Play Daily With These Steps to Boost Your Brain:
1. Begin with a deep abdominal breath while in a standing, seated, or supine (lying face up) position
2. Gently move the body and head from side to side (moving away from the ”midline”) while maintaining the deep abdominal breath. Pause.
3. Now, engage in some different types of “vestibular”* movement by either:
a. rocking or swaying back and forth and/or side to side (relax the neck muscles with head coming off the midline, as you do so)
b. gently bouncing (if lying down, you can rock the heels back and forth against the floor with both legs extended)
c. gently moving the head and hips in a circle (while seated) both left and right
d. spinning right/left while seated on the ground (arms hug knees which are drawn up towards chest). Note: this must be done on a non-carpeted surface!
No matter what movement you choose, always maintain a low abdominal breath!
*Vestibular refers to the system which is responsible for perceiving the position and movement of the head in relation to gravity and for maintaining vertical posture and balance. If you are your child feel a bit dizzy, while engaging in vestibular movement, stop immediately. This is a sign of a weak or immature vestibular system. Breath deeply from the belly while focusing the eyes on a “spot” away from you until you regain equilibrium. You may also close the eyes and ground the soles of the feet into the floor while you breath deeply until you regain equilibrium.
Rock n’ Roll Variations to Develop Flexible Thinking:
1. Tip, turn or bounce while seated on a Pilates ball
2. Bounce, spin, tip or sway to your favorite music
3. For children who have difficulty waking in the morning, gently bounce them in their bed to help them transition to an upright “waking” position
4. Jump on a trampoline
5. Do “log rolls” on the ground (arms extended straight overhead with palms together, legs extended with feet together)
6. Skip down the sidewalk
7. Play “Ring Around the Rosy”
What’s Unique About This Brain Tool:
1. Vestibular movement is the “multi-vitamin of all movements because it affects all other parts of your brain/nervous system and has a tremendous impact on day to day functioning
2. Since YOU control the type of and speed of movement, you can use this tool to wake-up, energize or relax (think of a baby being rocked to sleep)
3. Vestibular movement strengthens your visual and auditory processing
4. Vestibular movement improves learning and memory
5. Vestibular movement is a great Brain Tool for unlocking “writer’s block” and creativity in general! If you find yourself in a “rut” — step away, breath and bounce, spin or jump — chances are, new ideas will start to pop-up as you are moving!
6. Vestibular movement stimulates “feel good” chemicals in your brain, inducing joy and well-being while reducing your stress!