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I spent yesterday afternoon huddled over my computer editing three massive tables for a journal article, so—to be quite honest—the last thing I wanted to do after I got home from work yesterday was spend more time being tanned by my computer monitor.

That said, this week’s installment of The Friday 5 is one video of the 5Rhythms, because, yes, sometimes dancing is so much easier than sitting down to write.

What you see here is a “silent” Wave—the 5 Rhythms (Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness) being danced without music. I generally prefer dancing with music, but after our big group silent Wave during Lucia Horan’s workshop last month, I’ve become interested in learning to dance without the “crutch” of melodies and lyrics. And as you can hear in this video, the breath and voice gradually become a musical score on their own.

It was late when I filmed this, so I am a bit tired and not as intense as I am when I dance first thing in the morning. My Flowing is drawn out and longish by comparison. You can see Staccato kick in around 1:16; notice how my movement becomes sharper, more exact? Chaos breaks loose at 2:01, but it doesn’t last very long (again, the sleepiness), and I surprise myself by rocking into Lyrical at 2:40, which finally eases into Stillness at 4:20.

The other morning I did a non-silent Wave. Here’s the playlist I quickly cobbled together:

Flowing: “Jewel in the Lotus,” Maneesh De Moor
Staccato: “Breath of Life,” Florence + the Machine
Chaos: “Firecrackers,” Cryptex Marble
Lyrical: “Moth’s Wings,” Passion Pit
Stillness: “Time,” Hans Zimmer (Inception soundtrack)

I admit, I use “Time” for Stillness over and over again. It is so simple yet so intense, and sometimes it totally “gets” me; as in, I break out into tears while curled up on the floor. I will not be posting that on the blog, sorry!

What song is kicking off your weekend?

Tonight I’ll be dancing the 5Rhythms, so while I’m moving through Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness, here are five things from me for you to do!

(1) Laugh!

Growing up, my sister always had a knack for saying funny things to ease the awkwardness at family gatherings, so after one too many “You’re so funny! You should be a comedian!”, my sister finally said, “OK!” She’s a marketing coordinator by day and stand-up comic on nights and weekends. She’s got at least one gig every week, plus she co-hosts a weekly open mic night in Philly and just got back from the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, Oregon. My lil’ sis is such an inspiration; she just gets out there and does it, even if that means starting at the bottom of the ladder (read: redneck beef ‘n’ beers; small-town coffee shops) and working bit by (comedy) bit through the muck.

(2) Cry!

With the 100-year anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking a few weeks ago, the Internet and radiowaves were buzzing with news about the epic disaster. One of the stories I happened to catch was that of Wallace Hartley, the conductor of the Titanic’s orchestra, who led his musicians in song as the ship sank. This quote from historian John Maxtone-Graham was particularly stirring: “He was taking care of [the musicians’] spiritual needs near the end of their lives by giving them a job they could do that would fill the time. My conviction is it gave as much comfort to the men who were playing as to the people who heard them.”

The movie Titanic has some cheese-factor moments, but the clip above is a tearjerker. Now I’m wondering, if my world was ending before my eyes, would I dance to the death?

(3) Move!

I’m still not sure what exactly this is, but TaKeTiNa looks pretty awesome. Come to the East Coast (read: Philly) soon, please!

(4) Dance Walk!

I get the cops called on me for dancing on the beach, but this guy turns into an Internet sensation for chasseing through the streets of Manhattan. I love the concept, though; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been walking around town listening to my iPod and have wanted to dance walk along to the music. (Secret: Sometimes I sneak into the wooded trail area of the local park and do just this! Shhh!)

(5) Read!

Photograph provided by Nia Technique (www.nianow.com).

While doing some research for my post about Nia earlier this week, I came across this story by Nia teacher Amy Podolsky. She writes about recovering from surgery and being instructed by her doctor not to do aerobic activity for a month. This was devastating news to a dance teacher, and her story here is how this limitation actually brought her closer to her body and spirit.

