Discipline of Authentic Movement

“An embodied mystical practice which invites the possibility of transformation into new ways of knowing, must include the light and shadow of personality to become integrated into a contemporary life. In the early years of the developmental process of an individual’s inner journey toward such wholeness, psychological and energetic phenomena experienced in the body are distinguished from one another. With continued practice and study, the personal realms and the transpersonal realms are not experienced as separate.”

~ Janet Adler from The Mandorla and the Discipline of Authentic Movement


I began studying the Discipline of Authentic Movement with founder, Janet Adler, in 1994 and I have been teaching the discipline since 2001. I currently offer individual sessions and small group practice at Voice Body Mind Healing Collaborative in Providence and also individual sessions and multi-day solo and group retreats at Three Stone Studio in Tiverton, RI.

The Discipline of Authentic Movement is a practice of embodied awareness and witness consciousness.  The ground of the discipline is the relationship between mover and witness, between moving and being moved, between seeing and being seen. The heart of this work, whether one is moving or witnessing, is the inner witness developing toward new ways of knowing and compassionate presence. It is a developmental process cultivating a more intimate connection to oneself, to others, to nature and the numinous.

In the presence of an experienced outer witness, the mover can choose to follow an impulse to move or be still, discovering a felt sense of emerging experience. In the process, the inner witness strengthens, developing as a more benevolent inner presence of awareness in an evolving process of becoming.

The primary intention of the outer witness is to pay attention to their own inner experience while tracking the spatial, temporal, and physical journey of the mover. A seasoned outer witness, evolving from practice as a mover, has a well-developed inner witness, capable of separating their own experience from the mover’s and of discerning any tendency to judge, interpret, or project their own experience onto that of the mover.

After the ritual and non-verbal practice of moving and witnessing, the ritual practice of speaking and listening gives rise to consciously embodied language. As Janet Adler writes, “For both mover and witness the intention toward the practice of thoughtful speech is central to the development of the discipline.”

Over time and on-going practice of seeing oneself in the presence of an outer witness, the mover may discover a longing to see another clearly. This leads organically to the practice of silent witnessing. The role of silent witness brings an opportunity to become more aware of one’s own processes of perception and projection. The gifts of silence and containment, followed by reflection or supervision with one’s teacher supports development toward the responsibility of becoming a speaking witness.

Multi-day group retreats provide students of the discipline, experienced in moving and witnessing, the opportunity to continue inner growth within a collective body. Each individual’s presence and maturing inner witness, contributes to a sense of the whole. Experiences of energetic phenomena and inherent order become more palpable and known. At such times, Janet Adler writes, “Witnesses become aware of an aesthetic, a mysterious yet vivid perception, a recognition of a sensitivity that seems to emanate completely naturally, timely, from within a mover or group of movers.”  Within a circle of individuals, each one committing to presence whether as mover or witness, consciousness of the collective body grows.


Learn more…

Discipline of Authentic Movement

The Mandorla and the Discipline of Authentic Movement by Janet Adler  

Circles of Four – A program for those interested in becoming a teacher of the Discipline of Authentic Movement. 


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