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The Movements
W a r m – U p s
Always warm up for five to ten minutes before an extended activity session. Pick from any of the warm-ups described below. It’s not necessary to do them all every time. But we suggest that you mix them up with the intent of sampling them all over a period of time.
The first six warm-ups are adapted from the Brain Gym® repertoire. The next three were inspired by
Touch For Health.
Arm Activation (4 min)
Why:
Arm Activation lengthens the muscles of the upper chest and shoulders, the origin of muscular
control for fine and gross motor activities. When gross-motor tension is released, fine motor skills
are enhanced. Arm Activation helps release the feeling of “carrying the world on our shoulders.” With fewer burdens, you can be more present to enjoy life. Use this activity to improve posture, hand-eye coordination, writing, and penmanship.
How:
u Hold one arm straight up next to the ear.
u Place opposite hand on the upper arm.
u Remember to keep breathing in a relaxed, easy way.
u Push the arm against the hand and the hand against the arm.
u Use some strength. Use your muscles. Imagine that your arm is a wall and you are pushing your
hand against it.
u Repeat by pushing, one by one, in all four directions: forward, backward, then towards and away
from the ear.
u Notice the difference of feeling between muscle activation and muscle relaxation.
u After completing one side, notice how relaxed the activated shoulder feels compared to the opposite shoulder. Put both arms straight out in front of you. Notice that the arm you activated
is longer!
u Switch arms and repeat the entire sequence on the other side. Check that arms are both the
same length.
The Movements 19
Lazy 8s (5 min)
Why:
Have you ever read a page from a book and had no idea what it said? The left hemisphere of the brain controls vision for the right eye, and the right hemisphere controls vision for the left eye. When the two hemispheres work together as a team, visual perception is clear and integrated. Then, reading
is easy. So is balance. Depth perception improves balance.
How:
The “8” is called “lazy” because the shape you draw
is flopped horizontal rather than vertical—“∞ .” It’s the infinity symbol, a circular crossing and recrossing of the mid-line of your body.
Left arm:
u Extend the arm directly forward with the thumb pointing up.
u Focus the eyes softly on the thumbnail.
u Lazily move the thumb to trace the ∞ (infinity) shape in the air. Start at the midpoint of the ∞, moving up to the left or to the right, then around, then moving up through the midpoint again and around.
u Always up through the midpoint.
u Keep your head stationary, and let both your eyes easily follow the thumbnail.
u Stay relaxed. Repeat several times.
Right arm:
u Repeat the sequence as with left arm.
Both arms:
u Repeat with both arms extended, hands together thumbs up.
u Same pattern. Upward motion at the midpoint, either way.
u Notice if the eyes can easily see all the parts of movement. If any area is out of focus or unseen, slow down until the brain learns to see it.
20 MOVE WITH BALANCE
The Elephant (5 min)
Why:
The Elephant integrates listening for both ears as it releases tight neck muscles. It enhances
eye-teaming ability. You are crossing the auditory mid-line and thus refreshing the skills of attention, recognition, perception, discrimination, and memory. This activity enhances short- and long-term memory as well as silent speech and thinking ability. Use it to integrate vision, listening, and whole- body movement. It activates the inner ear to sharpen your sense of balance.
How:
Left arm:
u Stand with knees comfortably bent.
u Stretch out your left arm, fingers extended.
u Lay your head on your left shoulder. Think of the arm as your elephant trunk. It’s as if the head is glued to the shoulder. Keep both eyes open and looking easily at your fingertips.
u Now trace the Lazy 8 (the previous activity), this time by moving from your waist. Sway as though are an elephant, relaxed and content.
u Always up through the midpoint.
u Torso, head, and arm function as one unit. No body-twist is involved.
u Do this several times.
Right arm:
u Stretch out your right arm, fingers extended.
u Head on right shoulder.
u Repeat the Lazy 8 as with left arm.
u Do this several times.
Easier Variations:
u Instead of Lazy 8, trace a rainbow, an arc back and forth.
u Do The Elephant while sitting.
The Movements 21
The Owl (4 min)
Why:
This neck-and-shoulder activity releases tension in the upper trapezius muscles. It enhances auditory skills and improves focus and attention. Blinking relaxes visual skills. The “whoooo” sound relaxes auditory/listening skills.
The Owl promotes focus and concentration. Use it when you find your focus distracted by endless thoughts or auditory sounds. It improves communication and helps you listen more effectively. It helps with spelling and the ability to access visual memory and auditory constructs. It improves posture.
How:
u With the right hand, grasp the left shoulder muscle near the neck.
u Turn your head to look at your right hand holding your left shoulder.
u Inhale and squeeze the muscle firmly.
u Now exhale as you rotate your head to the right side
to look back over the right shoulder. Continue to inhale and exhale during the rotation.
u Make an owl-like “whooooo” sound as you exhale. Blink.
u Do this several times.
u Then drop your chin to your chest while relaxing your shoulder muscle.
u Repeat, using the left hand on the right shoulder.
22 MOVE WITH BALANCE
The Foot Flex (4 min)
Why:
The calf muscle is one of the first parts of the body to respond to danger. Its posture of withdrawal, called the tendon guard reflex, is a common physiological reaction to stress and overload. Tension in the calf can translate into tension in the lower back and then in the neck. Holding the calf muscle in
the lengthened position while moving the foot back and forth teaches the brain to release that tension. By relaxing this muscle, you gain better posture and a centered, relaxed view on the world.
Use The Foot Flex to ease tension in communicating with others. It helps you express yourself clearly, both orally and in writing. It helps you align your body for good posture and better balance.
