Exercise: walking with enlarged body parts.

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

Possible objectives:

  • 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..


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

Time: 7 min

Number of participants: 6 – 50


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.




Sound Ball

Possible outcomes:

  • Practice listening and awareness skills.
  • Practice being present.
  • Practice spontaneity.
  • Builds energy and connection.


Players pass an imaginary ‘energy’ ball to each other in a circle, while cknowledging and creating sounds.

Time: 5 – 10 min
Number of Participants: Optimally 5-10, can run larger circles as demonstration, then split into smaller circles.

Game Flow:

Ask people to stand in a circle. Say, we’re going to throw an imaginary ball to each other.  The person who throws the ball mimes the characteristics (shape, size, consistency and weight) of the ball.  She then makes eye contact with another player and throws the ball to that person.  As she throws the ball she also gives the ball a sound. The person who receives the ball catches it with the same characteristics and sound that it was thrown to him.  The receiver then gives the ball new characteristics and throws it to someone else in the circle with a new sound. Gently correct as needed. Get a good rhythm going. The ‘ball’ should move fluidly and pick up speed in a comfortable way within the group. If people are holding on to the ‘ball’ and breaking the rhythm, after a few passes, pause the game and invite them to see if everyone can keep the rhythm/energy flowing without breaking/pausing.

Debrief Questions:

  • What did that activity encourage you to focus on?
  • What did it feel like if the ball paused?
  • What helped you to do this exercise well?
  • What delighted you?
  • What was hard?

Source: Remy Bertrand. http://www.imprology.com/

Online adaptation

Since people in an online room cannot stand in a circle, make eye contact to draw attention or aim the ball in the direction of the person they want to catch it, the following  adaptations can be made:

  1. The names of participants are visible on the screen, therefore, in order to throw the ball to someone, simply call out their name so they know it is for the.
  2. Encourage people to use distance from the camera as a way to create variety in the size and movement of the ball:  move away from the camera for big high energy balls and come closer for smaller and  more sluggish,  balls.
  3. Because of time lag, it can be tricky to foster a collective rhythm. However, you may still be able to speed up the game and create fluidity as people get into its flow.

Thank you, Alison Gitelson, for playing this game with me online and teaching me more about how to adapt it for online rooms!