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Sweat Your Prayers Paperback – December 28, 1998


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"Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God"
Browse the latest book from pastor Joe Thorn containing 50 down-to-earth meditations on God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Learn more
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Sweat Your Prayers + Maps to Ecstasy: The Healing Power of Movement + The Ecstatic Dance: The Gabrielle Roth Video Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Lest you think that spirituality is relegated to the higher mind, Sweat Your Prayers is a reminder that our bodies are indeed cradles of the soul. Physical movement can be a potent medium for spiritual awakening, according to Gabrielle Roth, who has dedicated much of her life to teaching and exploring the holy rewards of dance. The soul has five natural rhythms, explains Roth: flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical, and stillness. She teaches us how to identify our natural rhythms, but she also encourages us to practice dancing through all five rhythms in order to become more whole, evolved, and complete beings. Roth is also an acclaimed music producer who has released numerous compact discs that work as excellent dance companions to this energizing book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

"The soul can only be present when body and spirit are one," exclaims Roth (Maps to Ecstasy) in this amiably free-flowing spiritual autobiography. She goes on to explain how dance can be the path to soul or true self. Roth discovered dance as a means of self-initiation and integration through a career that began with a stint as a massage therapist at the wellspring of the human potential movement, Esalen Institute. There, Fritz Perls invited Roth to teach movement to his therapy groups. Prodding her physically frozen students to sense their bodies and breathe, Roth quickly discovered that "two hours of moving were as powerful as two years on the couch." She came to isolate five rhythms related to five archetypes or states of being. Roth claims that even terminally inhibited people can learn to enter these rhythms and sense how it feels to inhabit "mother, mistress, madonna, father, son and holy spirit." The three feminine archetypes follow a flowing rhythm, according to Roth, while the energy of the masculine archetypes corresponds to a staccato rhythm. Roth discovered that when the masculine and feminine fuse, a rhythm of fertile chaos results, as in acts of artistic creation or love. The resolution of chaos is the lightness and liberation of a lyrical rhythm, while stillness is the most profound rhythm of all. Roth's entertaining, appealingly conversational tale, full of breezy asides about Manhattan restaurants and scenes, will tantalize readers into believing that dancing is indeed a joyful way to "sweat" prayers, to seek our innermost truths as they are lived, in movement. 50,000 first printing; One Spirit Book Club alternate; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (December 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874779596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874779592
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Elderbear VINE VOICE on November 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
"When you finally commit yourself completely to a creative act, knots inside you will loosen." (p. 128)
We can sort spiritual paths and psychological techniques by how the approach the human body. Gabrielle Roth's book serves as a useful adjunct to those paths that honor the body, rather than ignoring or minimizing it. For the atheists and agnostics out there, this book can also be used at a psychological level, and does not necessitate belief in "prayer" as a sacrament. In the book Roth presents five archetypal rhythms that help break some of the self-destructive patterns of Western culture and re-unite the practitioner with his or her spirit.
Roth begins the book with a brief autobiography, which also serves to establish her bona fides for writing a work on the spiritual/psychological use of dance and movement. She challenges the Western dismemberment of flesh from soul, body from spirit, she reclaims the chthonic and carnal. "The soul can only be present when body and spirit are one; it cannot breathe, exist, or move disconnected from the body." (p. 4) This book is her testimony to how we can retrieve our souls through our bodies.
Roth introduces the idea of the dance as a spiritual practice. She gives examples from her own life, challenges a list of excuses (I hate my body ... I'm too old ... I'm too shy). Then she offers "the only dance lesson you'll ever need:" Everybody has to find their own way, in their own time/space constraints to practice. She reminds us that "life is rhythm" and we need only participate in that rhythm consciously to be dancing, to be re-weaving body and soul.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I was raised in a religious tradition that views the body as the source of sin and the antithesis of spirit. Over the years, most of my physical activity (e.g., yoga) has focussed on disciplining the body so that it wouldn't get in the way of the soul's higher aspirations. Although I enjoyed dancing in social settings, I considered this merely one of the crass earthly pleasures, and never took myself seriously as a dancer because I don't have a "dancer's body." Then last year, at the age of 50-plus, in a moment of "Oh, what the h*ll" I succumbed to a long-standing fascination with belly dancing and signed up for a class. It's been a revelation: not only am I stronger and fitter, but I've become friends with my body as never before.
Gabrielle Roth went through a similar process, and the results are embodied in her workshops, videos, music CDs, and, now, this book. Genuinely respecting one's body as a partner to the soul is a radical notion for most of us. Roth appeals to our intuition (our gut feelings!) as well as our rational mind, and the book is not only thought-provoking but exciting on many levels. Her passion, vitality, and enthusiasm are well expressed through her writing; she phrases her thoughts memorably, and the book is an unmitigated pleasure to read. While I don't buy all of her quasi-Jungian view of personality, one doesn't have to to appreciate the book or the author's general approach to dance as a spiritual practice. Heartily recommended, and deserves reading and rereading.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 27, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Roth begins with a beautiful poetic autobiog-journey about her own body and how she came to be doing her work in trance-dance/movement as spiritual practice. The book then explores her framework of five rhythms, and also delves into her view of archetypes within everyone . . . dual trinities, one male and one female. I didn't quite embrace all of it, but it's provocative. If you are new to Roth's work and want to try "sweating your prayers" at home, her 1993 video "The Wave", which is excellent, is where to start, but the book gives a deeper look at her work and explores why people yearn for this kind of movement. Also, Roth's personality is rich, theatrical, warm, sassy, genuine . . . it was a pleasure to get to know her through this book.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I love her music. I really liked Maps to Ecstasy. I think this book is a bit overwrought in its attempt to assign such specific archetypal labels to each of the rhythms. Every few pages or so, all I wanted to do was toss the book, turn on the stereo and move around some--and forget all the psychobabble. I found it cumbersome and tiresome. At some point, you just gotta shutup and dance...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
this book came into my life at a crucial time and re-awakened something in me that had been dormant for too long. gabrielle is an urban shaman, leading the reader through the 5 rhythms (of movement AND of life), the various corresponding archetypes (son, father, holy spirit, mistress, mother and madonna, just to name a few), and her own personal experiences to elucidate and bring to light her system of seeing and being in the world. This book rocks, and for anyone who ever felt the divine spark within dance or movement, wondered about the mysticism within a trance-state, or anyone who feels stuck in their present life situation, this is required reading! Not only does gabrielle root her philosophy and practice in the physical, her work is such that the body becomes a vehicle for psychological and spiritual growth and unfoldment... if you don't believe me or can't figure out how she could do that, all i can recommend is that you buy this book and see it for yourself. it's beautiful. btw, this book turned me on to gabrielle's cd's to dance/move to, and also propelled me to work with a 5 rhythm movement teacher in my area. gabrielle is a clear, radiant, joyous, intimate, guiding light within our congested and toxic world. read this book, absorb it and enrich your life.
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