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Body Movements for Growing Down

Chapter 16 Growing Down With Body Movement

Growing Down - Tools for

Healing the Inner Child

By: James J. Messina, Ph.D. &

Constance M. Messina, Ph.D.

What is Growing Down with Body Movements?

Movement activities allow us to communicate with the whole of our being. We live in bodies that want to move. There is a joy in moving through space, of exploring the inner and outer worlds. Movement activities bring us more in harmony with ourselves and others. Movement can be a path to deeper levels of experience. Movement bridges mind and body and opens creative channels. These experiences connect us with our inner sensations, feelings and needs. How we feel about ourselves is grounded in our body image. Our innermost sense of being lives through the body and movement nurtures it, keeping it alive and growing. We explore who we are and how we feel about ourselves through our bodies and our movement. The selfconcept is as inevitably rooted in our bodies as it is in our minds.


Materials needed

Space, bubbles, balloons, feathers, stuffed animals, percussion instruments (drums).



There are no wrong movements, nor are there any wrong answers when movement is explored. With most of the following activities, appropriate music enhances the results.


Personal Movement Activities

Body Parts:  With accompanying music, move different parts of your body in all the ways you can think of, (shoulders, chin, arms, legs, etc.).


Bubbles: Using a bubble solution blow bubbles, follow them, be them.


Feeling: Let your body be a feeling machine. Let your arms and legs paint a feeling inside of you. Possibilities for feelings: sadness, joy, anger, fear, etc.


Stuck and Unstuck: Try sticking a part of you to the floor. Explore all the ways you can to move the part of you that is not stuck. Begin to become unstuck. Try sticking one part of your body to another and move around the room with those parts stuck. Feel the frustration of being stuck with a negative feeling. The activity can be done with individuals being stuck in patterns of movement. Try to discover a way to get unstuck. Try sticking parts of you to chairs.


Partner Movement Activities

Sculpture: Using a percussion instrument, beat four counts loudly and four counts softly. On the loud beat freeze your body into a sculpture or a design. On the soft beat, breathe and let your body melt and come unglued. Possibilities for sculptures: people in the family, TV characters, fairy tales.


Feelings Free: Partners alternate holding and releasing positions. The first partner finds a position. The second partner copies it. Then they both shake loose ready to resume other positions. Possibilities for positions: feeling nervous, scared, good, feeling at home, feeling like a race car in motion or frozen in the middle of a turn, the way to meet someone, shyly, loudly, confidently, a position that says: Right now I feel _____.


Sculptor: Partners take turns sculpting each other into various situations (fairy tale characters, flowers, animals, occupations, feelings, sports activities).


Group Movement Activities

Life moving: Find a comfortable space. Each member of the group when designated will move from one spot to another: the way you see yourself moving through your life right now, the way others see you moving through your life right now, and the way you would like to be moving through your life.


Opposites: Have the group experience opposites. Start with huge and let the body and movements develop huge. Once complete, then develop tiny. Straight lines versus curved lines. Loud versus soft, lots of space versus very little space.


Balloon Volleyball: Play regulation volleyball using a balloon.


Obstacle course: Obstacles can be formed in our minds as well as those experienced physically. Imagine something you want or a place to go and then imagine things in the way: storms, winds, walls, dragons, canyons, moats, and move through each of these obstacles to your goal.


From One Place to Another: Using the whole length of the room, experiment with different ways to go across the room. Eyes open but looking over your shoulder. Next to someone else. As quietly as you can. Without your feet touching the floor. Along the edges of the room. Backwards. On one foot. As fast as you can. Using neither your feet nor your hands. The most direct route. The longest way you can imagine. Shyly and hesitantly. As your favorite animal would. In the silliest way you can.


Act Out: Group members are given the opportunity to explore movements using different themes. Types of flowers. Cars. Animals. Verbs. Feelings. Dancing. Occupations.