Brain Gym movements unite the brain, body and the senses improving overall brain function in areas such as concentration, memory recall, reading and writing, organisation skills, physical coordination and more. When you can access more areas of the brain, and use those areas more effectively, learning challenges and the stress and anxiety associated with them can disappear altogether increasing confidence and self-esteem.
Originally designed for individuals with learning challenges such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD, Brain Gym is now used to improve the overall functioning and quality of life by people of all ages.
Below are just 5 of the 26 Brain Gym movements available that can be easily implemented in the classroom, boardroom or at home.
Lazy 8’s for the eyes: In the air, use your thumb to draw a sideways “8”. If you have trouble imagining the “8”, you can trace it on poster paper and stick on a wall in front of you. Start in the middle and trace. Concentrate your gaze on your thumb nail. Perform this on both hands for 10 times each way. Once you have perfected this method try doing it with out moving your head, simply move your eyes. Start with small “8’s” and then increase in size.
The Elephant: This is another exercise where you will be tracing the sideways “8”. However, first you put your left arm straight in front of you, and then put your left ear to the left shoulder (Just like an elephant). While keeping your ear to your shoulder, trace the imaginary sideways “8” with your hand. Again, if you have trouble imagining the sideways “8”, you can have it traced in front of you. Perform with both hands, 10 times each way.
Neck Rolls: Neck rolls will help relax the neck muscles and release any tension. Great for those of us who sit at desks for long periods of time. In standing position, put your shoulders down and back with your feet about shoulder width apart. Deeply inhale, then exhale as you relax and your shoulders and head drop forward, chin drawn in to chest. Roll your head slowly to one side, and then back looking at the ceiling before rolling in a circular motion to the other side and finishing back at the front, chin to chest. Repeat circling in the opposite direction and then Repeat 5 times each way.
Hook ups: While sitting, cross your left ankle over your right. Extend your arm out with palms facing the floor. Then turn your hands in so that the back of your hands are touching each other. Then take your left hand and cross it over your right. Interlace your fingers and draw your hands up toward your chest. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and relax for one minute. After one minute, swap over so that the right ankle and hand are on top of the left. Hold that for pose for one minute.
Brain Buttons: Press your fingertips lightly against your forehead above each eye, about halfway between the eyebrows and your hairline. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. This is a great opportunity to practise your 4-count breathing (box breathing) as pressing on these points can feel a little “tense” for some. Just breathe in for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, exhale for the count of 4 and then wait for the count of 4. Repeat 3 more times.
Add a glass of water to hydrate the brain and body and perform these simple movements before a meeting or exam to alleviate stress and anxiety. They can also be performed before going to bed to help with a restful sleep. Try them and see how they benefit you and/or your children.
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