Guest Post by Visiting 5Rhythms® teacher Heeraa Sazevich


To be at ease in this skin, in this crazy heart and wild mind… this is why I dance. I experienced my first 5Rhythms® Sweat Your Prayers session in Sausalito in 1997, and it’s been my practice ever since.

Healing years of being at war with food and my body as a young actress, my path first led me to live in the Osho ashram in Puna, India for six years; I first encountered moving meditation there. We danced, laughed, catharted and loved our way into silence. So when I met Gabrielle Roth and her practice, it felt like home.

I never thought I’d be a teacher. My love life carried me to Honolulu, Hawaii some 14 years ago where it was pretty much an ecstatic dance desert… I decided to change that or my relationship would end. It took over eight years to finally convince more than a handful of people that we could be a dance community. As we grew, so did my desire to actually teach the practice that saved my life and not simply DJ. After 19 years of practice, I finally got certified in 2014. It’s opened a new world of creativity and deeper exploration, and has been hugely exciting.

Dancing my Truth: a guest post by DJ Kiaora Fox

Do you ever get perplexed about this journey we’re on? This thing called Being Human? At the age of three I found two vital forms of prayer: Lakota Sioux sweat lodges and — after jumping onto the stage during my sister’s dance performance — dance.

Growing up, I danced everywhere I went. At each party from age three onward, I was the first one moving. At 21, I remember a girlfriend looking at me in a bar and saying, “Oh, I finally get it — you move the way you FEEL!”

A decade later, after my sister took her own life, I was left with a pain that filled my days. In her absence I felt the stark reality that although there was love all around me, the expression of it was scarce. It was at this time that I understood that the only way to inspire myself to keep enjoying my life was to teach dance.

“Dancing, singing, storytelling and silence are the four universal healing salves.” -Gabrielle Roth

As I dabbled in leading small groups through choreography I learned that that work wasn’t in alignment with my desire to inspire awareness and growth on a soul level, like the way I knew I could by teaching embodiment through yoga and Pilates. And yet, in all these forms — dance, yoga, and Pilates — I was watching people go through their self-defeating inner dialogue about not getting it right, not being good enough, not having the coordination to move like their teachers.

It saddened me. The words “I can’t dance” are some of the heaviest words I hear. Behind them are shames and limitations that kill the pure expression of spirit to move through these bodies of ours.

Today, I want to inspire people to explore movement that has nothing to do with looking good and everything to do with moving energy fully and completely. And the funny part is, once the head is out of the way, the movement itself is fascinating, if not beautiful!

The fastest, cleanest, most joyful way to break out of your own box is by dancing. I’m not talking about doing the stand-and-sway. I’m talking about dancing so deep, so hard, so full of the beat that you are nothing but the dance and the beat and the sweat and the heat. -Gabrielle Roth

We humans are conduits on this earth, and what we focus on is what we bring to the planet. If we’re constantly practicing holding back and editing the way things look, then we’re training ourselves to be tense. Is that what we want? Absolutely not!

Put your body in motion and your psyche will heal itself. -Gabrielle Roth

Once I meditated for five hours on my five-year plan, as prescribed by my shaman of a mother. In the fifth hour, with my eyes closed and seeing all black, my mind completely blank, I received a vision of the 5Rhythms logo. It felt like it flew in on wings and hit me over the head. Boom! I came out of that meditation and researched 5Rhythms classes in the area. I found three things: 1) Santa Barbara had no regular Waves classes 2) Gabrielle Roth, creator of 5Rhythms, had just died a month before, and 3) for the first time ever, Lucia Horan was coming to SB to teach a 5Rhythms workshop, just a month away. I signed up with the knowledge that I was going there to see if I wanted to teach this modality of movement.

A month later after dancing a full Wave, a group of us were gathered on the floor while Lucia demonstrated the 5Rhythms. I watched this woman who I’d never met till now move and breathe with fullness, dripping with sweat and beauty, completely offering herself to the dance. She didn’t have one move; she wasn’t trying to look a certain way; she was simply allowing energy to move with and through her.

To sweat is to pray, to make an offering of your innermost self. Sweat is holy water, prayer beads, pearls of liquid that release your past. The more you dance… the more you sweat, the more you pray. The more you pray, the closer you are to ecstasy. -Gabrielle Roth

I was brought to tears. I had found a meditation practice that I’d been doing my whole life. Feeling for the first time since adolescence that there were more people out there like me who had to dance — no training necessary — who were calling in presence and authenticity. I was in. I committed to begin my journey to teach the 5Rhythms.

5Rhythms is not a linear practice, so the first order of business was to learn what the 5Rhythms were and what it felt like in my own body. We were not taught with books (although Gabrielle did write three very inspiring books that I highly recommend), and any note-taking happened after we left the floor. We were taught that the information we needed would stay with us and the rest would come in when we were ready.

I spent over three years in continual three-day, five-day, and ten-day workshops all around the world learning embodiment practices. It is through having a solid practice and relationship with the 5Rhythms body of work that I became a teacher. I came alive in ways that I had thought were impossible.

