Pulsing In and Out — Gathering and Expanding

Pulsing Within, With Others, With Our World

In movement classes, the children explore the continual pulsing inward-and-outward spiraling movement we find in life all around us and within us.

  • We all pulse within ourselves — our hearts pulse, our brains pulse, all living cells in our bodies pulse.
  • We pulse in relation to others. We reach out and take in, extend and retreat, talk and listen, give and receive, expand and contract, inhale and exhale. And
  • We pulse with the rhythmic cycles of our world — the days and nights, the waxing and waning of the moon, the seasons.

Through physically working with this pulsing dynamic we tap into a fundamental aspect of how we function in our own bodies, how we relate to others, and how we pulse with the world in which we live.

Expanding out and Gathering back — Through Space, In Place, and In You

In movement classes, the children explore expanding out and gathering back as a group, individually, and in themselves. They practice while moving throughout the room, in place and in themselves. They investigate how these actions affect how they feel, how they can influence their actions and feelings, and form new ways of relating to others and themselves.

Scattering Away, Gathering Back

Starting with everyone sitting in a circle, the drum plays and the children have ten counts to move throughout the room and then freeze.

“Do you scurry away in a flurry? Do you rush in a hurry? Scamper far and wide? Or meander slowly off your spot? Wander around the room? At what speed do you move out into the room? What do you do with your eyes, arms, and legs?”


In ten counts the children gather themselves back to sitting on the circle.

  • Some children dart back quickly and rigidly sit on the circle.
  • Others zip around the room and barely make it back by ten.
  • Another child who stayed close to the circle when scattering away, now comes back early (before ten counts are up) and calmly waits for the rest of the children to return.


Sharing Strategies

There is an old saying about walking in someone else’s shoes to really understand another’s perspective. The children take turns sharing and trying out each others’ strategies.

“What is it like for you to try someone else’s way of extending out and gathering back? Their pace? Timing? Their way of moving? The shapes they make with their body?

How does that affect how you feel? How you relate to the group?

What is that like to explore several different ways of extending out and gathering back? How is your own personal way similar? How is it different? How does it inform your own way of extending out and gathering back?”

Transitioning: “♩ Come ♩ Back ♩ to ♩ the ♩ Circle”

When the drum plays, the children twirl, leap, roll, slither, fly through the room. When the drum stops, they freeze. I play a special rhythm:

♩ Come ♩ back ♩ to ♩ the ♩ circle

♩ Come ♩ back ♩ to ♩ your ♩ center

♩ Come ♩ back ♩ to ♩ our ♩ circle

The children practice transitioning — from moving through the room to gathering themselves back to sitting on the group circle. In ten rounds of the rhythm to only one count or bar of the rhythm, the children practice going out and gathering back together.

“What is it like to gather yourself quickly back to the circle? How do you do this? What do you do in your hands? Your face? Your eyes? Your legs?

What parts of yourself do you gather and with how much effort?

How much do you squeeze or stiffen yourself? And what is that like?”

Next, they explore gathering and scattering while sitting on one spot on the group circle. They practice gathering their arms and legs toward their own centers, first quickly and then, in s-l-o-w  m-o-t-i-o-n.

 “What tempo, timing, and intensity work best for you? When might this act of gathering yourself together be useful for you?”

Gathering and Expanding as a Group, Individually, and in Yourself

As a Group

The children squish all together on the same part of the group circle and then expand apart until they are all sitting equidistant around the group circle, each creating their own personal space.

On Your Own Spot on the Group Circle 

The children explore expanding out and gathering back their arms, legs and whole body to varying degrees. 

“How do you gather yourself back to your own self? What do you do with your hands, feet, eyes, ears, mouth and whole body? What shape do you make and with how much intensity? 

In You

While holding your sitting shape and yourself on the outside still, how tightly do you gather inside of yourself?

  • Do you squeeze yourself tight to sit up tall with rigid attention?
  • Do you hunker down and make yourself small and compact?  
  • Do you soften and sit with ease inside?
  • Or do you collapse inside?

What is that like for you? And how are you in relation to  others in the group?”




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