by Debi Peterson, BA and Jan Butler, MBS
Brain Gym™ is a highly effective system targeted at activities that prepare any learner for specific thinking and coordination skills. Brain Gym is based on over 25 years of research, used in more than 20 countries, and is endorsed by the National Learning Foundation. Brain Gym grew out of the studies started in 1969 by Dr Paul Dennison, who was looking for ways to help people who had been identified as learning disabled. Dr Dennison discovered how to adapt the body’s movements to stimulate the brain at even the most advanced ages.
Brain Gym is based on four concepts:
- Physical movement stimulates the brain. The 23 Brain Gym movements are designed to activate such functions as communication, comprehension, memory and organization.
- Stress inhibits learning. Brain Gym movements encourage the learner to use the whole brain, thereby relaxing the fight or flight response in favor of keeping the memory and reasoning centers of the brain switched on.
- Brain Gym movements release learning blocks by activating the whole mind-body system.
- Noticing becomes a personal feedback loop. The learner takes responsibility and control of his own learning by noticing what works and what doesn’t as a particular skill is being mastered. The learner can enhance noticing with Brain Gym movements to improve performance, thus increasing self-esteem.
Brain Gym has been proven effective with students, executives, athletes, teachers, artists, and doctors. Brain Gym offers several areas of exploration such as the fields of education, business, athletics, dance, as well as a new program in “Mental Fitness Plus for Seniors.”
Try the following Brain Gyms:
While resting one hand on your abdomen, take your other hand and begin to rub deeply just below the collarbone, to the right and left of the sternum. Take slow, deep breaths. Then reverse hands. Do this about a minute on each side. This movement enhances reading skills, and relieves eyestrain.
Lightly touch the point above each eye halfway between the hairline and the eyebrow with fingertips of each hand. Close your eyes and breath slowly and deeply. This releases memory blocks, relieves stress, and clears thinking.
Think of an “X”
This activates the brain for whole-body coordination in writing, math, spelling, and increases concentration.
Debi Peterson is a wellness educator and consultant to schools, corporations, and individuals in the areas of Yoga, Educational Kinesiology (Brain Gym™), Biofeedback, Acupressure, Touch for Health™, and other mind-body health practices. At present, Debi is an instructor in the Mind-Body Health department at the Community College of Aurora, Colorado (CCA), with the Hatha Yoga Teacher Institute at CCA and at Colorado Free University. Debi leads seminars and workshops for teachers, parents, physicians, private groups and organizations and has a private practice facilitating others to reach their full potential. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and is certified to teach Hatha Yoga, Brain Gym, and Acupressure, with over 800 hours of study related to Mind-Body Health. She can be reached in Denver at 303-321-3696.
Jan Butler is a resident instructor in Mathematics at the Community College of Aurora, Colorado, where she has taught for the past twelve years. Holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Basic Science, Jan has been teaching college for twenty-nine years. Her interests range far beyond mathematics, however. She is a certified 4-Mat instructor, has credentials as an Herbalist, and as a Brain Gym™ instructor. She is also certified in Acupressure, and she has worked in these areas for some years now. Jan is a firm believer in the principle that, given the chance, the mind-body system will heal itself.
Copyright © 1998-2012, CompWellness Network, Fairfield NJ USA Community College of Aurora, Mind-Body Health Center. Reprinted with permission.