How:
u While sitting, cross one leg over the other, placing the ankle on the opposite the knee.
u Place your thumbs in the meaty part of the calf muscle and feel for sore spots.
u Also check the ankle and beneath the knee.
u While holding the sore spots, alternate pointing and flexing the foot.
u Use the ankle to make circles with the foot, clock- wise and counterclockwise, while holding sore points with your thumbs.
u Repeat with the other leg.
u After, notice the lengthening of the calf muscle.
u Notice the increased range of the point and flex.
u Stand and notice that your knees are relaxed and not locked.
u You can do The Foot Flex lying down. Many have said this activity helps to eliminate leg cramps at night.
The Movements 23
The Gravity Glider (5–8 min)
Why:
When you reach forward from the ribcage, the legs and back muscles lengthen and relax. Tension in the hips and pelvis gets released. This frees you to sit and stand in more comfortable postures. This activity improves reading comprehension and abstract thinking. It gives a sense of grounding and
centering, balance and coordination. It enhances confidence and stability along with self-expression.
How:
u Sit comfortably, crossing one ankle over the other.
u Bend forward, reaching towards your feet.
u Let gravity draw your hands down to the right side of your feet.
u Hang like a rag doll.
u Inhale and exhale, feeling your spine rise and fall as you reach down.
u Slowly come up with your back rounded, bringing your head up last.
u Breathe. Notice your straight spine.
u Bend forward as before, but this time reach toward the left side of your feet.
u Hang like a rag doll, then as before slowly come up.
u Bend forward as before, but this time reach down to the center of your crossed ankles.
u Hang like a rag doll, then as before slowly come up.
u Cross your feet the other way and repeat the activity, right, left, and center.
u Always come up slowly with rounded back, head last.
Shorter Variation:
u Cross ankles and reach down the center only. Come up.
u Cross ankles the other way and reach down the center. Come up.
u Always breathe deeply and move slowly.
u With your ankles crossed, experiment with having your feet flat on the floor and then having only the
heels on the floor.
24 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Wake Up (3 min)
Why:
The kinesthetic stimulation takes place just above where the two carotid arteries branch as they leave the heart, carrying freshly oxygenated blood to the brain. The hand on the navel brings atten- tion to the gravitational center of the body, where the core muscles contribute to balance. This activ- ity stimulates neuro-lymphatic reflex points and acts like a light switch, allowing increased energy throughout the body. Do this when you want to wake up, be alert, and focus clearly. This activity
helps with whole-body coordination.
How:
u Using both hands, massage and stimulate the points between your first and second ribs, directly under the collar bone, to the right and left of your sternum.
u Massage deeply for twenty to thirty seconds until any tenderness is released.
u Then place one hand over the navel while the other hand holds the points you just stimulated.
u Switch hands.
Variation:
u Moving your eyes slowly right and left as you do this will help with spatial awareness.
The Movements 25
Tune In (3 min)
Why:
When we massage the ears, we balance the energy in the whole body. This auricular exercise stimulates over 140 acupuncture points in the ear, creating a feeling of liveliness and alertness. It also enhances listening skills as well as focus and concentration.
How:
u Pinch the tops of your ears.
u Use thumb and index fingers to massage and
“unroll” the outer part of the ear.
u Pull ears gently out and back as you work down to the bottom lobe.
u Do this several times.
Variation:
u Cross your arms and massage the left ear with the right hand and the right ear with the left hand.
u Alternate squatting (inhale) and standing (exhale) as you stimulate ear lobes with crossed arms.
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26 MOVE WITH BALANCE
C r o s s – C r a w l (10 min)
Why:
We discovered balance when we first learned to crawl. We perfected balance when we started
to walk, then to run. Moving the left leg activates the right hemisphere of the brain. Moving the right arm activates the left hemisphere. Bringing the two together at the mid-line requires communication through a brain structure called the corpus callosum, a kind of neurological traffic cop. Right-left coordination governs our skills of locomotion, posture, and balance.
Whole-body coordination requires that we exercise bilateral skills. When the analytical left brain and the reflexive/rhythmic right brain are equally activated, any physical or mental experience is easier. This is why activities that make us cross the visual mid-line, practice whole-body coordina- tion, and improve binocular vision will help us keep on moving and perceiving with balance.
Cross-Crawl is helpful in enhancing coordination and preventing falls as you get older. As you do the activity, imagine yourself power-walking with arms swinging, ice-skating rhythmically, or
cross-country skiing with fluid grace.
How:
Basic Cross-Crawl (5 min)
u March in place, lifting the knees high.
u At the same time, reach across and touch the knee with the opposite hand or elbow. Right hand to left knee; left hand to right knee. Alternate and keep going.
u If you cannot lift your knees high, adapt the activity to your limitations. For example, step out in front, placing the foot on the floor and touching knee with opposite hand. Or do this sitting.
u You can do Cross-Crawl sitting, standing, moving, or lying down.
The Movements 27
Cognitive Cross-Crawl (10 min)
u Close your eyes while doing the cross-crawl movement. This really causes the vestibular system—
your mechanism of balance—to do its work!
u Open your eyes. Look around in all directions while doing cross-crawl movement.
u Walk, eyes slowly shifting to look in all directions. Vary your walking speed. Slow, then quick.
u Do the cross-crawl movement while counting backwards from one hundred by twos or by threes. This activity combines integrative movement with cognitive skill. You’ll have to slow way down
to do this one. Your partner checks for accuracy. If you don’t have a partner, you’ll have to check yourself for accuracy.
Cross-Crawl Rap (3–5 min)
(from Victoria Tennant)
u Do the Cross-Crawl while reciting the following “rap” in unison. Each line of the rap has four beats.
u Do the cross-mid-line action on beats two and four, alternating between right and left.

(hand to knee)
Cross tap, cross tap,
Cross the brain bridge with this rap.
(elbow to knee)
Elbow knee, elbow knee, Learning can be fun for me.
(hand to heel either behind or in front of you) Hand heel, hand heel,
I can change the way I feel.
(step forward and snap opposite fingers)
Cross snap, cross snap,
Use my whole brain with this rap.
