Therapeutic Eurythmy

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By: Ilse Kolbuszowski

Eurythmy is a movement therapy working with gestures for sounds in speech and music and E.

Eurythmy is a movement therapy working with gestures for sounds in speech and music, and with rhythms and form. It can be very helpful for people who are dying, especially if it is a frightening, uncertain or protracted time. This is a time when the outer constraints are less pressing and the body less energetic but one is open to more sensitive and subtle experiences. At this stage people often accept that there are things we don't see, but which exist. It is a time that seems to offer a re-acquaintance with the body-free realities of our being.

Such experiences can be fostered through eurythmy which helps make the unseen perceptible.

A very pleasing gentle exercise is the wonderful contraction / expansion experience of the lemniscate. The eurythmist takes a copper ball and, starting at the sternum traces a horizontal figure eight at breast height over the patient. The right hand holding the ball goes out to the periphery and back in a loop, passing the ball to the left hand in the middle which then carries it around the left loop and so on. This can be done to a verse of R. Steiner:

Wonder at beauty
Stand guard over truth
Look up to the noble
decide for the good
Leads you on your journey
to goals in your life
To right in your doing
to peace in your feeling
To light in your thoughts
and teaches you trust
In the guidance of God
in all that there is
In world wide space
in depth of soul.

The rhythmic flow of the verse and the steady movement of the arms settles the breathing, calms fears and creates a rhythm.

Another gentle exercise which encourages steady, harmonious breathing is the movement of "M." The exercise is done with both arms at once, one arm stretching forward, while the other moves back to beside the head. The palms always face the direction of the movement, with sensitive outstretched fingers. While not touching, it becomes an experience of perception. The dying person is helped if they do this exercise with one arm, while the eurythmist, or helper, in front of them, does the corresponding gesture of the other arm, so there is a "pushing" and a communication that can be felt. Even people who have never done eurythmy enjoy doing and experiencing something which resonates with their breathing in a harmonious way and which lifts their fear. They can experience a tangible effect. It allows them to say: "I notice that there is something going on," and it is possible for them to follow what is not visible, practicing awareness of things that take place out of the body. Most people at this stage are happy to have such thoughts and experiences. They allow practice for the experiences that will take place after death.

Because eurythmy works with these forces here they are not so strange and baffling afterwards, because you have been in touch with them and the understanding is open—you can glide.

Ilse Kolbusowski is a therapeutic eurythmist in Portland. Editor's Note: Eurythmy at this stage of life should never be done without a professional eurythmist, and never without the patient's willing participation.

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