ll add it and let you know, or I’ll make another Youtube dance party playlist and share it 😉

      And I LOVE that version of Amazing Grace! I’ve used it in DansKinetics classes for the 3rd eye dance prayer, and it’s just beautiful.

      1. Of course, I should have known you would have Walela’s “Amazing Grace” in your collection. That’s one of Megha’s favorites!

        I just compiled the suggested VNV Nation in my playlist. Because I’m not familiar with VNV’s songs, I just went ahead and added Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” after “Carbon” to give it some oomph for now. I’ll let you know how it goes–BTW, I’m totally LOVING this 5Rhythms playlist exchange!! Because I take class and the instructor does all the DJ’ing, I seldom compile my own playlists, but here’s one I did a few months ago (I tend to add songs for the transition phases from one rhythm into the next):

        “Intro,” The XX
        “Hypnotica,” Afro Celt Sound System
        “Use Somebody,” Kings of Leon

        “I Can Transform Ya,” Chris Brown

        “Whirl-Y-Reel,” Afro Celt Sound System
        “Viva la Vida,” Coldplay

        “I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz
        “My Skin,” Natalie Merchant

        “Glasgow Love Theme,” Love Actually soundtrack.

        I wish my 5Rhythms instructor sold CDs of his playlists. I would totally buy them! (but I guess it’s probably illegal to sell downloaded music!) 🙁

        1. Ooh! Thanks! I only have one of those, so this will be really fun!
          Transition songs are a great idea! I’m a bit new at the 5Rhythms playlist-making, and I hadn’t thought of that!

          Yeah, I’m running into the music-selling problem. I would LOVE to record dance classes and offer them on my site…but the copyright issues are STAGGERING. You need a separate license and a royalty agreement with each of the artists/labels. Unless you use all Creative Commons music…which I have thought about but haven’t found enough usable tracks yet. …ahem…not that I’ve given this issue much thought or anything… 😛
          Last time I did DansKinetics classes, I posted my playlists on my site after class. People LOVED that. The only downside was that I felt like I couldn’t repeat a song EVER (but I think that was more of my issue than anything else)

          Can’t wait to try your list! I’ll start looking the tracks up today! 😀

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