Infinity Cross-Crawl (2 min)
u Extend both arms forward and do “Lazy 8s” (see page 20). Draw the infinity sign with both hands, starting in the middle and moving up to the right or up to the left.
u As your hands circle to the right, lift the right knee. As your hands circle to the left, lift the left

knee. Be aware of what is going on with your arms and what is going on with your legs. Notice the
Cross-Crawl. Notice the Lazy 8 (infinity sign).
u Do this as you slowly turn your head to the right, and then to the left.
u Add a cognitive task.
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28 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Y o u T h e D a n c e r (10–15 min)
Why:
Imagine that you are a dancer, and so do these activities with deliberate grace, balance, and coordination. You will be using the right and left sides of your body at the same time, integrating the right and left hemispheres of your brain. Successful integration improves all brain processes, including those for motor skills, physical coordination, and cognition.
There are five variations. Each one takes two to four minutes to perform. Repeat each dancer pose several times. You can do just one or else mix and vary them, creating a sequence that suits your physical abilities. Such a sequence can last from ten to fifteen minutes. Put on some lovely music.
How:
Side Leg-Raise Dancer
u Hold onto a chair if needed.
u Lift your right leg to the side about twelve inches or as far as is comfortable.
u At the same time, extend your right hand straight out in front of you.
u Drop your right hand and extend your left hand straight out in front of you.
u Keep your back and both legs straight.
u Repeat with left leg and left arm, and then left leg and right arm.
u Hold each dancer pose for several seconds. Increase holding time.
Forward Leg-Raise
Dancer
u Hold onto a chair if needed.
u Lift your right leg out in front of you.
u Extend your right arm out to your side.
u Drop your right arm, and extend your left arm out to your side (see photo).
u Repeat with left leg and left arm, and then left leg and right arm.
u Hold each dancer pose for several seconds. Increase holding time.
The Movements 29
Forward Toe-Touch Dancer
u Hold onto a chair if needed.
u Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
u Place your hands at your shoulders, palms forward.
u Simultaneously extend your right arm and your left foot forward.
u Point down with your left toes and touch the floor, or keep the toes a few inches off the floor (more difficult).
u Then repeat with left arm and right foot.
u Hold each dancer pose for several seconds. Increase holding time.
u Advanced: Do a “Charleston” move with one arm forward and one arm back as in the photo.
Leg-Back Dancer
u Hold onto a chair if needed.
u Extend your left arm in front of you while you lift your left leg behind you (see photo). Hold several seconds.
u Bend the right leg until the left foot touches the floor, heel down. This is a typical runner’s stretch. Hold several seconds.
u Repeat by extending your left arm forward and your right leg back. Bend the left leg until the right foot touches the floor, heel down. Hold several seconds.
u Repeat by extending your right arm forward and your right leg back. Bend the left leg until the right foot touches the floor, heel down. Hold several seconds.
u Repeat by extending your right arm forward and
your left leg back. Bend the right leg until the left foot touches the floor, heel down. Hold several seconds.
u In each case, hold the position with your back foot off the floor and then hold the position with your heel down on the floor.
u Keep your back straight and your abs tight.
u Hold each dancer pose for several seconds. Increase holding time.
30 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Side-Lunge Dancer
u Hold onto a chair if needed.
u Start with feet together.
u Step to the side with the left foot so that your feet are perpendicular.
u Bend the left knee as if lunging.
u Hold your arms out to your sides, shoulder height, as in the photo.
u Hold for several seconds.
u Return to neutral position, with feet together.
u Repeat the lunge to the right, with arms out to your sides.
u Repeat the lunge to the left with your right arm straight out in front.
u Repeat the lunge to the left with your left arm straight out in front.
u Repeat the lunge to the right with your left arm straight out in front.
u Repeat the lunge to the right with your right arm straight out in front.
u Hold each dancer pose several seconds. Increase holding time.
Advanced Variation:
u Really feel yourself being a dancer. Exaggerate.
u Alternate between any two of the five “You the Dancer” movements. For example, do one Side- Leg Dancer (side leg and arm front) and alternate that with one Forward-Leg Raise Dancer (forward leg and side arm). Repeat the alternating.
u Add a cognitive task, such as doing simple math problems or counting backwards, while doing the dancer poses.
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The Movements 31
B alls
(adapted from Edvin Manniko, O.D.)
Tennis balls come into play for the activities on pages 32 through 38. It’s easy to find tennis balls in
most neighborhoods.
Why:
Ball exercises are great for practicing dynamic visual tracking, improving reaction time, and keeping you focused and alert. When our eyes gather information, they send twenty percent of it directly to the motor centers of the brain, bypassing the visual cortex. This information is critical for eye-body and eye-hand coordination—in other words, for “visual motor integration” (balance and movement). Faster than thought, the eyes lead and the muscles follow. The activities below are designed to sharpen
those “follow the leader” skills. Remember to “keep your eye on the ball.” For a real challenge, add a
cognitive task while playing ball.
How:
Solo One-Ball Play (15–20 min)
Ball Toss
u While sitting, hold a tennis ball in your right hand. If sitting is too easy, start out standing.
u Toss the ball straight up. Keep your eyes on the ball.
u Catch it with your right hand.
u Shift hands. Toss and catch with the left hand.
u Strive for a juggling rhythm.
u Hold ball in the right hand, toss, and catch with the left.
u Hold ball in the left hand, toss, and catch with the right.
u Repeat this sequence while standing.
u Repeat while walking forward and backward.
u Repeat while reciting a poem.
u Vary the speed.
u Synchronize your tosses with a partner or a group.
32 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Ball Bounce
u While sitting, hold the ball in your right hand. If sitting is too easy, start out standing.
u Bounce the ball and catch it with your right hand.
u Switch hands. Bounce and catch the ball with your left hand.
u Strive for a juggling rhythm.
u Bounce with the right hand and catch with the left. u Bounce with the left hand and catch with the right. u Repeat while standing.
u Repeat while walking forward and back.
u Vary the speed.
