Rhythm Is The Answer: A Playlist To Dance Your Way Through The Summer

By Marisol Rascon

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A few years ago I came across a RadioLab podcast discussing the inner workings of music. They explored how it works in the brain and investigated musical anhedonia, the inability to enjoy music. This was the first time I had heard about it but apparently about 3-5% of the population have it. Through mri studies researchers found that those with musical anhedonia lack activation in the reward center of the brain through auditory stimulus. My mind was blown. I had never thought of what life might be like if I was unable to enjoy music.

For as long as I can remember music was just part of life. Certain songs instantly conjure memories of learning to dance cumbias in the living room with my mom, weekend barbeques with family jam sessions in the garage, in my 20s the dance floor was my therapy and the safety of the dance floor allowed me to shake off the heaviness of life, later mantra helped me find my voice to salvage all the good parts and stitch them back together.  

As an empath I often feel what’s going on in my environment or with others. This skill has been a great gift but can often be overwhelming. It was a welcome relief when I came across Dr. Masaru Emoto’s study on the effect of sound vibrations on water molecules suggesting that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water. It seems natural that humans would be impacted deeply by (sound)vibration since the adult body is comprised of at least 50% water with the highest water content found in the brain and heart and research linking the relationship of our brain’s reward center to auditory stimulus. It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to see that our mind and heart is in constant response to the inner ripples created by sound.

Gabrielle Roth developed a beautiful system of movement called 5 Rhythms. The theory is that you can utilize the different rhythms to release and heal, “They teach us that life is energy in motion, freeing us from any fixed notions about people, places, objects or ideas.” The dance classes take you through those identified rhythms in a free flow intuitive movement guided by intentionally curated music sets that include the specific structure; Flowing Staccato Chaos Lyrical Stillness® she developed. Healing through dance and music is not new but it’s exciting to see research that may inspire people use sound vibrations as a healing tool to clear the rivers inside.

We are in a beautiful dance together and I would like to invite you to take your imagination for a spin. This playlist is a collection of songs that got me moving, singing, tapping, snapping, and/or smiling. Typically in class I have a more traditional mantra and raga inspired playlist but I put this together in the middle of the hottest day of summer and what came through was a water splashing daydream colored collection. It will pair nicely with a lazy Sunday, an icy beverage by the pool, a ride to the beach, or a backdrop to prepping food for friends.

“Rhythm is your personal virtue. Your life will not have all good times, but if your rhythm is perfect, you can go through it very nicely. All depends upon how rhythmic you are; how rhythms serve you and how you keep your rhythm going through all attacks, outside and inside. Life is a challenge and rhythm is the answer.” Yogi Bhajan