Brain GYM and Reading

My day began with taking a class on Brain Gym 101, led by Mari Miyoshi.

She is such a delight!

Brain Gym is this self-improvement technique discovered by Dr. Paul Dennison. It caught my attention because Dennison worked as a public school teacher and reading specialist in the 1960s, researching more effective ways to help children and adults with learning difficulties. As a result, he came up with this technique.

It consists of 26 movements and works towards balancing your brain.

One of my absolute favorites was the sequence called PACE.

It begins with taking a sip of water, which nourishes your nervous system.

Sipping Water stands for E (Energy) in PACE.

BRAIN BUTTONS stands for C (Clear) in PACE.

Rest one hand over your navel. With the thumb and fingers of the other hand, feel for the two hollow areas under the collarbone, about one inch out from the center of the chest. Rub these areas vigorously for 30 seconds. If you want to add an extra level of complexity, you can also look from left to right.

Why do we do it? This stimulates the carotid arteries which supply freshly oxygenated blood to the brain. They help re-establish directional messages from parts of the body to the brain, improving reading, writing, speaking and the ability to follow directions.

CROSS-CRAWL stands for A (Active) in PACE.

Standing up, “march” in place, alternately touching each hand to the opposite knee.

Continue during the course of four to eight complete, relaxed breaths.

Why do we do this? This exercise is wonderful for improving reading, listening, writing and memory. It co-ordinates the whole brain.

The last exercise in the sequence called Hook-Ups. It stands for P (Positive) in PACE.

Start by sitting in a chair, resting your left ankle on top of your right knee. Grasp your left ankle with your right hand and the ball of your right foot with your right hand. As you inhale, place your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, about one-quarter of an inch behind your front teeth. Relax your tongue as you exhale. Close your eyes and rest in this posture for four to eight complete breaths.

Now uncross your legs, placing your feet flat on the floor. Lightly steeple the fingertips of both hands

together, as if you were enclosing a ball.

Keep your eyes closed as you continue to lift your tongue on the inhalation and lower it on the exhalation, relaxing in this position during the course of four to eight complete breaths.

This exercise connects the two hemispheres of the brain and strengthens the body’s electrical energy, particularly in stressful environments such as offices. Reported benefits are increased vitality and improved self-esteem.

I plan to use this sequence to set the stage for learning and reading. It certainly had an energizing and soothing effect on my brain. I highly recommend the program!