Alternate Ball Toss & Bounce
u Start with the right hand. Bounce, catch. Toss, catch.
u Now the left hand. Bounce, catch. Toss, catch.
u Mix up the tossing hand and the catching hand.
u Repeat while walking forward and back.
u Vary the speed.
Ball Toss with Clap
u Hold ball in right hand. u Toss the ball in the air. u Clap your hands.
u Catch the ball in your right hand.
u Repeat this with the left hand.
u Mix up the tossing and catching hands while clapping during each toss.
u Keep in rhythm while making patterns.
u Repeat while walking forward and back.
u Vary the speed.
The Movements 33
Ball Bounce with Clap
u Hold ball in right hand.
u Bounce the ball.
u While it’s bouncing, clap your hands.
u Catch the ball in your right hand.
u Repeat this with the left hand.
u Mix up the bouncing and catching hands while clapping during each bounce.
u Keep in rhythm while making patterns.
u Mix bouncing and tossing actions, continuing to clap every time the ball is in motion.
u Repeat these activities while walking forward and back.
u Vary the speed.
Solo Two-Ball Play (15–20 min)
Why:
Double the balls means double the fun—and twice the benefits for balance, coordination,
alertness, and visual motor integration.
How:
Double Ball Toss
u Hold a tennis ball in each hand.
u Toss both balls up at the same time.
u Catch each ball in the hand that tossed it.
u Repeat while walking forward and back.
Double Ball Bounce
u Hold a tennis ball in each hand.
u Bounce both balls at the same time.
u Catch each ball in the hand that bounced it.
u Repeat while walking forward and back.
34 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Alternate Double Ball Toss & Bounce
u Hold a tennis ball in each hand.
u Toss both balls up at the same time.
u Catch each ball in the hand that tossed it.
u Bounce both balls at the same time.
u Catch each ball in the hand that bounced it.
u Repeat while walking forward and back.
u Vary the speed. Keep in rhythm.
Partner One-Ball Play (15–30 min)
Why:
Working with a partner adds tremendously to the benefits of these activities. You have to be on your toes because you have to anticipate when your partner will move. Coordinated movements and fast reaction time indicate good brain processing ability, which is necessary for cognitive skills and balance.
Follow the ball with your eyes. After some practice, try synchronizing your bounces and claps.
How:
One-Ball Toss
u Hold ball in your right hand.
u Toss to partner.
u Partner catches ball with right hand, tosses it back.
u Catch with right hand.
u Repeat.
u Shift to left hands, tossing and catching.
u Find a rhythm.
u Toss with right hand, catch with left. Toss left, catch right.
u Mix it up. Tosser calls out which hand to catch with. Catcher calls out which hand to toss with.
u Repeat while slowly walking forward and back.
The Movements 35
One-Ball Bounce
u Hold ball in your right hand.
u Bounce to partner.
u Partner catches ball with right hand, bounces it back.
u Catch with right hand.
u Shift to left hands, bouncing and catching.
u Mix it up, as before. Call out to each other. Find a rhythm.
u Do this while walking.
Alternate One-Ball Toss & Bounce
u Following the same progression, this time alternate between tosses and bounces.
u Right hands.
u Left hands.
u Mix it up.
u Find a rhythm.
u Walk forward and back.
One-Ball Toss with Clap
u Repeat One-Ball Toss. This time, add partner claps every time the ball is mid-toss.
One-Ball Bounce with Clap
u Repeat One-Ball Bounce. This time, add partner claps every time the ball is mid-bounce.
Alternate One-Ball Toss with Clap & One-Ball Bounce with Clap
u Put it all together.
u Start with right-to-right toss with claps. Play catch.
u Do right-to-right bounce with claps.
u Shift to left-to-left toss with claps, then left-to-left bounce with claps.
u Mix it up, calling out to each other.
u Repeat while walking forward and back.
u Stay focused.
36 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Foot Catch
u Stand facing a partner. If standing is difficult, do this seated.
u Trap a ball under your right foot.
u Roll the ball with your foot toward the partner.
u Partner traps the ball with the right foot.
u Switch to left foot. Roll and “catch” with left feet.
u Mix it up, partners calling which foot to catch with.
u Alternate feet while counting backwards from one hundred by twos or threes.
u Have a conversation while doing the foot-rolling.
u Add another ball.
Partner Two-Ball Play
Double Ball Toss and Catch
u Each partner holds a ball.
u Toss ball to partner as partner tosses ball to you.
u Partners catch both balls at the same time.
u Vary the height by tossing and catching at different levels (low, medium, high).
u Increase the challenge by walking forward and back while playing catch with two balls. Or take turns counting backwards from one hundred by twos or by threes. Or have a conversation while playing catch in this way.
Double Ball Bounce and Catch
u As the previous, but this time you and your partner are bouncing, not tossing.
The Movements 37
Alternate Double Ball Toss & Double Ball Bounce and Catch
u Alternate between two-ball tossing and two-ball bouncing while continuing to play catch in this fashion.
Partner Four-Ball Play
Four-Ball Toss and Catch
u Each partner holds a ball in each hand.
u Partners toss and catch simultaneously.
Four-Ball Bounce and Catch
u Each partner holds a ball in each hand.
u Partners bounce and catch simultaneously.
Alternate Four-Ball Toss & Four-Ball Bounce and Catch
u Each partner holds a ball in each hand.
u Partners toss and catch simultaneously alternating with a bounce and catch simultaneously.
Group Ball Play
Twist & Reach
u Four to six people stand back to back in a circle. u Two people start passing balls around the circle. u Twist as you pass a ball.
u Repeat this several times, twisting and passing.
u Reverse the direction.
u Vary the heights (low, medium, high).
u Go slowly at first, then speed up.
u Add more balls.
