An article by Phiroz Mehta. Theorhythm was practised and taught by Phiroz in the 1920s and 1930s
In an age of swiftly moving events, when fresh lines of advancement are constantly unfolding, up-to-date and efficient methods are constantly sought.
For our cultural growth and physical well-being we need methods of development and expression especially suited to modern conditions.
Theorhythm fulfils this need. Though well ahead of its time it is rapidly emerging out of its infancy; already there are centres in all the principal cities of Europe, where many great artists, business men and medical practitioners have seriously taken it up.
In America, the head of the International School of Theorhythm, Mr. E. Jack Burton, has won the keen enthusiasm of men like Claude Bragdon. And India, Australia and South Africa are having an increasingly large number of adherents. Theorhythm trains the body, emotions and mind to co-ordinate with each other.
Through scientific relaxation, rhythmic breathing and gesture, bodies of refined strength, nervous vitality, and vigorous brain activity are built. Using grace and beauty as the basis of such development, each individual recreates of himself a fitting vehicle to express all his mental and aesthetic faculties. Thus he eliminates the obstacles to free self-expression and to the happy enjoyment of his natural capacities and talents.
Students of Theorhythm educe their own special gifts and talents which lie within, intelligently and efficiently. Growth is spontaneous and natural, as an open-air flower — unlike a hothouse plant. This is true education. A great educationalist said quite recently, “Live as unto the life and not as unto the form. The form can never be more than the servant of life. Form is the mode of growth; life is the end.” And perhaps the greatest function of Theorhythm as education is to understand and release the life within, to successfully manipulate our interplay with individuals and circumstances, to create the attitude which unceasingly sees truth and beauty.
The city worker and business man suffer deprivation of the clean, healthy countryside, the invigorating outdoor sport and exercises of open spaces. His business capacity depends on the efficient, co-ordinated functioning of his brain, nerves and bodily health. Such efficiency is secured by the votary of Theorhythm in an aesthetic and pleasurable manner, devoid of the ennui often attendant upon the practitioner of “physical jerks.” Observation, skill in manipulation, and co-ordination, are inevitable results, for Theorhythm is not a mechanical, stereotyped system of movement, but a plastic, individual and free means of self-expression.
It is a creative art, and to the artist Theorhythm serves as an invaluable preliminary training and as an adjunct. I can personally avouch this; relaxation and co-ordination particularly help me as a pianist. Harmony, balance, sense of the beautiful in colour, shape and movement, and technical control — these are some of the qualities the Theorhythm develops. A close contact with Nature and her beauty as manifest through wind and rain, sea and sky and sun and cloud, and the rich, loving earth, is deliberately sought. To experience the significance of Nature, besides admiring her objectivity, is one of our aims.
Phiroz Mehta practicing Theorhythm
The simplicity of the bodily practices enable child and adult equally to perform them easily and gracefully. A child’s vivid, intense life, its superabundant energy, here find an active creative mode of expression. Energy is not frittered away. Until relaxation is learnt, until co-ordination is practised, no conservation of energy, no saving of toil and effort is possible for anyone — be he business man, artist, child or student.
The practice of Theorhythm brings healing through the power it releases. In a disciplined, healthy body directed by a happy, confident mind, negatively or a sense of inferiority, nervous ailments and susceptibility to disease can have no place.
Does anybody teach theorhythm any more? A quick Google search doesn’t turn up very much.
Ian, 26th October 2020
He inspires me to want to be a better person, to be better in this life.
Beth, 21st January 2017
The words of a great man, a man so knowledgeable and at one with his true self. There will few others who now cometh that can teach us with such wisdom.
David Littlewood, 25th February 2006