Case Study

An Edinburgh-based organisation that offers day-service workshops for people with special needs wanted an activity as a part of their bi-annual training day. Twelve people, including the manager, took part in the workshop, but many of the team members were reluctant to take part as they were sceptical about eurythmy.

At the beginning of the session there was a lot of laughter, a lot of chatting during the exercise, and when something went wrong everyone would stop to discuss what had gone wrong and how it should be done. The result of this was that the movement of group didn't flow and it took a long time to proceed to the next step of the exercise.

Eventually they started following my directions to NOT stop the exercise when things went wrong (or talk about it) and just try to solve it in movement. The exercise started to flow better and we proceeded faster with adding more steps to the exercise so that it became more complex as we went on. The group became calmer and although there was still time for laughter in between, the group was more focused and the movement more harmonious. At the end of the session I asked everyone to write down their experience for themselves and feedback for me, and there was time for everyone to share their experience and ask questions. The people who had been sceptical said they had really enjoyed the session as it was very different from what they expected.

From team members:

"I felt the session was very clear and I really enjoyed the sensation of the group breathing as we worked together. We managed to learn and adapt as we went. It was very enjoyable. You were very trusting in us as a group."

"Nice clear instructions. Good leadership."

“I really enjoyed it. The movement felt like breathing and I felt very relaxed. It helped with team work.”

From the manager:

"At first there was a little bit of frustration as the complexity was unexpected, but it was really satisfying when we came together. The rhythm helped us succeed and I felt a harmonious feeling developed from the team building effects of the exercises. It was well led – not too much guidance, which helped the team/me work harder. I felt the session also helped us develop trust and a realisation that we can function well as a group if we tune into each other."

Following this first session I have been invited back to every staff training day and team members started to express a wish to work more in depth with some of the exercises. I have noticed as the sessions progressed that people move more confidently and take more actively part in the exercises. At the latest sessions I started introducing exercises that help combat stress, find balance and improve awareness.

Some feedback from other sessions:

2nd session:

"The session was very enjoyable and I appreciated that we were given a challenge. It tied in very well with the dementia training we had in the morning. It encouraged me to use my thinking, feeling and will. We had been learning that in dementia things flow better if you relax."

"I think it was very well led and showed a faith in the group being able to come together in what was a very challenging group exercise. Very trust building."

"Very good for group connections and dynamics and formations. Important to remain enjoyable and to be able to laugh at ones own errors."

3rd session:

"Thank you. Once again really enjoyed another positive experience of eurythmy."

"Very enjoyable, poetic and calming. Felt as I was part of a whole being. Even though it's a physical exercise, also quite meditative."

4th session:

"It's great we do this gives good natural connection to our work - good to feel the ground under our feet - group growing and moving together is fantastic and realising how we fit together."

5th session:

"Initial and final circles - very aware of working together, as one, and being aware spatially, of giving people next to you space. Very organic"

"Good to see you again - you make it easy to take part."

"As always, very enjoyable and meditative."

"With a serious message of team it was still very light and enjoyable."

6th session:

"Each time we do these exercises, it becomes a little bit 'easier', more intuitive; so nice to have this continuity and progress (even though it's only twice a year!)."

"Group was held in a gentle and supportive way."

7th session:

"The threefold walking was calming and helped me centre."

"Enjoyed the walking meditation exercise - would be good to practice this more."

"Keep good work!"