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

The Discipline of Authentic Movement is a practice of embodied awareness and witness consciousness.  The heart 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 consciously containing what may arise as projections and interpretations. As the witness recognizes their own experience distinct from the mover’s, more space becomes available to the mover to be seen just as they are.

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.

Photo by Masha Timoshenko

Individual Sessions


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Paula introduces the Discipline of Authentic Movement, moving and being moved — seeing and being seen through individual sessions. Following a felt sense of emerging experience, your inner witness strengthens, developing as a more benevolent presence of awareness cultivating embodied awareness and a capacity for deeper relationship, embodied insight and compassion.

Individual sessions are available at Voice Body Mind Healing Collaborative in Providence, RI and Three Stone Studio in Tiverton, RI. I also offer solo retreats for those with experience looking for a more in depth, guided practice — solo retreats are held at Three Stone Studio in Tiverton, RI.

Circles of Four


Circles of Four is a teaching training program, founded by Janet Adler in collaboration with colleagues, for those who wish to teach the Discipline of Authentic Movement.

The emergence of Circles of Four reflects the organic evolution of the discipline itself, a natural shaping into a form manifesting through a post-graduate level program centered in the development of witness consciousness sourced in authentic movement.

Circles of Four Program


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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