Foot Catch
u See Partner One-Ball Play for instructions, but do in a group of four to six.
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38 MOVE WITH BALANCE
B e a n b a g s
Why:
Who would have thought that beanbags could be the secret to a better life? They are essential for the activities on pages 39 through 41. You can make your own beanbags at home, or you can easily find them in a neighborhood store. These activities are similar to the ball play of the previous section, but beanbags are easier to toss and catch. Of course, they’re impossible to bounce. In
fact, try to keep them off the floor so that they stay clean.
How:
Solo One-Beanbag Play (5–10 min)
Each exercise takes 2–3 minutes.
One-Beanbag Toss
u Toss and catch with the right hand.
u Toss and catch with the left hand.
u Toss back and forth between hands.
u Find a rhythm.
u Repeat while walking forwards and back.
u Variation: Count backwards from one hundred by twos or threes.
One-Beanbag Toss with Clap
u Repeat One-Beanbag Toss. This time, clap every
time the beanbag is aloft.
The Movements 39
Solo Two-Beanbag Play
(5–10 min)
Double Beanbag Toss
u Hold a beanbag in each hand.
u Toss both beanbags in the air simultaneously and catch each one with the hand that tossed it.
u Repeat while walking and counting.
Partner One-Beanbag Play
(10–15 min)
Each of these takes approximately 3–5 minutes.
One-Beanbag Catch
u Stand with a partner ready to play catch, a bean-
bag in your right hand.
u Toss the beanbag so that your partner catches it in
the right hand.
u Shift to the left hand, partner catching with the left hand.
u Shift to cross-handed tossing, right-to-left and left- to-right. Partners call out which hand to toss with, which to catch with.
u Find a juggling rhythm.
u Repeat while walking and counting. One partner checks the other for accuracy.
One-Beanbag Catch with Clap
u Do the previous. But this time the partners clap together every time the beanbag gets tossed.
40 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Partner Two-Beanbag Play (10–15 min)
Four Beanbag Catch
u Each partner holds a beanbag in each hand.
u Partners toss and catch simultaneously
u Same variations as above.
Double Beanbag Catch
u Stand facing partner.
u Each partner has a beanbag.
u Play catch simultaneously, each tossing a beanbag. Partners catch beanbags at the same time.
u Vary height by catching at different levels (low, medium, high).
u Repeat while walking slowly forward and back.
u Repeat while taking turns counting or while having a conversation.
Group Beanbag Play (5–10 min)
Twist & Reach
u Four to six people stand back to back in a circle.
u Two people start passing beanbags around the circle.
u Twist as you pass a beanbag.
u Repeat this several times, twisting and passing.
u Reverse the direction.
u Vary the heights (low, medium, high).
u Go slowly at first, then speed up.
u Pass overhead, then through the legs.
u Add more beanbags.
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The Movements 41
C o nfid en ce Walk
Why:
Walking is such an important part of our everyday lives. You can actually practice walking with balance. Move With Balance!
This might take twenty to thirty minutes for the full sequence. You can always mix and match.
Confidence Walk Pre- and Post-Test
u You may want to pre- and post-test the Confidence Walk sequence, but it isn’t necessary. Check your walk before and after you do the movements.
u Walk forward at your normal speed. Notice how you walk. How do you feel?
u Notice posture, breathing, head position. Where are your eyes? Notice how your feet touch the floor. Is your weight evenly distributed?
How:
Balance Walk
u Tape an eight-foot strip of masking tape or string to the floor. Walk on the tape. (You can also do this without the tape or string.)
u Stand up with good posture. Hold a few seconds. Breathe.
u Keep your head and eyes up if you can. Choose a spot ahead of you and focus on it to keep
steady as you walk.
u Move slowly and carefully, forward and then backwards.
u As your foot touches the ground, the momentum is heel-to-toe when walking forward and toe-to-
heel walking backwards.
u Use the arm of a partner if you need to, but notice what you are doing.
u Advanced Variation: Vary the length of your gait. Vary speed.
u More advanced: As you walk, lift your back leg. Pause for a second before stepping forward.
Alternate the paused leg.
u Add a cognitive task, like counting or reciting a poem.
42 MOVE WITH BALANCE
High-Step Walk
u Walk the line. This time, exaggerate by bringing each leg up very high.
u Vary by pausing between high steps.
u Slowly turn head right and left as you walk.
u Walk forward and backward.
Side-Step Walk
u Walk sidestepping. Bring the right foot across the left and step down three to five inches away from the left foot. Ankles are crossed. The closer the feet, the harder it is to balance.
u Alternate crossing the foot in front and then behind the other foot as you move along. Repeat several times.
u Then bring the left foot across three to five inches next to the right foot. Repeat several times.
u Practice walking this way. Head up, good posture.
u Advanced variation: place feet closer together when you cross ankles.
The Movements 43
Tightrope Walk
u Place the heel of one foot directly in front of the toe of the other foot, as if you are beginning to walk on a tightrope.
u Put your arms out to the side like a tightrope walker.
u Choose a spot ahead of you and focus on it with your eyes. This will help to keep you steady as you walk.
u Stand still for a count of ten.
u Keep going like this, stepping and stopping, until you have reached the end of the tape.
u Gradually increase the ten-count to thirty seconds.
u Do without stopping and pausing.
u Walk backwards.
u If necessary, place your feet wider apart.
Infinity Walk
u Walk the infinity pattern on the floor. (See Lazy 8s, page 20.)
Walk with Head-Turns
u Walk forward normally.
u As you walk, turn your head to the left and continue to walk.
u Then turn your head to the right and continue.
u Slowly walk backwards as you turn your head left and then right.
u The head turns are as if you are turning your head to look at something. u Change the movement of your head. Move it up and down as if nodding. u Walk forward and back at various speeds.
u Lengthen your gait. Shorten it.
u Advanced: Read words or letters from the Vision Card in Appendix B as you turn your head.
