Exercise One: Ball Toss
-A round ball approximately 15” with a soft and pliable outer core is preferred.
-In a circle either standing or sitting with feet flat on the floor, begin tossing the ball from person to person in no particular order. Adjust the circle to an appropriate size for tossing.
-The goal is to toss and catch without dropping the ball. When the ball has been successfully tossed to each participant, or when the ball is dropped, use the break in action to add a new challenge or discuss ways to successfully achieve the goal.
Setting a goal for determining a successful outcome is important because this is how you will gauge when a new challenge can be added to the existing challenge. Adding or layering challenges while performing a relatively simple physical task exercises your mental flexibility and capacity.However, the repetitive physical task (tossing and catching a ball) must be conquered first. Only when this action becomes ‘second nature’, will the benefit of additional challenges be felt and understood. Other challenges IF the goal is reached:
-Stating your name as you toss the ball
-Stating the intended recipients name as you toss the ball
Each participant is encouraged to toss the ball to the first person with whom they make eye contact. This begins to develop the habit of trusting their instincts rather than intellectually “choosing” someone. The pace will increase as a result, requiring immediate engagement. Discussion points and or journal entries:
– possible changes in physical posture
-areas of tension- shoulders knees, clenched jaws, etc.
-where your visual focus tracks
-pace, how quickly or slowly the ball moves
Exercise Two: Gaze
Intentionally altering the level of and distance of your gaze effects physical posture and awareness of the space around you.
-Predetermine a distance (approximately 10-15’)
Each participant estimates the number of steps he or she will take to cover the distance
-As each participant walks, he or she should mentally repeat a well known passage ( pledge of allegiance, the alphabet, a poem, etc.)
-Those watching, count the actual number of steps taken
-Compare the estimate to the actual
-Discuss where his or her gaze habitually fell and why
After each person has taken his or her turn, discuss the difference between the estimate and the actual. In most cases the estimate will be different from the actual number of steps. Spatial awareness and physical perception improve as the difference between these two numbers decreases.Discussion points and journal entries:
How many steps did I estimate?
How many steps did I actually take?
At what level did my gaze rest?
Did I look to an end goal or focal point?
This should take about an hour give or take. As always, begin new exercises erring on the side of safety. Each person know his or her abilities and should trust themselves as to when a task has been mastered. Let me know how it went!!