Humans Being - Embodied Movement Meditation with Cathy Ryan


At the age of 19 after an intensive and wonderful two years actors training at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College, Dublin I spent many years working as an actor. Time included work with the Royal Court Theatre London, the Library Theatre Manchester and the Riverside Studios London. I continued to do workshops and further trainings with Philippe Gaulier, Theatre De Complicite, Theatre Du Soleil and the Corn Exchange, drawn to the physicality of being present through an awake and receptive body, ready to respond, listen, embody and share different aspects of the human being as an actor.

As a set of tools for exploring what it is to be a human, the stories, the journeys, the connections we have to ourselves, each other and the world around us, theatre and embodied movement practice are a powerful combination. I have collaborated with theatre companies such as Origin in New York City, ( Guna Nua in Dublin ( and Clod Ensemble in London as a movement facilitator. I am currently an associate on Clod Ensemble's Performing Medicine programme. (

In my late teens and twenties I travelled a lot in Europe, Africa, Mexico, South America and Nepal. I read a lot, wrote some, watched a host of cinema and followed my nose, heart, longing and curiosity about what it is to be a human being from the roots of my liberal Catholic Irish background to dancing and teaching the 5 Rhythms®, Shamanic practice and Open Floor embodied movement practice. Along the way, amongst other adventures I have explored time living in community in Findhorn, some time at the Sayme Ling monastery in Dumfries, vision quests and meditations, yoga, tai chi, clubbing and loving.

I came across the 5 Rhythms® up in Findhorn in 1998 and was pretty much hooked straight away. Here was a place I could dance and move my way into a deeper awareness and exploration of who I am and what I'm connected to as a human, my body, my emotions, my personal history and stories, my creativity, my connections and ways of relating to others, my relationship to Spirit, the land. I apprenticed to Gabrielle Roth and danced and studied the practice extensively and intensively for 6 years, did the teacher training in 2004 followed by the Heartbeat training in 2009.

Over the past ten years I have also trained and worked in traditional shamanic practices with Chris Luttichau of Northern Drum ( and continue to do so, I have recently completed a training with Chris to hold Sweat Lodges and Vision Quests.

For more or less the same period I have been working with Helen Poynor ( With her I continue to explore the movement of the body and where it leads me to, solo, with others, and in particular the moving body in relationship to the natural environment - sea, sky, rock.

The last year has seen me become a founding member of Open Floor International, a school of embodied movement practice – healing through movement, reflection, exploration, creativity, community.

I write and occasionally perform poetry, I've had a booklet of poems called I Dare You published by Tall Lighthouse (



"Cathy has so many years of experience and wisdom both on and off the dance floor. Her passion for life is inspiring, dance with her, bring your willingness to wake up, be switched on and enjoy the ride. You are in extremely capable hands and held in a compassionate heart."

(Sue Rickards, 5 Rhythms® teacher,

"I have danced and participated in and benefited from Cathy's classes and workshops in Oxford, London and Ireland. She works with clarity, openness, insight and precision.  She tempers honesty with humour, challenge with grace and holds a space and a group with deep integrity which allows the human body to move and the soul to flourish in trust, safety and honesty. In deep appreciation."

(Annie Davy, facilitator and writer for human, organisational and community development

"I came across Cathy Ryan when I started to discover the 5 Rhythms® just over 2 years ago now. The space is always very well held to accept the comfortable and the uncomfortable. As a teacher of the 5 Rhythms® for me she simply gets out of the way. She allows the Rhythms to do the work. Simple at first but things naturally do arise when you move your body and I feel she is always there to support you in that process. I feel very lucky to call her my teacher and recommend her work and her classes to one and all. find out for yourself!"

(Ajay Rajani)

"Cathy fearlessly adapts to different environments and institutions when working with us at Clod Ensemble. She seems to find it easy to connect with people whether they are dancers, actors, doctors or medical students ...
Her strength as a teacher is her ability to be completely present wherever she is and respond authentically to whatever and whoever is in the room with her. She creates a refreshingly non-judgmental, unsentimental, open space where people can discover themselves, others and the juiciness of the world around them."

(Suzy Willson, Artistic Director of Clod Ensemble