Your body is the ground metaphor of your life, the expression of your existence… So many of us are not in our bodies, really at home and vibrantly present there. Nor are we in touch with the basic rhythms that constitute our bodily life. We live outside ourselves — in our heads, our memories, our longings — absentee landlords of our own estate. My way back into life was ecstatic dance. I reentered my body by learning to move my self, to dance my own dance from the inside out, not the outside in. -Gabrielle Roth

A big part of my growth was in being witnessed by the 5Rhythms tribe, my

teachers and my peers. I was pushed to connect to myself more deeply and to others in ways that were foreign to me. I was utterly uncomfortable in connection because of my empathic sensitivities, and it was all very healing because of my loneliness and loss. I learned to see others and allow myself to be seen. I learned to speak about insights my body gave me, not my head. And, after 31 years of knowing I was “weird” to just about everyone I met because I never really fit in, I learned I have a place where I am welcomed just as I am.

Don’t be afraid to show your light. If it ends up being too much for people, tell them to wear sunglasses! -Gabrielle Roth

In the 5Rhythms practice, which integrates five different elements, my teachers encouraged me to find grounded movement that had been evading me my whole life through Flowing. I found edges and boundaries that up until then I could never uphold. My body was able to make shapes clearly through the rhythm of Staccato. Chaos was never hard for me to find; in that stage I surrendered thoughts, let go of judgment, and allowed myself to be danced. And because I could feel my feet on the ground, I stayed more present during the intensity of this rhythm.

After emptying out anything that held me back — after sweating out the toxins, thoughts, and tensions — there was a sense of spaciousness. I was lighter, softer, and more clear. It’s here in the rhythm of Lyrical that I find it most easy to engage in “no mind” dancing. This is the place to dive into transformation, shape shifting, and real change. From there comes Stillness, the 5th rhythm in the Wave. This rhythm is a teacher beyond all others. It contains ALL the rhythms, and if you can do it slowly then it is deeply integrated, as in any movement practice.

After years of practicing with the 5Rhythms tribe and while at my second module of the Waves Teacher Training in Croatia, I realized that I had consistently been approaching Stillness from a numbed point of view. This shocked me, and was a humbling and inspiring gift. A senior teacher, Silvija Tomcik, taught me to explore stillness from the vantage point of being completely warmed up. So, now when my whole body has done every rhythm, I get to sense vitality and feel the sensations of connection within the web of my own fascia and the spaces between the muscles, organs, and bones. This space is replicated in the ether, the spaces between people, cities, countries, planets. Stillness weaves us all together into one. This 5Rhythms dance has become something I crave — a nurturing, sensual heat that engages my whole being, a deep teacher.

Your soul is a seeker, lover and artist; shape-shifting through archetypal energy, between your darkness and fields of light, your body and spirit, your heaven and hell, until you land in the moment of sweet surrender; when you, as a dancer, disappear into the dance. -Gabrielle Roth

This thing of being human remains mysterious. What my 5Rhythms meditation practice does for me is to connect me to the essence of my soul, to ground my soul into my body, and to encourage me to show up for what life wants to teach me. The dance is my medicine, my prayer, my internal shower and my eternal spirit journeying in this body right now.

Each dance is a compelling meeting that defines and erases itself.


      Each dance is a compelling meeting that defines and erases itself.
BY Jo Cobbett

When I found this dance I was stunned into vitality. fingers dripping sweat my body aglow and spent, there was no separation between me and the elemental world. I had simply melted alive. It was the late 80’s at esalen in a class with someone holding space for their first time.
We danced.  It wasn’t the mastery of teaching, or the most brilliant playlist in the world, we were still on single cd players! But it was what my soul had always craved.

It would be awhile before finding it again. I’d look; clearing the chairs and tables off dance floors, and get near the drummers wherever live music was happening.  Seeking the pulse
in a relatively empty disco and letting my body takeover.

But my return to held space was like a homecoming after the wars. I was hooked on this process of engaging with immediacy.

This is a path of devotion. Steeped in shamanism through the ancestors it is fitting that it would be unearthed through the observations of an urban shaman. Gabrielle Roth trained in the Arica school and was drawn through her love of dance and scars of childhood to seek different paths. She met an Esalen space with an arm full of vinyl and she watched rooms of people moving and witnessed a pattern that fascinated her into naming, encouraging and fostering it. Eventually she created music and wrote books to spread the meaning and message.  Many of us were caught in the spell and discovered that here were deep roots; older than our civilizations. older than our churches temples and ideologies.

People jump on the ride for as long as it holds their fascination. Perhaps they only dance on the surface, or find a relevance that beckons them in.

Perhaps only a couple of hours to shake and shimmy and glide and release the pressures and stresses of living in a structured world is all you need to be clear and carry on. Like a bath in a fresh mountain stream, or a dip in the ocean. Some set up tent and stay a weekend, others need to completely immerse to find their own layers releasing.
Still others cannot stop… we go to workshop after workshop eventually finding ourselves on the teaching path, opening the doors, playing the music, holding the space so that others may surrender into their sweaty selves.
I was one of those… a visual artist who believed i already had the path for a lifetime.

