A Moving Inquiry: The Art of Personal Practice

by Beth Pettengill Riley and Priscilla Stanton Auchincloss

Is it possible to remain connected to the wholeness of embodied experience, as modern life becomes increasingly disembodied, fragmented and fast-moving? Many people hunger for a meaningful movement practice, but struggle to find it. The movement practice offered in this book is an inquiry into the nature of human flourishing. Our lives are made of movements, and bringing an organizing consciousness to our moment-by-moment experience opens a flow of intelligence from the natural world through our senses and tissues. Instead of living “on the surface,” we can know ourselves as part of nature’s body, connected to nature’s life force. This book is a guide to establishing a personal movement practice that can serve as the foundation of daily life, with the body itself as teacher.



About the Authors

Beth Pettengill Riley is a global leader in somatic movement education and therapy, as well as a seasoned somatic movement activist with over 40 years of experience in facilitating workshops in Continuum, yoga and meditation. She has a master’s in education with a specialization in dance from Stanford University and currently serves as president of the board of the International Somatic Movement and Therapy Association (ISMETA). Beth passionately engages embodiment as a spiritual path and maintains a private practice in Santa Cruz, CA, assisting individuals in finding greater freedom of movement.

Priscilla Auchincloss has been seeking to understand how the world works for most of her life. She earned a doctorate in experimental physics from Columbia University and, as a professor and administrator at the University of Rochester, investigated the role of gender in the culture of science. Finding in movement a way to reclaim a more authentic, elemental and physical life, she left the university, opened a movement studio, and became an authorized teacher of Continuum. She lives and works in Rochester, NY, and continues to explore movement as a path of insight and healing the modern soul.


“As I read A Moving Inquiry, my body’s response was to relax its muscular tone, release its weight into the earth, and slow its breathing. The book invites transformative process through attention, breath, sound, movement, and sensation, at the same time making a compelling case for the importance of establishing a personal practice and providing elegant guidelines for doing so. This work is not only a welcome and much-needed documentation of the discipline of Continuum and the teachings of Emilie Conrad, but also a valuable tool for the entire field of somatic movement. It will be helpful for students, practitioners, and teachers of all somatic disciplines who are interested in personal development through a consistent movement practice that integrates body, mind, and spirit.” —Mark C. Taylor, Director, Center for BodyMindMovement, and author of Embody the Skeleton, A Guide to Conscious Movement

A Moving Inquiry: The Art of Personal Practice, is an exquisite roadmap to the ‘how’ of engaging in a sensuous practice of embodiment based on the philosophy and theory of Continuum. To be in genuine somatic inquiry, knowing body as process and aware of the fluid forces that guide our healing and creative unfolding, is life-changing. Beth and Priscilla have transformed their years of experience into a readable manual with creative suggestions to explore. This book is a welcome addition, relevant for teachers and students alike, and invites us to live with increased compassion and depth of meaning.” —Susan Harper, Founder, Continuum Montage

A Moving Inquiry offers you a guide to exploring health and well-being from within, from the inherent wisdom of your body. Beth and Priscilla open a path for cultivating the ability to appreciate the silent, felt experience of embodiment. More than a manual for another exercise technique, this book teaches you how to understand your body as an ongoing, creative process and how to integrate your movement practice into a life of wholeness.” —Bonnie Gintis, Continuum Teacher, Mindfulness Meditation Teacher, Osteopathic Physician, and author of Engaging The Movement Of Life: Exploring Health and Embodiment Through Osteopathy and Continuum

“If you have a body and live in this crazy world, you need this book. Beth Pettengill Riley and Priscilla Stanton Auchincloss have created a resource to treasure. A Moving Inquiry provides wise step-by-step guidance to living an embodied, connected life, something we all need now more than ever.” —Laura Davis, author of The Courage to Heal Workbook and co-author of The Courage to Heal

“A Moving Inquiry is a wonderful offering.  A practical and wise guide and companion to interconnecting with the mystery of oneself and the whole of life. A journey into intimacy, “in-to-me I see”. —Bob Stahl, Ph.D., co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Living With Your Heart Wide Open, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook for Anxiety, and MBSR Everyday
Book signing at Omega Institute, Summer 2019