Exercise: walking with enlarged body parts.

Great for helping people get into their bodies and conect with tacit knowledge

Possible outcomes

  • To get the group into their bodies and into the present moment.
  • To increase participants’ awareness of themselves in space with other people.
  • To lift the energy and mood.
  • To elicit conversations regarding the body, how it is presentedand how it is perceived..

Overview:

Participants walk in the space imagining that alternate body parts become inflated and oversized.

Time: 7 min

Number of participants: 6 – 50

Flow:

Facilitator asks participants to walk in the space concentrating on filling gaps that they see open up. She asks them to bring awareness to each body part from the toes up to the scalp, calling every body part by name and asking them to breathe life into it. Next she asks participants to walk as if they have inflated body parts e.g.:

  • Feet the size of mini vans,
  • Hands with fingers like canoes
  • Bums the size of busses
  • A head the size of a hot air balloon
  • A heart the size of a star ship.

Each time suggest things they try to do with the inflated body part (pick up a ball, get into an elevator etc.). Between body parts, let the inflated part return to normal before blowing up the next one.

Debriefing questions

  1. What was that like?
  2. What do you think is the point of this exercise?
  3. What changes do you notice in yourself or the group compared to before this exercise/series of exercises?
  4. Were there any specific moments that brought up an emotional response different than the others? Explain?
  5. What does this mean to you?
  6. What did we learn about our bodies, how we presnt or perceive them/ or the bodies of others?
  7. What does this mean to us?

Facilitator note: I once did this exercise with a group of 30 or sostudents. At least three of them responded indignantly and one very agrily towards the moment of walking with enlarged back sides. One said it reminded her too much of the negative and , in her view, degrading image of the large bottomed black woman stereotype. She chise to sit in the middle of the floor and not move. Another student agreed and berated me for putting them in this difficult situation. I needed to calm the situation down and explain that the game is neutral, but that their reations are important and valuable food for reflection. It was after this experience that I added the forth outcome above and the last few reflection questions. It just goes to sjow, there is knowledge in the body and we can never know what body work may conjure up for participants.

 

 

 

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