The Left & Right Hemispheres of Your Brain
The right side of your brain controls the muscles on the left side of your body and the left side of your brain controls the muscles on the right side of your body. Also, in general, sensory information from the left side of the body crosses over to the right side of your brain and information from the right side of the body crosses over to the left side of your brain. That's why brain damage to one side of the brain affects the opposite side of the body.
Each side of the brain responds to specific stimuli and controls specific activities. For example, the right brain is used for spatial abilities, face recognition, visual imagery and music. And the left brain is used for linear processing, math and logical abilities.
Left Brain functions:
Logic, reason, maths, language, reading, writing, analysis, detail, short-term memory, repetition, structure, effort focus. . .
Right Brain functions:
Facial recognition, rhythm, visual imagery, creativity, emotions, dreams, long-term memory, the bigger picture, music and tone. . .
Half the Picture
The way we live in the western world tends to discourage right brain activity. We are conditioned to think in a linear or logical fashion, to control (even suppress) our emotional expressions, to break ideas and pictures down into pieces. But when we are functioning from a left brain bias we are missing out on the broader perspective offered by the right hemisphere; we may have difficulty in piecing images, words or concepts together, and overall we will lack “vision” in the fullest sense of the term.
There is a direct relationship between brain integration and our quality of performance. When the brain is operating in balance the right and left hemispheres can communicate freely with each other; this cooperation between the hemispheres of the brain allows us to accomplish tasks with ease. It facilitates creative intelligence, full exploration of possibilities in problem solving, thinking out of the box for solutions, ideas and projects; and overall reduced mental stress.
In short, the greater the level of cooperation between the hemispheres of the brain - the better we perform.
Cross Crawl - An Easy way to Balance your Brain
Cross Crawl derives its name from the way babies move when they are crawling. By using opposite arms and legs as they speed across the carpet babies are assisting their developing brain by stimulating the left and right hemispheres at the same time.
The original research and application of cross crawl was used to help brain damaged children. When baby walkers became popular, there was some concern that they got babies on two legs prematurely and encouraged skipping valuable brain developing crawling time.
In recent years, the simple act of encouraging the use of both sides of the brain at the same time has lead to beneficial breakthroughs for children with learning difficulties and challenges with coordination. For adults, the simple cross crawl exercise gets the right hemisphere back online for problem solving, and creative thinking. This helps reduces overall stress and anxiety and gets you thinking smarter.
How to Cross Crawl
It’s easy! Cross crawl is simply an exaggeration of our normal walking. As an exercise in simultaneously stimulating both hemispheres of the brain cross crawl is done by marching on the spot raising the opposite arm to leg at each step - that is the right arm is moved with the left leg and the left arm is moved with the right leg.
Swinging the opposite arm and leg across the front of the body slightly increases the benefits. Practicing for just 5 minutes here and there throughout the day is enough to start generating real benefits.
Cross Crawl & CFS
One key benefit of cross crawl is that it assists in the circulation of Cerebro-Spinal Fluid (CSF). CSF performs the vital functions of protecting the delicate tissues of the brain from injury and bathing the tissues of the brain with essential nutrients.
CSF is circulated by tiny movements in the bones of the skull and pelvis which occur during respiration. If the CSF is stagnated it can result in inadequate communication within the central nervous system and difficulties with coordination. An inactive lifestyle with poor breathing habits can result in the flow of CSF becoming sluggish. The opposite can also be taken as true; good respiration and gentle regular exercise enhances the flow of CSF and improves coordination and communication within the nervous system.
Walking and Conscious Crossover
As adults one key way to increase our personal performance on all levels is by taking regular walks. Walking encourages the left and right hemispheres of the brain to communicate and cooperate - particularly if the walking action is exaggerated by swinging the arms slightly more than usual.
As we walk when we put one foot forward it is controlled by the opposite hemisphere of the brain. For example if we begin with our left foot, the right hemisphere of the brain is brought into action, then when we put our right foot forward the left hemisphere of the brain takes over briefly until we again step out with the right foot. If, while walking we swing the opposite arm i. e. right arm with left foot and vice versa we are encouraging the hemispheres of the brain to work in simultaneous cooperation.
Ancient Ayurvedic healing texts provide extensive information on different body types and specific activities for bringing the energies of the body into balance. Walking is one of only a few activities which are considered to be beneficial to all body types. It is a safe and self-regulating activity from which there can only be benefit.
The Benefits of Regular Cross Crawl
The benefits of regular periods of cross crawling include:
Cross Crawl Variations
Sitting - moving the opposite arm and leg together
Marching on the spot - reaching behind the body touching one hand to the opposite foot
Reaching - with the opposite arm and leg in different directions
Laying Down - laying on the back and raising opposite arms and legs
Ananga Sivyer is a health writer with a passion for helping people feel positive and in control of thier lives.
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