It is common knowledge that the brain has two hemispheres and that they are bridged by a bundle of nerves that travel across the corpus callosum. However, because this overpass exists, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is always used. In fact, you will often hear of people claiming to be right or left brain dominant, and many people function quite well using predominantly “half a brain.” But if we could learn to unite the power of both hemispheres and assimilate experiences for optimal learning, wouldn’t that be great?
Brain Gym by Dr. Paul E. Dennison and Smart Moves, by Dr. Carla Hannaford offers just these tools, as well as some scientific research to back these claims. What they have uncovered, by uniting the fields of Applied Kinesiology, Educational Kinesiology, Developmental Optometry, Biology and Neuroscience, are movements or exercises that enhance communication across the hemispheres. Many of these activities continually cross the midline (an imaginary line that descends down through the body from the corpus callosum) so that both hemispheres are activated, and they must communicate for proper execution (See image 2). Other movements involve procedures that help to relax and refocus the mind and body by using acupressure or trigger points and other simple motions.
The authors claim that the activities can help improve academics, focus, memory, mood, and even remediate learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. The bottom line is that many students remain physically inactive in classrooms for much of the day, and integrating simple movements between lessons, can provide the needed physical release.
I would love to share some specific exercises, but they are protected under copyright laws.
You can learn more by purchasing their books linked below.