How well can you move your body? 

Can you do the  ‘The Floss dance?’  

We have provided step-by-step instructions give it a go!  

If that’s a little too difficult, let’s step it back …

While reading this see if you can move your toes. You may first need to remove your shoes, wriggle them slowly see which ones are the easiest to move. Scrunch your toes together and then see if you can move them toe-by-toe. Your success depends on the connection between your body and your brain.  You may be very agile, and this is a piece of cake, or it could be like your body and brain cannot connect at all!   

 Thinking is not all done in the head. 

Parents need to understand the body is just as important the brain, when it comes to learning.  

While parents coming to Raviv Practice London are concerned their child may have dyslexia because he/she finds reading challenging, they don't make the connection that it starts with movement, and that all-important brain/body connection.

One such area of movement that is often overlooked is how well the student’s eyes move. Often, those with special needs do not develop flexibility in their eyes. Worse still,  their eyes may not be moving at all, or movement is limited, these children sometimes move their head in place of their eyes.  

Incidentally, this could be linked to the ‘car seat phenomena,’ where the field of vision is obstructed by the padded side-wings of the car seat.

Side vision: all round vision is restricted

The child learns to only look straight ahead, and the muscles in the eyes are not sufficiently being challenged nor developed.

This is different to when children are in a stroller or when they walk, their eyes are able to take in the broader angle without obstruction, unlike the car-seat, they can move their head and their eyes to observe the world around them – this results in developing flexibility in eye muscles - as does play other physical activities.

 So,  how we connect with our bodies and how the body informs the brain is of vital importance.   The more you practice moving your toes, the more your brain learns how to do it.  Messages are sent back and forth until the desired level of flexibility can be reached.

For our brains to function well, we need to be able to have good body awareness…like The Floss Dance, it can only come with practice!

 What types of body connections help the brain and vice versa?

The ability to move both parts of the body is only possible if the information is transferred across each side of the brain. This is the same for connecting the top and bottom halves of the body and, also the front and back. Different movements help make those connections, and in turn, the same links are the routes for other information…..yes academic stuff.

Here are some examples of activities and movement that benefit the brain (inspired in part, by Dr Carla Hanaford’s book the Dominance Factor)

  • Take a brisk walk

  • Tai Chi, Yoga or Pilates

  • Bal-A-Vis-X 

  • Play a musical instrument

  • Knit, play with clay or plastercine

  • Hug, wrestle with your children/pet

  • Climb a tree or Climbing Wall

  • Swim, ski, skate or surf

  • Tennis, soccer volley ball.  

Each of the above activities increase the connections between brain and body so we can tune in to those bits we can’t connect to with the view that with patience we can make the connections. 

Another great activity you can try, is using a Hula Hoop, if you’ve not tried here is a a beginners guide…enjoy ! 

Usha Patel