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44 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Focus o n Y o ur Feet
Why:
By training the body to pay attention to the feet and by strengthening the muscles used in standing, these activities improve your sense of balance and prevent falls. If necessary, hang
onto a chair while you do these.
How:
Heel Lifts (2 min)
u Stand up straight.
u Slowly rise up on your tiptoes.
u Hold for three counts.
u Lower your heels back to the floor.
u Once this is easy, do one foot at a time.
Toe Lifts (2 min)
u Stand up straight.
u Lift your toes off the floor.
u Don’t let your hips move backwards.
u Hold for three counts.
u Lower your toes back to the floor.
u Advanced Variation: roll through the foot, heel to toe, toe to heel.
One-Foot Conversation (3 min)
u Work with a partner.
u Stand on one foot.
u While doing that, have a conversation with your partner.
u When you start to feel wobbly, switch to the other foot.
u Variation: While standing on one foot, reach across to your partner and lightly touch opposite hands.
The Movements 45
Toes and Eyes
Why:
The next two activities connect with important energy points in the body. One goes from above the upper lip to the tailbone. The other goes from below the lower lip to navel. These two activities
help to focus concentration, improve balance, and ground you solidly in your body.
How:
Toes and Eyes I (3 min)
u Put your fingers on the space above your upper lip and the fingers of your other hand on your lower spine (your sacrum).
u Rise up on your toes. Then come back down fully.
Move through your feet, fully feeling the bottoms of your feet as you move through them. Continue rising and returning.
u Add simultaneous moving of your eyes up and down, tracking a vertical plane.
u Add the breath. Breathe in with eyes up and rising up on your toes. Breathe out with eyes down and the energy moving down through your feet, heels down.
u Coordinate this pattern rhythmically.
u Shift hands, putting the opposite fingers on your lower spine and above your upper lip.
46 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Gait Points (5 min)
(from Touch for Health)
Why:
Toes and Eyes II (3 min)
u Put your fingers under your lower lip and the fingers of your other hand on your navel.
u Rise up on your toes. Then come back down fully.
Move through your feet, fully feeling the bottoms of your feet as you move through them. Continue rising and returning.
u Add simultaneous moving of your eyes up and down, tracking a vertical plane.
u Add the breath. Breathe in with eyes up and rising up on your toes. Breathe out with eyes down and the energy moving down through your feet, heels down.
u Coordinate this pattern rhythmically.
u Shift hands, putting the opposite fingers on your navel and under your lower lip.
This exercise helps the normal coordination of muscles used in walking.
How:
u Firmly massage appropriate gait points on both
feet.
u These are located at the top of the joining of toes and foot. See diagram.
u Place your fingers on the bottom of the foot as your thumb stimulates each point.
The Movements 47
Kick Ball Change (3 min)
Why:
Shifting your weight from the left to the right foot forces you to balance on one foot. By having to keep in rhythm, you are forced to process information quickly and accurately. Poor brain timing and slow reaction time are improved. Kick Ball Change is a jazz dance step that you can do alone
or in a group.
How:
u Put on some jazzy music.
u Give yourself room to move.
u Kick with the right foot, step on the ball of the right foot, then shift your weight to the left foot.
u Repeat several times.
u Kick with the left foot, step on the ball of the left foot, then change to right foot.
u Repeat several times.
u Now alternate between right and left. Kick right, step right, change to left; kick left, step left, change to right. Keep in the rhythm. Dance away.
The Cat Jump (3 min)
Why:
This activity is to practice catching yourself should you ever fall. The muscle memory of this movement is etched in your body.
How:
u Bend your knees in a squat.
u Jump a little off the ground with both feet.
u Land softly, like a cat, not jarring your body.
u Repeat several times until you are comfortable doing it.
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48 MOVE WITH BALANCE
S t r e n g t h e n Y o u r L e g s
Why:
Nothing could be more important in fall-prevention than good lower-body strength. These activities will also make it easier for you to climb stairs and get in and out of a car. Do the following activities while holding onto the back of a chair. Start with two hands on the chair. As you gain strength, use just one hand, then one finger, and then no hands. Each sequence takes about 5-7 minutes.
How:
Back-Leg Raise (3 min)
u Stand behind a sturdy chair with feet slightly apart.
u Do the activity four times in this sequence with each leg: Two hands, one hand, one finger, no hands.
u Slowly lift one leg straight back without bending your knee or pointing your toes.
u Do your best not to lean forward. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
u Hold this position. Increase the holding time.
u Slowly lower your leg.
u Repeat five to ten times with each hand position.
u Shift to the other leg and repeat five to ten times with each hand position.
u Advanced: Rest and repeat the activity.
Side-Leg Raise (3 min)
u Stand behind a sturdy chair with feet slightly apart.
u Do the activity four times in this sequence with each leg: Two hands, one hand, one finger, no hands.
u Slowly lift one leg out to the side.
u Keep your back straight and your toes facing forward. The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
u Hold this position. Increase the holding time.
u Slowly lower your leg.
u Repeat five to ten times with each hand position.
u Shift to the other leg and repeat five to ten times with each hand position.
u Advanced: Rest and repeat the activity.
The Movements 49
Knee Curl (3 min)
u Stand behind a sturdy chair, feet slightly apart.
u Do the activity four times in this sequence with each leg: Two hands, one hand, one finger, no hands.
u Lift one leg straight back, bending your knee.
u Slowly bring your heel up toward your buttocks as far as possible.
u Bend only from your knee, and keep your hips still.
The leg you are standing on should be slightly bent.
u Hold this position. Increase the holding time.
u Slowly lower your foot to the floor.
u Repeat five to ten times with each hand position.
u Shift to the other leg and repeat five to ten times with each hand position.
u Advanced: Rest and repeat the activity.
