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At the conclusion of a recent 5Rhythms class, one of my fellow dancers shared with the group that she loves class because “I feel safe to be a child again.”

I understood what she was saying—5Rhythms is a space to be playful, uninhibited, curious, and spontaneous—but I was feeling something much different that night.

5Rhythms doesn’t make me feel like a child. It makes me feel like a woman.

The week leading up to class, I had been privately mulling over at what point in her life a female comfortably begins referring to herself as a “woman” (particularly a female who has not yet carried a child or given birth, which I imagine would be the tipping point for being comfortable calling oneself a woman). For instance, if I am writing up a blog bio, I struggle over what noun to use after “Jennifer is a 31-year-old ____.” Girl? Gal? Chica? Saying “woman” feels so…adult. So mature.

Most of the time, I do not feel like a “woman.” I am obsessing over big airplanes, spilling cereal and yogurt all over my cubicle, laughing about butt jokes, and dreaming about Disney World.

But during 5Rhythms…that is when I feel like a woman. Certain music, certain movers will extract that essence out of me, and I feel wise, vibrant, strong, feminine, proud, daring. There is a head-to-toe, bone-to-muscle-to-blood connection with myself, and I feel so whole, so womanly, so pure.

So Pure, just like Alanis Morissette in her music video of the same name. I have fun, I let loose, I sweat and open up and become the dancer that has always lived inside of me.

I am still replaying in my mind the moment during Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” when I was dancing on my own, my arms rising above my head to the lyrics “In the arms of an angel….,” and suddenly from behind me, another’s arms linked through mine, now intertwined like angel’s wings. My feet were solidly planted on the floor, but I felt miles above the earth. We remained paired together in the final stretch of Stillness, a wordless song that was eloquent, fierce, passionate, sad, and intense all wrapped into one. I gave myself fully into the movement in a way that no “girl” could do; this was the dance of a woman.

During the sharing circle after class, I began to blush as others in the group commented about being fascinated with our movement, how they loved watching the two of us dance together. Some even thought we were part of a modern dance troupe! One woman had very nice words to say about how watching us was like watching two spirits completely connected with each other.

It was all so overwhelming to take in (I have always had a hard time being complimented on my natural talents) but also so so so so very much appreciated. I had not felt this way since 2006, when during my Kripalu yoga teacher training Megha and I danced our separate solos together at the back of Shadowbrook Hall as Linda Worster performed at the front. That night, a few of my classmates kept showering me with compliments about how beautiful I was to watch.

Despite the words making me smile and squirm at the same time, the compliments from both my YTT and 5Rhythms classmates were a touching reminder that I am still a dancer, despite not practicing in a studio or wearing pointe shoes.

Likewise, even though I don’t necessarily feel “grown up,” dancing has certainly given me comfort in my femininity and allowed me to move beyond the boundaries of girlhood.

Thank you 5Rhythms, for making me feel like a woman.

It’s Saturday, it’s sunny, and things are a bit synchronous.

It started with a recollection of a dream I had last night. This was one of those dreams that you don’t remember you even had until something innocuous sparks the memory. I was doing my usual morning stretches and general rolling around/yoga/dancing in the living room when the Grooveshark playlist I had on switched over to Tina Malia’s “Heal This Land.” The first time I heard this song was back in October, during a Let Your Yoga Dance (LYYD) class. The instructor, Nikki, was training to become a certified LYYD teacher and was doing the practice teaches required before returning to Kripalu.

When Nikki played that song, it reminded me instantly of Megha, LYYD’s founder and director, especially in relation to the workshop at Kripalu I attended back in 2008. The program was titled “Let Your Yoga Dance: Heal Yourself, Heal the Earth,” and many of our sessions revolved around the importance of not only keeping ourselves healthy but the earth as well.

We danced barefoot in the grass outside. Planted sunflowers. Went out as a group to the labyrinth to move meditatively through the never-ending rock-lined loops, claps of thunder sounding in the distance. So hearing a song with lyrics like “My body is the mountain, the ocean, the river / The sand and the soil, the life giver” was just so, so Megha.

When the song played for me this morning, it hit me. The dream. I had dreamed last night that I was back at Kripalu, awaiting my chance to once again dance with Megha. In the dream, I had been promised a chance to review some of my choreography with Megha, and I couldn’t wait to show her my work. (This dream is also an embarrassing indication of how much Dance Academy I’ve been watching.) But the timing was never right. Our schedules kept interfering, and I never had the opportunity demonstrate my dance for her. The most I was able to do was meet with her briefly, stroke her face, and reassure her that she was “a wise woman.” (And all of this is completely normal, of course, in dreamland.)

So with that memory in mind, my dance to “Heal This Land” this morning was passionate, soulful. I felt connected to Megha, to LYYD, to the way dancing at Kripalu makes me feel…

…which then led to me opening my e-mail and finding a new Google Alert, which I have set up to let me know when the term “Kripalu” pops up on the Internet. The link led me to this YouTube video:

created by one of the musicians from KDZ, the drumming group that performs at Kripalu. Coincidentally, Megha usually leads the dance portion of these Saturday-at-Noon jams. It’s not an official Kripalu-affiliated video or anything, but it was so exciting to remotely be immersed in the sights and sounds of the dancing and jamming that goes on over there in the Berkshires. I’m not sure what I enjoyed more about my yoga teacher training, getting a 200-hour certification or spending my free Saturdays dancing with live drumming! 🙂

So now that I’ve found this great video, man, do I miss me some good drumming…

…oh! What’s this other e-mail in my inbox?

A day-long drumming retreat right here in New Jersey? With Jim Donovan, who I had just written about in this blog post?! You don’t say!

Thanks for the synchronicities, Saturday! You’ve reminded me that somewhere underneath all the commotion and chaos of life, there is a universal hum that keeps us all singing and dancing together.

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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