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Creating a Group Feeling: Embodiment
Especially in the digital space, it is important that we as humans keep reminding ourselves that we are human - and not little tiles on a screen. A short mindfulness exercise that ends with a group moment can do wonders for the energy level in the room and the feeling of connectedness even across physical boundaries. The embodiment exercise can be guided to start the day or break the ice in the course of the meeting - calm and gentle moderation is essential for the success of this exercise.
This format is best suited for a group that can switch on the videos - i.e., for a maximum of 40 participants. Everyone is in a workshop room with a video event. The mics should be turned off during the exercise, they can be turned on at the end for sharing in the group.
Before starting the exercise, it is very important to extend a kind invitation to the participants. As the exercise is meditative in nature, it is important to explicitly address any inner resistance that may arise and to take the participants along into an exploration: using the word "small experiment" can arouse curiosity. It is also important to emphasise that this exercise does not require any previous experience. The participants should be reassured that the moderator will safely guide them through the exercise - even if there is a moment of silence in between. Those who feel uncomfortable can turn off their cameras. The participants can now focus completely on themselves and (let) themselves be surprised!
The exercise can be instructed as follows, individual adaptations are always possible. "Instructions" should be given in a calm voice and there should always be a few seconds of silence between the steps.
1. Please sit comfortably.
2. Breathe in and out deeply. (twice)
3. Feel how gravity is drawing your body, feet, pelvis, etc. towards the floor.
4. Now, turn your attention to your head. What are the thoughts that come up? (wait at least 15 seconds)
5. What are you feeling in your belly? Is there excitement, calm, tension, sadness, hope? (wait at least 15 seconds)
6. Breathe in and out deeply again and feel your whole body. (twice)
7. Bring your attention back into the room in silence and open your eyes.
8. Now become aware of where you are. What do you particularly like about your surroundings? What might distract you? (wait a few seconds)
9. Now direct your gaze at the screen and the videos of the others (turn the camera on again, if necessary). Look at them, at where the others are. Where would you like to be?
10. Stand up and stand in front of the camera. Extend your hands to the left and right. You will meet the hands of the others.
11. First squeeze the right hand, then the left. Now everyone is holding both sides. (You can pause here for a moment, or you can introduce a wave-like movement).
12. To conclude, everyone squeezes both sides again at the same time and is happy that we are spending the day together in this group (if you have permission to take a photo, you can take a screenshot to share later).
13. Everyone takes a seat again. Then ask participants to briefly share in plenary how they felt about the exercise. This can be done in a relaxed popcorn format: whoever feels an urge shares it with the group. If no one wants to share anything, that's fine too. Finally: Thank everyone for engaging in the journey!