Caroline North, Pilates and Movingness teacher, teaching a class in Sheffield, UK

How I learned the somatic language of my body

May 05, 2024

“Every movement practice in which I have trained has opened my eyes, mind and body and given me another perspective on the exploration of human movement,” writes Caroline North, Pilates and Movingness teacher in Sheffield, UK.

By  Caroline North

From an early age, I had a passion for learning languages, both spoken and physical. In my twenties, I had always applied for jobs that required using my language skills in French, German and Italian. 

In 2007, after being a stay-at-home mum for 10 years in Sheffield, UK, I took on a post as a Teaching Assistant and looked into training as a Primary School Teacher. Around the same time, I joined a class at a local Body Control Pilates Studio in Sheffield, UK. For me, Pilates offered more than a workout. I loved it!  

After a few months, the Pilates Teacher announced that she was looking to train someone to teach in her studio… And that was it! 

For me, Pilates offered more than a workout. I loved it!


Listening to my gut feeling

When I feel that rush of excitement from my belly and literally want to laugh at the thought of doing something challenging or something that takes me away from my expected behavior, then I know I’m tapping into something that resonates for me. 

So, in 2008, at the age of 43, I made the decision to train as a Body Control Pilates Teacher, which surprised and even worried some people, my parents in particular. It was shortly after my divorce and I felt a strong pull to make some dramatic changes and do something new and challenging. I have always enjoyed being physically active, but I truly did not anticipate the impact the training as a Pilates Teacher would have on my whole life.

After qualifying as a teacher, I kept the part-time Teaching Assistant’s job while I set up a few Pilates classes. They took off, so a few months later I left the school job and turned my attention to building my Pilates business. For the first 10 years, I continued to train, taking Body Control Pilates courses on their teacher training syllabus.

Whilst Pilates group matwork classes are the mainstay of my business, in 2022 I set up a studio at my home in Sheffield. From there, I now teach the Reformer, Exo-Chair and the Arc – a few pieces of the classic Pilates equipment.

Teaching classic Pilates in my studio in Sheffield.


Adding more tools

My Pilates career has literally kept me going, physically, mentally and financially. My passion for training and teaching in movement has never waned and I am constantly exploring other movement modalities.

Looking to add an outdoor element for my clients I trained as a Nordic Walking instructor with Nordic Walking UK in 2010 and then with British Nordic Walking in 2021. It is a great way to improve aerobic fitness and achieve an effective whole-body workout. In Scandinavia this technique is taught in schools and, in my opinion, everyone should try it. The afterglow is worth it! 

In 2014 a Pilates teacher, based in York, asked if I would like to join a course with Kit Laughlin, the founder of Stretch Therapy. I had never heard of him, or this technique, but it sounded interesting! Stretch Therapy took stretching to another level. It is often described as a method of fascial remodeling, which is both gentle yet often deeply unraveling. I learned to really listen to my body. My post-stretch glow was followed by the most restorative deep sleep. The sense of ease in my body felt so very different after 3 days of Stretch Therapy. Dare I say it was another transformational experience? But it was! 

At this point in time, I was on a quest, head down and body more than willing to delve into the subject of fascia, so I took more courses: 

  • Anatomy Trains and Walking the Lines with James Earls 
  • Anatomy Trains, Bodyreading with Tom Myers; followed by 
  • Anatomy Trains in Motion, Slings Essentials & Slings in Motion I, II & III – with Karin Gurtner, the founder of Art of Motion

Karin’s courses in Toledo, Spain, were a wonderful immersion into the world of fascia and interoception. Her teaching is a blend of new adaptations of Pilates and Yoga movements. It is an enriching exploration of movement focused on the health-promoting qualities of the myofascial system which positively influences postural balance and movement efficiency. 

Nordic Walking – such a great way to achieve an effective whole-body workout! 


A shift in my teaching

Humans have a basic physical and psychological need to move the body. The one job we all have in life is to look after ourselves… to give both body and mind the best experiences possible… to give ourselves the best life we can. Every movement practice in which I have trained has opened my eyes, mind and body and given me another perspective on the exploration of human movement. It would seem that like-minded movement teachers (and our clients) have a need and desire to keep learning about how to treat both body and mind. And the definitions of treat being:

  • to give care and attention, as well as
  • to find a source of pleasure

Over time my Pilates practice has become more of a Somatic practice. My first years of teaching Pilates were based almost entirely on ‘instructions and movement cues’, teaching what was called ‘Classic Mat’. After training in Stretch Therapy, I was wholly immersed in the body. While working with partners to assist with the stretches, I felt a shift in my teaching, in my tactile cues, and certainly in my own body.

“Caroline allows people to find their individual best achievable body mobility in a multitude of ways”, one of Caroline’s students once wrote.


Not like any other practice

In 2018, after 10 years of training and accumulating qualifications and certificates, I felt the need to take a short pause. So, as unsettling and dramatic as Covid was, it gave me the opportunity to take time to reflect on my own movement practice. And that is when I took the opportunity to start training with Peter Appel on his Movingness teacher training. 

Having trained in several movement practices, I have found myself drawn to those in which there is a simple principle of allowing. This means that you’re not forcing the body into a position or holding a pose for too long, nor pushing yourself beyond comfort just to ‘get it right’. In my experience, body and mind are more receptive to change when it feels safe and these small changes can create a ripple effect of ease in both mind and body. 

I had a strong feeling that Movingness was the key to coming home to my body and I found myself being quietly drawn towards Peter’s approach to movement. Everything I had trained in over the years was gently laid to one side. My inclination was to allow my body to unfold, yield, unravel, and find its own way.

I found that Movingness is not like any other practice I have trained in before. There are often no set postures, precise instructions on how to move, nor suggestions of how one might feel, neither emotionally nor physically, whether before, during, or after the practice. The movements are to be experienced ‘in the moment’ and, because of that, each practice session feels new and exciting and, above all, personal to oneself. 


A deep, intense focus

The invitation to practice Movingness is a delight – noticing the inclination to explore movements, perhaps stumbling upon some new sensation, although not anticipating or expecting anything. I find it reassuring and unraveling all at the same time. Reassuring, in that you are only moving in a way in which your body feels inclined in the moment. A sense of unraveling arises as a result of noticing unexpected sensations and emotions. 

My training during the Earth Series was transformational. Lying down on my mat I followed Peter’s instructions for Emptying the head and practiced the simple, gentle, and slow movements combined with natural, easeful breathing. Immersing myself in the experience gave rise to a deep, intense focus that allowed me to release tension in my upper body.

This gentle practice allows the body’s inner knowing and curiosity to unfold and helps you find your own way in and out of suggested movement sequences. It helps to pay attention to how your body reacts and behaves in the moment, and see where your body takes you... so allowing you to learn the somatic language of your own body.

Caroline North 


Caroline North is a Movingness teacher based in Sheffield, UK – “officially the greenest city in the UK with more trees than people!” Caroline teaches a unique blend of movement practices including Movingness, Pilates, Stretch Therapy & Slings Myofascial Training. She teaches weekly group classes in person and on Zoom. Private sessions using the classic Pilates studio equipment: Reformer, ExoChair and Pilates Arc, are taught in her studio in S17. She also enjoys teaching Nordic Walking in Sheffield’s green spaces and the beautiful nearby Peak District.

You can reach Caroline here!  


A deep somatic experience!

Movingness is a new movement method for deep somatic experiences. Curious how it works? Please, try this short sequence and feel for yourself!

Yes, I’m curious!