By Dr Marc Cohen

The 5 Rhythms have appeared in my life in many guises. I learned about 5 humors in Western Medicine and 5 elements in Chinese medicine and then embodied them when practicing martial arts such as Pancha Tanmantra, yet they have never been so potent as when I am dancing a ‘wave’ during a 5 Rhythms dance practice. I am deeply grateful to Gabrielle Roth for developing this practice and to Meredith Davies and David Juriansz for their skill and dedication in bringing this practice to Melbourne and for being such superb teachers, mentors and role models.

The following poem “Prayer to Space” is expressed as a ‘wave’ that embodies the 5 rhythms. Between the opening and closing verses are three verses devoted to each rhythm and its associated body part, emotion and essence.

Prayer to Space

By beauty and grace
I dance the rhythms
A prayer to space

Craving connection
The feel of contact
To be totally met
Authentically act

I follow my feet
My body in tow
Relentlessly moving
Trusting in flow

Till fear of life’s fury
Rejection and pain
Compels me to seek
Relief from the strain

So I Stop. Contract.
Build walls to protect
A semblance of self
Control an effect

My arrogant wisdom
Then thinks to define
The limits of being
Profane and sublime

Backwards and forwards
Repetitive notions
Create enduring drama
Bound with emotions

I try to escape
But can only surrender
I commit everything
Turn on life’s blender

Yet it’s sad to let go
Should I try to hold on?
Confusion reigns freely
Then all thought is gone

I dissolve into chaos
Releasing the mind
And in losing myself
I am able to find

Infinite bliss
Within and without
I feel my heart singing
I want to cry out

My life is a gift
Filled with joy and delight
Floating through space
Basking in light

The power of creation
Of substance and form
Is all in my hands
A new world is born

Waves of emotion
Flood over the floor
Then settle in stillness
Drenching in awe

Till numbness surrounds me
A fatigue of the will
Where’s the next move?
Impossibly still

Feeling compassion
I tune into my breath
Connect to the source
Exist beyond death

My prayers are then answered
With what I knew at first glance
Rhythms transform
My whole life into dance

Health authorities around the world all agree on one thing. The best way to avoid or treat a viral infection is to be well. After more than 40 years studying medicine and research wellness, I have come to the conclusion that wellness is simple. Here’s a recipe:

The Recipe for Wellness

Bathe in beautiful water
Prepare delicious food
Make the most of every breath
Dance through every mood

Tend the soil beneath your feet
Feel sunshine from above
Share your gifts with all the world
Fill your life with love

Wellness is simple. Yet wellness can be difficult to achieve in the modern age when:

Our water commonly contains disinfectants and their toxic by-products, along with heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceutical residues, fire retardants, endocrine disruptors and other emerging contaminants.
Our food is often high in sugar, salt and fat, nutrient depleted, and contaminated with pesticides and artificial additives.
Our air contains traffic-related air pollutants and range of toxic volatile compounds and can be further polluted by cigarette smoke.
We lead sedentary lives, experience life stress and sleep poorly
Our homes are often unhealthy and maybe affected by water damage and mould, excessive electromagnetic radiation, poor air quality and toxic building products and our personal relationships are impacted by stress and the demands of busy lives.
The current global emergency is forcing us all to go within and focus on what’s important. If we can all focus on wellness and follow the above recipe, then perhaps when we emerge we can work together and realise worldwide wellness.

Ever since I was in primary school in the early 1970s and read “The Limits to Growth” I’ve been anticipating a global collapse and believed that in my lifetime humanity would either destroy itself or break through to a new age of enlightenment. As I could not tell which outcome was more likely, I figured breakdown or breakthrough were equally possible and rather than be fearful and fight against the coming apocalypse, I’d fearlessly focus on creating a world of wellness. I then made a decision to devote my life to studying and researching health and wellness thinking this would lead to the most fun and fulfilling life and help me tip the scales when the apocalypse finally came.

More than forty years on, it seems the apocalypse is now upon us and there is a lot of fear going around as governments seem intent on keeping us sick, scared, jobless, helpless and hopeless. To counter this fear I have attempted to condense my 40 years of accumulated medical knowledge into bite size chunks and they seem to be coming out as poetry. This includes my Recipe for Wellness and the Whirl of Wellness, which lists 50 evidenced-based immune-boosting activities that can help you go from wired and tired to chilled and fulfilled. I also shared the 10 Hacks to Relax which serve as emotional first aid that allow you to relax on demand anytime you are scared anxious upset or in pain.

I have now come up with following Antidote to Fear:

Antidote to fear

Foster Love of Poetry
Express yourself through dance
Fill your life with fun and joy
Friendship and Romance

Focus on the world you want
Be the change you want to see
Spread goodwill to all you meet
Live fearless and free

Fear or love: good wolf or bad wolf: which one will you feed? Rather than give into fear or fighting what we don’t want, I believe it is more fruitful to focus on love and creating what we do want. I hope these poems help you focus on what is important. The are certainly helping me.

Hacks to Relax

The best way to overcome viral infection is to be ‘positively well’, which means adopting the Wellness Manifesto, following the ‘Recipe For Wellness‘, staying ‘Chilled And Fulfilled‘ and doing Extreme Wellness Practices so you can explore the limits of your physiology and become an ‘Extreme Being‘. If despite these measures, you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by the current uncertainty, here are 10 simple bio-hacks that can be used as ’emotional first aid’ to help you relax your body, calm your mind and cope with the immediate effects of stress and anxiety.

The “10 Hacks to Relax” are simple actions enable you to ‘relax on demand’ and can be done anywhere, or anytime to relax your body, calm your mind and give you a sense of control anytime you feel anxious, scared, upset or in pain. The ’10 Hacks to Relax’, can be used with children, in classrooms or online, and can help you get a sense of control and relieve the immediate effects of fear and anxiety, if you feel overwhelmed.

The ’10 Hacks to Relax’ are simply:

1. Touch all your fingers
2. Wiggle your toes
3. Soften your stomach
4. Breathe through your nose
5. Sigh
6. Smile
7. Swallow
8. Sing
9. Flutter your eyelids
10. Focus within

Use the ’10 Hacks to Relax’ to ‘focus within’ and access your superpowers so you can deal with the stressful situations that are sure to lie ahead.

The Whirl of Wellness

Hold someone’s handgaze into their eyes
Go barefoot in naturebask in sunrise

Choose a dance partnergo find your groove
Do tai chi or yogamindfully move

Share a massageenjoy healing touch
Focus on one thing and don’t think too much

Make time for a hobbyplay chessfly a kite
Make use of your handsdraw, paint, sew or write

Help someone in needdonate to a cause
Play gamesmeditateread stuff from bookstores

Turn off your screensget a good sleep
De-clutterspark joy, love what you keep

Dig around in a gardenpick up a guitar
Slip into a bathtubsauna, or spa

Care for a pettake up a sport
Go on vacationmake your home a resort

Lie in a hammockrelease pent-up stress
Relax and do nothing, then do even less

Laugh out loudshare a jokegive someone a kiss
Say a prayerchant a mantrafollow your bliss

Each of the 50 activities in this poem boost immunity, relieve anxiety and help you go from wired and tired to chilled and fulfilled and require minimal cost, skills or equipment. Each activity is linked to the scientific evidence to support it with a preference given to more recent articles, systematic reviews and articles that discuss improvements in mental health, immunity and general wellbeing.

Give it a whirl and make the ‘Whirl of Wellness’ your dance of Life.