It reminded me a lot of what I experienced during one of my early 5Rhythms classes, on a night my hip was acting up and I couldn’t move the way my mind envisioned. I still had an amazing experience, though, as I documented in my journal:

I did not move as much as I normally do, but I was very aware of every movement I did make. Every finger flick, head roll, and spinal flexion was done with intention, and I became immersed in my breath. In fact, the teacher lined us all up at the one end of the studio and told us to allow our breath to carry across to the other side. “Move as though you are your breath,” he said. That was one of the most intense experiences of the night, and when I reached the other side, turned around, and saw the other students breathing their way toward me, I felt this surge of energy wash over me, like everyone’s oncoming energy was meshing with mine and making me feel kind loopy. I felt a deep connection with everyone for the rest of the class, and I became more open in my movements, more welcoming to the other students.

That said, I can’t wait for my own Friday 5 (Rhythms) tonight! Have a great weekend!

When I started this blog a little more than a year ago, my vision was to reach out and connect with other like-minded individuals but it wasn’t necessarily my be-all, end-all goal. I had been blogging about yoga, dance, and related mind-body activities for years, but I restricted my posts to a limited audience, and I always felt guilty for plaguing my friends’ feeds with my contemplative posts about Kripalu, kundalini, and chaotic drum circles.

So when yogi/blogger Liberez Vous contacted me to let me know that she was gracing my blog with the Liebster Award (German for favorite, dearest, or beloved) for inspiring her through my words, I did what makes me me: I stood up from the kitchen table and did the happy dance around the ceramic-tiled floor. I write mostly for myself, but I love knowing there are other eyes out there taking in my oftentimes quirky collages of nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

Even cooler, Liberez Vous digs me mostly for my musings on my month-long yoga teacher training experience at Kripalu, that weepy/emo/euphoric series of 29 posts that recounted each day of my wild journey to becoming a yoga teacher. Bless her for following along and not getting freaked out, especially when I discussed having visions of a garden full of eyeballs or the time I swore my yoga mat was turning into a Magic Eye book. It must’ve sparked something in her, because she’s applied to the Kripalu YTT program as well. Wish her luck!

What I’ve learned about the Liebster Award is that it is awarded by bloggers to other, newer bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers, to spread the word and help the “new(er)bies” gain wider recognition. The award comes with four conditions that each recipient must satisfy when accepting:

1. Choose 5 up-and-coming blogs (with fewer than 200 followers) to award the Liebster to.
2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
3. Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites. Leave comments on their blogs so they know about the award.
4. Share 5 random facts about yourself that people don’t know about you.

That said, I’m ready to spread the Liebster love! Please welcome…


Eating From the Earth. Emma, one of my nearest and dearest friends from high school, is essentially a 21st-century Laura Ingalls Wilder. She’s a full-time pharmacist, wife, and mother of 2.5-year-old Gabriella (cutest toddler ever!), yet somehow finds the time to cook everything from scratch and make by hand nearly everything she wears. It’s sickening! 🙂 I once ate a meal at her place in which the noodles in the butternut squash lasagna were made at home, and the bread we broke started as yeast and water in her oven. Emma doesn’t post often, but clearly that’s because she is outside stomping grapes for wine or de-feathering a chicken or something.


VeggieVinyasa. I don’t know Angela personally, but her posts—usually about food or yoga—are refreshing (both visually and mouthwatering) and so clean and sleek, like a center spread out of Whole Living magazine. The inside of her refrigerator looks like a miniature farmers market, whereas mine is housing beer, leftover baked beans, and a box of tomato soup that I’m fairly certain has turned into a solid by now. Go read her recipes, and learn some Sanskrit while you’re at it, too!


