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Psychological Activities

Physical Activities

Mirror Image
description of a Physical Warm-Up
& Get-to-know-you Body Movement Activity

James Neill
Last updated:
27 Feb 2005

Mirror Image

  • This activity involves people in pairs, with one person mirroring the actions and movements of the other person.
  • Body movement exercises can be most revealing, confronting and rewarding.  "Human sculpting via mirroring" brings body movement exploration into the dyad.  By reflecting body movements of another, several subtle but complex processes are activated, heightening self- and other-awareness.  Immediate non-verbal feedback exercises in the right time and place have the potential to be transformational.  Other times this can simply be a fun loosen-upperer. 
  • Works with any size group; split into pairs/couples.
  • Although it is simple, the activity can be confronting, and requires mature leadership and a well chosen moment/sequence/program.
  • Usually make sure the social ice is well and truly broken, and that there have been other body movement and physical warmup/stretching exercises, with some laughter and some seriousness.
  • Offer a demonstration.  Invite a volunteer to stand facing you about half a metre apart. The instructor initiates action, with the other person following in "mirror image".
  • Make your movements interesting and slow enough for the other person to mime as if they were a full length mirror.
  • Also include zany stretches/contortions to get a few laughs, especially facial gymnastics.  Include action sequences for tasks like brushing your teeth.  The demonstration helps to loosen up conceptions and inhibitions.
  • In pairs, one person stretches, the other follows. Then swap after some time.
  • Debrief as you see fit.


  • Variation: Reverse-mirror image.  Try following partner's movements in reverse-mirror image (i.e., swap left <-> right)
  • The exercise can be done in different ways to emphasize difference aspects, e.g., for trust-building, drama warmup, ice breaker, etc.

Related Activities

  • Finger Dancing
  • Kirtans (calling - response chanting)
  • Walking in Sync



  • No equipment needed, just a place where people can spread out.


  • Total ~ 10-15 minutes.

Brief description

  • Involves people in pairs, with one person mirroring the actions of the other.  Stimulates self- and other-awareness.