Chair Stand (3 min)
u Sit toward the front of a sturdy, armless chair with feet flat on floor, shoulder-width apart.
u Cross your hands over your chest.
u Keep your back and shoulders straight throughout this activity.
u As you slowly stand, extend your arms so that they are parallel to the floor.
u Slowly sit down again.
u Repeat this activity five to ten times.
u Advanced: Rest and repeat the activity.
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50 MOVE WITH BALANCE
C h i l d h o o d G a m e s
Why:
Smooth, coordinated movements are the result of precise timing and good integration between the two sides of the brain. These sensory integration activities trigger the timing processes in the brain. To do them, you need to move both sides of your body rhythmically, with precise movements, while singing
or playing a game. Rhymes and songs are excellent focusing devices, especially when performed with matching movements. There’s a reason why these silly songs have stood the test of time.
“Row Your Boat” and the “Hokey Pokey” are a lot of fun to perform in groups, ranging from as few as four or five people to as many as the room can hold. Working in a group motivates individuals and removes some of the tedium of repetitive activities.
“Rock Paper Scissors (Cock Hen Chick)” is a variation of a game most of us played as children. It is done with a partner.
How:
Hokey Pokey (5 min)
u Stand in a circle with a group. Leave enough room so that people don’t bump into one another.
u Sing “The Hokey Pokey Song.”
u While singing, do the actions the song demands.
The Hokey Pokey Song: You put your right foot in. You put your right foot out. You put your right foot in And you shake it all about. You do the Hokey Pokey
And you turn yourself around— That’s what it’s all about. (two claps)
Words and music by Larry LaPrise
The sequence:
u right foot
u left foot
u right hand
u left hand
u right shoulder
u left shoulder
u right hip
u left hip
u whole self
The Movements 51
Row Your Boat (7–10 min)
(from Jon Bredal)
u Sit or stand in a circle with shoulders almost touching. Partners can face each other. Each time you add a head movement, it becomes more challenging.
u Sing “Row Your Boat” with the following hand gestures:
row, row, — move hands to the left with two beats.
row your boat — tap your thighs with two beats.
gently down the — move hands to the right with two beats.
stream — tap your thighs with two beats.
u Keep singing, in addition to the arms, add head movements that go opposite the hand movements. When your hands move left, look to the right. When your hands move right, look to the left.
u Do this for a while until you “get it.”
u Keep singing, this time adding a head movement up and a head movement down matching the tapping of the thighs. Like so:
row, row, — hands left two beats, look right. row your boat — tap thighs two beats, look up. gently down the —hands right two beats, look left.
stream —tap thighs two beats, look down.
u Do this for a while until you “get it.”
u Laughing is always okay.
52 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Rock Paper Scissors (Cock Hen Chick) (7–10 min)
(from Conrad Ho and Amy Choi)
Why:
In this activity participants must do several things at the same time, and each thing must be done with appropriate timing. Success requires high concentration in the moment, and it requires flawless coordination among verbal cues, hand gestures, brain decisions, and sequencing of actions.
These skills are exactly what you need for effective verbal communication and sensory integration. Winning is deter- mined not only by the “rock paper scissors” outcome but also by indicating the outcome. Every act in the process is important as you do the right thing at the right time. More advanced players may accelerate the pace to confuse
their opponents.
How:
u Face a partner, sitting or standing.
u With a one-two rhythm partners clap, clap, then
thrust out a hand in the shape of either “rock” (a fist), “paper” (flat hand palm down), or “scissors” (index and long fingers extended in V shape).
u Winning is determined this way: rock breaks scissors, paper covers rock, scissors cuts paper.
u Without hesitation, repeat the pattern of clap, clap, thrust. This time, show the outcome of the contest using hand gestures: “cock” (the winner puts hand on head like a cock’s comb), “hen” (in a tie, both part- ners make chicken wings and waggle their elbows),
or “chick” (the loser puts hand on tailbone to suggest tail feathers).
u Immediately repeat the game.
u Keep in rhythm.
The Movements 53
Knee Over Ball O’Leary (5–10 min)
Why:
Adding a schoolyard-style counting chant to a ball-bounce activity brings auditory and rhythmic elements to bear. As simple as this activity is, it exercises eye-brain-motor responses in many ways at once.
The chant has four lines. Each line has four counts. This activity asks you to bounce the ball on every count, also add a knee movement on the fourth count of every line when you chant the word “O’Leary.”
One, two, three, O’Leary. Four, five, six, O’Leary. Seven, eight, nine, O’Leary.
Ten, O’Leary, say “whooo, hooo, hooo.”
How:
u Place a tennis ball in your right hand.
u Each time you say a number, you bounce the ball.
u Each time you say “O’Leary,” you move your right leg to the right over the ball.
u Repeat, holding the ball in your left hand and moving the left leg to the left over the ball.
Advanced Variations:
u Alternate right hand and left hand, right knee and left knee.
u Repeat the whole activity moving your knee inward, toward the center of your body.
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54 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Senso r y Integr ati o n
(from Bobbie Dirks, O.D.)
Activity Cards for the following movements are in Appendix B and on the website www.MoveWithBalance.org. You can laminate the cards, put the cards in plastic sheet protectors or use them as is. You might want to pick up the cards after each session.
Why:
Balance movements that integrate the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile, and vestibular senses help to reduce injuries and improve performance. Neural capability and efficiency increases. Timing improves, vision improves, sense of balance improves, mental processing improves, and reaction time improves.
These movements allow us to practice this sensory motor integration. We can use them to challenge ourselves as we see, say, hear, touch, and move all at the same time.