Hour 23. Join California native Jessica for her touching posts about motherhood and learning the delicate balance of being a full-time working mama. I first connected with Jess via our old blogging stomping ground, and we actually had the chance to meet several years ago when she was in New Jersey to visit family. Jess’ posts about raising Charlie V are honest, hilarious, and chock full of photos, both tender (like the one of her son mesmerized by garbage trucks) or downright silly (like the one of her mom trying to take a self-portrait with her iPhone in the bathroom mirror).


Me vs. Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. I stumbled across Nicole’s blog after it popped up in my Google Alerts for “Kripalu,” because I love reading about others’ experience at the yoga center in Massachusetts. She had been there for a retreat with her husband, who was just getting acquainted with the practice. She writes openly and down to earth about the process of turning her solo yoga practice into a shared experience with her spouse. Nicole has a unique medical condition that she occasionally discusses in her posts, but for the most part she simply blogs about what keeps her sane—yoga—and the solace it brings to her often-aching body.

Adventures of Flapjacks. This little lobster has some big adventures, which all started in 2003 when my husband and I “rescued” him from a cruise ship gift shop. He’s became a 3-D version of Flat Stanley, traveling wherever we travel and always finding new ways to charm his followers (especially when he wears his miniature Mickey Mouse ears in Disney World). He’s been to Detroit, on ski trips, to Kripalu (twice!), both Disney World and Disneyland, the Jersey shore, the Franklin Institute, plus he’s run for office several times. His obsessions are Starbucks lattes/Frappuccinos, motorcycles, the teacups ride in Fantasyland, and operating the laser gun in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Flapjacks apologizes for all the random Cyrillic on his blog; he’s getting a bit frustrated with the LiveJournal platform and plans on upgrading to a WordPress blog soon.

Congratulations, Liebster inductees!

Finally, to fulfill the last requirement of being a Liebster blogger, here are 5 random facts about me:

• My sister and I both have mild forms of trypophobia, a “fear” of holes, clusters, and repeated patterns. For example, honeycomb, crumpets, and wasps’ nests make us want to hurl.
• I have never pumped my own gas. (I live in New Jersey, one of only two states in the country where it is technically illegal to pump your own, and anytime I’ve been in other states, I’ve had someone else with me who’d do it!)
• I’ve been to China/Tibet and Egypt but never to Canada, which we could drive to in about 8 hours.
• I haven’t eaten beef since I was 14.
• If I hear the Wishes soundtrack (fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom), it will take me approximately 0.64 seconds to start crying on the spot.

OK, for everyone out there not currently on spring break, my lord, was this week s-l-o-w or what?! Maybe it’s just because I have a super-fun weekend mapped out (drumming! dancing!) and am anticipating the excitement, but every day this week has felt like a ho-hum Tuesday.

But finally! Here we go. It’s Friday, it’s the 13th, and I have a hodge-podge list of five things that have peppered my (interminable!) week with some color and life.

(1) As if a nod to my I Am Woman post from a few weeks ago, my Old Lady Friend™ Carrol sent me the link to this video, 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art.

It’s a hypnotic 3-minute compilation of female art subjects through the centuries, edited artfully itself so that each image morphs into the next. To me, it’s visual art presented in a dance-like manner. It’s also just fun to see the painting styles and female figures transition as the years go by.

(2) Next isn’t a video but a blog that I am excited to add to my Google Reader: Dancemeditation.

The blog is maintained by Dunya Dianne McPherson, whose book, Skin of Glass: Finding Spirit in the Flesh, is currently on my nightstand. It’s been on my Amazon wishlist ever since I purchased Gabrielle Roth’s Sweat Your Prayers (which has essentially become my bible) and it popped up on my “You Might Like…” list.

Dunya is a former professional ballerina who turned to Sufism and now teaches her brainchild Dancemeditation™, “a unique, integrated movement meditation system for self-discovery, healing, and evolution.”

