Like any other part of our body, our brain needs exercise. There are two reasons for exercising our brain. Firstly, to ensure a proper supply of oxygen, and secondly to coordinate the different parts of our brain so that they work in harmony.

Oxygenation can be encouraged by proper breathing exercises, Better breathing can calm or stimulate the nervous system, balance or unbalance brain hemispheres, depending on the technique.

Slow deep breathing, holding the breath momentarily between breaths, oxygenates the brain and facilitates clarity, as well as raising carbon dioxide levels. Deep breathing promotes alpha brain waves and relaxes the body and mind.

Try this:

Place your left hand on your abdomen, covering your navel, and the thumb and middle finger of your right hand on the indentations just below your collar bone. Breathe in through your nose, expanding your abdomen (you can feel this with your left hand). While doing this, gently massage the areas beneath the thumb and middle finger of your right hand. Continue by gently breathing out through your nose. Repeat this five times, then swop  your hands over and do another five.

In addition, proper exercising of the brain enhances its power to learn and solve problems. It can help to improve reading skills, has been used to aid dyslexic youngsters and can improve short and long term memory. It has even been used to counter the effects of Alzeimer's disease.

Try this:

Use your left hand to describe a large figure 8 lying on its side. Draw the figure 5 times. Now repeat the figure using the right hand instead of the left, for a further five times. Finally do it with both hands at the same time for a further five times. These "lazy 8's" help to coordinate the left and right brain.

You can find further links to Brain Gym exercises on the links page


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Our Brain - promoting brain-friendly learning

Bryn Evans 2003