Instead of painting with colors this is painting with sound. Capturing tender moments and memories and erasing old ones. There are so many metaphors.. I imagine if you’re a chemist you’d see the magic of creating new compounds. Or the architect as creating a sweeping space .. a cathedral for souls… but as a painter, a creative, I love that this is an exquisite collaboration of form and formlessness. One that emerges in the unique configuration that each assemblage is, and it evolves, changes, transforms and then dissolves. Even the footprints are gone after these waves are past.
We don’t capture it in images, or sculpt it. No one needs to frame it or wrap it up and store it away. It isn’t for sale and cannot be stolen.. Each dance is a compelling meeting that defines and erases itself.


Seasons Greetings


Seasons greetings.

I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude for the six years of dance and community that we have shared. We have been dancing together for at least 250 consecutive Sundays. That is really something.

For me and I think for many others  Dance Tribe is like a church, a safe sacred haven where we come to let go and express what we are feeling through music and moment.  With out ever having to say anything we are given the opportunity commune with one another with the creator through dance.

I remember coming to Tribe after my mother died.  It wasn’t until I got on the dance floor that I was finally began to feel the grief of her passing.  The dance floor and the dancers held my grief without missing a step.  In that moment I realized i was being held by my community.

We may not all live on the same land together.  But every Sunday we can come together to dance, to celebrate, to witness or grieve. It is all welcome.

We as a community have created a container to gather and grow in. It is not always easy, and of course issues come up. But we are doing well. The overriding energy at Dance Tribe is one of of love and welcome. Considering how many people are involved and how intimate many of us have become, there is a safe wholeness that presides on the dance floor that is the sum of all of our caring and time together.  No one or even two people could hold or create what we have. It has taken all of us. Our world is changing but i can honestly say that we are changing with it. We have not stagnated or settled.

We are alive, growing,learning and we are doing it together.


  Ishmiel Lounsbury is the one of the founders of Santa Barbara Dance Tribe and has been involved with the ecstatic dance for over 20 years. He uses a blend of music from around to world to take the dancer on somatic moment journey.  “Music and dance are two of the most powerful ways for us to return to the present moment. Through ecstatic dance we canlet go of our worries and express a true and authentic part of our selves.  I create my sets so the dancers are invited to move from a deep internal place to an celebratory ecstatic high and then returning to a quite grounded stillness. I am not as concerned by what genre of music I am  playing (World, Trance, Dub, Fusion, Classic ) as I’m am with how music makes the dancers respond. 

Introducing Terence and the opening of Temple Santa Barbara

My name is Terence Carfrae and I am addicted to dancing.  I love it, and I am not ashamed to admit it.
My first trip to Santa Barbara Dance Tribe, some five years ago saw me timidly enter the space and find an out of the way spot on the floor about 3 feet in diameter in which I remained for the entire 2 hours.  I awkwardly grooved in my little space while my vision beheld, in wild-eyed wonder, a room full of people acting very abnormally.  They were swaying and prancing, leaping and flailing with total abandon.  I thought they had all lost their marbles… and yet it transfixed me and sparked an inner revolution that continues to this day. 
Dance tribe has become a church for me. It is a place for me to connect with community, to celebrate life and to meet myself in ever deepening ways.  If you see me on the dance floor in tribe, I hope you can see deeper than the body that is dancing.  I hope you can see the force that dances me.  I hope you can see the deep love affair I am engaged in and the intimate surrender to the moment that I obsessively seek.  Dancing does that for me. 
IMG_5969I am originally from a small town in Australia and I come from a large family of humble farmers.  I have been learning about holistic health and the medicine of movement for 2 decades and my studies, travels and inspiration led me to collaborate with a fellow Dance Triber, Natalie Diane, to create a local business we call ‘Temple’.   
   Temple_LogoType_LogoMark_stackedTemple is a wellness studio and gathering space for community.  It is a place to connect with self and others, in movement, play and stillness.
We are invested in bringing people together and helping them to move freely without pain, to live a vibrant life with radiant health and to be part of a community that is a force of love in the world.  We offer classes, private coaching, training in exercise, nutrition, meditation, dance and so much more.  Temple is our way of creating                                   positive change in the world.  For me personally, Temple feels like a                                     precious gift that I have been entrusted as caregiver for. 
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Santa Barbara is home for me and it is the place that I have chosen to offer my life’s work.  Dance Tribe is a large reason for this.  The community and family that I now call my own, began at Dance Tribe where I found them while whirling and dancing. People like Ishmiel and Lamara, who have become both mentors and friends, and Natalie and Aaron who have become family and business partners.  And many others who have supported me when I have grieved, have celebrated me when I have succeeded and have challenged me to grow when I have played small.  You are my Tribe and make Santa Barbara my home, because this is the place in the world that I feel most at home.
For more information on classes, training or2015-09-12 18.31.12
coaching please visit:
Or contact Terence Carfrae at
(805) 699-6539