The way she writes about the human body is utterly fascinating and captivating, and it is hard not to roll my spine and rock my pelvis along to her words. They are the words of someone so at home with her body, so familiar with every tendon, vein, and cell within; some chapters have such a deep and sensual feel that they read more like erotic literature, a kind of “kinesthetic pornography,” perhaps.

This post on simple side-to-side rolling will get you moving.

(3) Switching gears, we now move to Main Street, U.S.A. for some Disney dancing!

Posted on Disney Parks’ official blog, this video features Barbara, a Walt Disney World cast member who has taken her role as Main Street hostess to a new level by just doin’ her thang during the daily parades. If I knew there was an opportunity out there for me to both (a) work in Disney World, and (b) dance my heart out every afternoon, then Barbara would be out of a job. … OK, so I’m a bit jealous, but I love Barbara for bringing dance and Disney together in the upbeat way she does. 🙂

(4) The last two items go hand in hand. First is the 2011 Emmy-winning choreography “This Bitter Earth” from Mia Michaels, which appeared on Season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance.

I’m going through a bit of a SYTYCD drought here (still more than a month to go before Season 9 starts!), so I’ve been filling the holes by watching clips of past seasons on YouTube. This particular dance about aging is just so powerful, poignant, and kind of sad. It’s a hit-you-in-the-gut piece, no doubt why it was nominated for and won the Emmy. The three variations of a simple rocking motion at 1:14 are just beautiful.

(5) Staying on that theme of aging is the video that’s been going viral all over Facebook, “Man In Nursing Home Reacts To Hearing Music From His Era.”

As a dancer, music has such a profound role in my life, and it is so comforting to know that the brain has the ability to store the passionate, joy-filled memories associated with a particular tune. This man, described as “inert and unresponsive,” comes ALIVE when exposed to music from his younger years. His reactions at 4:00 and 5:15 are a bit Awakenings…but so hopeful and smile-inducing. And I love that there’s a whole movement behind this kind of therapy: http://www.musicandmemory.org!

Now this has me wondering…what music from “my era” would make me come alive 50+ years from now? Hmm…

Comment with an online video/website/photo that’s been stirring your soul lately!

My favorite dance blogger Meg used to do a series called “Inspiration Tuesday,” and each week she’d post a collection of interesting/beautiful/inspiring stuff from the internet.

Her blogging focus has since changed and the series is no longer, but there is still inspiring stuff out there! I have links and I want to share!

(1) The video “Gestures,” featured on the Colors in Motion® “Experiences” website. It’s dance, watercolor, and music all meshed into one beautiful experience.

I found the site through (2) Kripalu’s blog, Thrive, also a link worth bookmarking. A note to whomever moderates this blog dedicated solely to Kripalu-related endeavors: You have my dream job. If you ever hit the jackpot, retire, or move on to a new career, please shoot me an e-mail, PLZOKTHX.

For more videos like Gestures, see Colors in Motion’s Touchstone page. (I’m particularly fond of August’s “Light Dances.”)

(3) Another video that has pleased my neurons is “Moments,” featured on Everynone.com, which I gave a shout-out to previously for their “Laughs!” video.

“Moments” is slightly longer and a bit more emotional. It reminds me of a miniature version of Life in a Day, a full-length movie compiled from YouTube clips from around the world. They are both reminders that ordinary moments are extraordinary when you look at them with mindfulness and awe.

(4) The next video I found via the Let Your Yoga Dance Facebook page. Never, ever say you can’t dance because you have two left feet.

(5) Finally, I am tipping my proverbial hat to Lucia Rose Horan, a 5Rhythms master teacher who I am ecstatic to be taking class with next weekend. Watch her let loose here.

Comment with an online video/website/photo that’s been stirring your soul lately!

About the Author

Name: Jennifer

Location: Greater Philadelphia Area

Blog Mission:
SHARE my practice experience in conscious dance and yoga,

EXPAND my network of like-minded individuals,

FULFILL my desire to work with words in a more creative and community-building capacity;

FLOW and GROW with the world around me!

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