Barbara Archer, Movingness teacher and somatic movement facilitator

How somatic movement helped me find my own unique expression

Apr 14, 2024

“After many years in the somatic field, I finally found my own rhythm and experienced my unique movement dance at my own pace,” writes Barbara Archer.

By Barbara Archer, Movingness teacher and somatic movement facilitator

‘Am I doing it right?’

During my many years of teaching yoga, this was probably the question most asked by students. I think it’s natural in class to look around at what others are doing, compare, and perhaps wonder if you’re in the posture correctly. Or if you have understood the guidance from the teacher.

However, rather than letting the posture inhabit their body, there was sometimes a desire to push the body to make it ‘fit’. Over the years, my answer to this question became: ‘How does it feel?’ The phrase came to me one day when I wanted a student to appreciate the difference between ‘Is this right?’ and ‘Does it feel good?’


Does it feel right?

As a teacher, my intention is to empower rather than overpower students. A tricky balance when we have so much influence in the language we use. By asking I was trying to guide students to feel the sensation of being inhabited by a posture or technique. In other words, if something felt right, then it usually was, for them, at that moment in time.

I would mention that just as the shoes they’d left outside the yoga room were all different in size, shape, and the wear on the sole, so are our bodies. We are all unique.

This was a thought-provoking aspect of teaching for me. It made me more focused on student participation – asking for their views when moving into and out of the postures and sequences. And in that process, hopefully giving them more confidence to choose the right way for themselves. With an increasing fascination with how movement happens, I started my journey towards somatics.

My somatic experiences have made me understand the need to focus on movement moving through me.


An abundance of resources

I had read Emilie Conrad’s Life on Earth and started to practice with a Continuum Movement tutor in New York. At that time back in 2010, it was revolutionary for me to practice with so little structure. Self-discovery in physical fluidity and expression was at the forefront of the Continuum ‘dives’, and it became a fruitfully emotional time for me.

I then moved on to study with Kaila June, also a dancer, deep thinker, and mover. Her Somatic Groundwork complemented the process that I’d started with Continuum but seemed stronger physically. Both Continuum and Somatic Groundwork were conceived and largely inhabited by dancers or ex-dancers, and I sometimes found that I was pushing myself and competing with myself to achieve some movements that were not meant for me at that time. This time I found myself asking the question: ‘Am I doing it Right?’ I believe that if you’re new to something there’s a desire to learn, but also to fit in and please your tutor. But as a wise teacher once told me ‘Expectation often leads to disappointment’.

My year with Feldenkrais exercises aligned me with the ground and the practice of intricate movement connections, but the length of the lessons was too long for me. Although the physical changes were often profound, after a while I found myself unable to fully engage. The Bones for Life Method, which I studied for another year or so, provided more engagement, but I felt overloaded with detail.

All these somatic disciplines and training have added hugely to my understanding of the need to focus on movement moving through me, and this is what I now try to express through my teaching. Yoga (which I interpret as balance) has not disappeared entirely from my teaching, but postures ‘emerge’ now rather than being incorporated into my lesson plans. My time spent individually with students is also much more focused and appropriate, because of such a rich resource of past practices.

I found a deep sense of relaxation and emerging energy


Mind and body expanding

Then I happened across Movingness a couple of years ago, via a recommendation made by Donna Farhi on her Facebook Page. Through my first short experience of the Earth Series, it felt like I had come home to my body. The elements of grounding and breath resonated with my years of studying Scaravelli yoga with Monica Voss, Sandra Sabatini, and John Stirk.

It felt like Movingness was what I had been guided towards, and where I was meant to be at this point in my life. The practice felt so familiar and yet so different. It was as though I could look inside my moving body and see how it related to the World. It took me no time at all to decide to join the Movingness training program which was hugely mind and body expanding.

Here I could let my body soar and my breath ‘sing’. The progression of ‘human life on earth’ practices offered the freedom to finally find my own rhythm and experience my unique movement dance at my own pace. Nothing about the practice feels hurried. There’s no pursuit, just a deep sense of relaxation and emerging energy.

The simplicity is the real appeal to me.


With an open mind and heart

Since becoming a Movingness Teacher last year I’ve encountered some of the ‘needing to know’ issues raised by students. Still, through encouragement to follow their own movement pathways in this guided but not literal practice, they express themselves in a different way. This also happens through the practice of sharing experiences at the end of a class. This was very tentative to start with but given space and a little encouragement feedback arises – and I wonder large at the variety of experiences they have.

When I first explored somatic movement, it seemed relatively delineated in its approach. Now, as with the World, there is so much on offer that a novice can be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed by the choice of somatic approaches. Simplicity is the real appeal of Movingness to me. It really is accessible to all, and is not dependent on age, ability, or background.

All that’s needed is an open mind and heart, a sense of curiosity about what we are experiencing in the moment, and an interest in ‘how we are moving through life’.

Barbara Archer


Barbara Archer is a Movingness teacher and a Somatic Movement Facilitator, living in Derbyshire, UK.

Barbara’s practice and teaching take inspiration from the Movingness training and her extensive background in yoga and somatic instruction. The beautiful surrounding countryside adds light and contrast through the changing seasons. Online courses or individual tuition are available.

You can reach Barbara 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!