How:
Clock Face (7–15 min)
u Work with a partner. As you do the movement, have your partner check to see that you’ve given the right answers.
u If you do this movement alone, you’ll have to check yourself, of course.
u Create a pattern by going around the clock face saying and touching what is in the place of the numbers on a clock.
u Example: start in the twelve o’clock position with the square. Touch the square on the clock
and say “square.” Then touch your nose and say “nose.” Then touch the dot in the center of the clock and say “dot.” Then touch your right ear and say “ear.” That is the pattern—touch and say “Square, nose, dot, ear” using your right hand and right ear.
u Next, move to the numeral 1 in the one o’clock position and say “one.” Then repeat the pattern:
“one, nose, dot, ear.”
u Touch the triangle in the next position. Say “triangle, nose, dot, ear.”
u Do each pattern until you “get it” and then move to a new pattern.
u Notice that so far you have used only your right hand and right ear.
u Say the same pattern, but change the pattern by using the left hand and touching the left ear.
u Change to left hand and right ear. Continue to change the pattern as many times as you like.
u Go counterclockwise instead of clockwise.
u Keep a rhythm as you go around the clock. Rhythm is more important than speed.
u Advanced variation: alternate hands or ears every other time.
u When you’re finished, switch roles and help your partner do the movements.
The Movements 55
Slap Tap (7–15 min)
u Do this sitting or standing.
u Work with a partner. As you do the activity, have your partner check to see that you’ve given
the right answers.
u If you do this activity alone, you’ll have to check yourself, of course.
u Look at the Slap Tap sheet. See the vertical line with the letter R or L either on the right or left
side of the vertical line.
u The letters indicate which hand to use.
u The position of the letter on either side of the vertical line indicates which of your knees that hand is supposed to slap. Imagine that the vertical line is the center of your body.
So:
u If the letter R is on the right side of the vertical line, then slap your right knee with your right hand.
u If the letter L is on the right side of the vertical line, then slap your right knee with
your left hand.
u If the letter R is on the left side of the vertical line, slap your left knee with your
right hand.
u If the letter L is on the left side of the vertical line, slap your left knee with your left hand.
u “Read” the symbols on the Slap Tap one line, two lines, or the whole chart.
u Try to establish a rhythm. Rhythm is more important than speed.
u When you’re finished, switch roles and help your partner do the activities.
u Advanced variation: Step forward with the same foot as the hand you are using.
56 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Arrows (15–20 min for complete sequence)
u Face a partner. While you do the activity, have your partner hold the arrow chart and check
to see if you’ve given the correct answers.
u If you do this activity alone, you’ll have to check yourself, of course.
u Look at the arrow chart and call out the direction indicated by the arrow. (Up, down, left,
or right.) Then thrust your arms in that direction. In other words, say and do what the arrow indicates.
u “Read” the Arrow Chart, one line, two lines, or the
whole chart.
u Next look at the arrow chart and call out the direction opposite the arrow. Thrust your hands in the direction opposite the arrow. In other words, say and do the opposite of what the arrow
indicates. “Read” several lines.
u Next look at the Arrow Chart and call out the direction indicated by the arrow. But thrust your arms in the opposite direction. In other words,
say what the arrow indicates but do the opposite.
Read several lines.
u Next look at the arrow chart and call out the direction opposite the arrow. But thrust your arms in the direction indicated by the arrow. In other words, say the opposite of what the arrow
indicates but do what it indicates. Read several lines.
u When you’re finished, switch roles and help your partner do the activities.
u Advanced Variation: In addition to moving your arms, you can step right, left, forward for up,
and backwards for down to match the arrow’s direction or opposite the arrow’s direction.
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The Movements 57
Visi o n and B alan ce
Why:
The vestibular system (our balance) works with the visual system to detect head and body motion as well as eye movement. Improving the visual system can significantly boost performance by improving response time, vision-body coordination, balance, and confidence. As you do
the next two movements, read the large letters/words on the Vision Card. See Appendix B or
www.MoveWithBalance.org website to access the Vision Card. Fold the paper in half.
How:
Vision Card Balance: Head Moving (7–10 min)
u Hold the Vision Card still while you focus on the biggest letters.
u Stand, feet shoulder width apart.
u Move your head from side to side while continuing to keep the letters in clear focus.
u Move your head up and down, like nodding, while you keep the letters in focus.
u Move your head diagonally, both ways, while focusing on the letters.
u Repeat with feet together, then with one foot in front of the other. This is a lot more difficult.
Vision Card Balance: Head Still (7–10 min)
u Hold the Vision Card as before.
u Hold your head still.
u Stand, feet shoulder width apart.
u Move the card from side to side while you continue to keep the letters in clear focus.
u Move the card up and down while you stay focused on the letters. u Move the card diagonally, both ways, while focusing on the letters. u Repeat with feet together, then with one foot in front of the other.
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58 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Sharpen Your Vision with Fusion
Why:
When the brain takes information from both eyes and merges that into a single image, we call that “fusion.” Fusion gives us depth perception, the ability to see three-dimensionally. Usually we do it unconsciously. But when we become conscious of fusion, we can enhance or improve it, or we can become aware that it’s not happening. People without fusion might not even know it because
the brain compensates. But such compensation is wasted energy. The Move With Balance® movements help us use the brain/visual system as it was designed. They improve fusion and give us an exciting increase in clarity and depth perception.
Controlling how we use and aim our eyes together is an important skill.
There are two basic ways to aim or “team” our eyes:
1) Convergence: turning the eyes inward to maintain single vision for objects up close, similar to looking
“cross-eyed.”
2) Divergence: turning the eyes outward to maintain a single image for objects far away, apparently
aiming straight ahead.
Vision Card for Pre-and Post-Testing (3 min)
(from Janet Goodrich)
Use the Vision Card to pre- and post-check any changes in your sense of vision. The Vision Card lists eleven sentences from larger to smaller print. Hold the card at your normal reading distance. What is the smallest line you can read on the pre-test? After doing the activities, check again. What’s the smallest line you can read on the post-test?
You do not have to use the Vision Card every time you do the fusion activities. But it is fun to notice changes and improvement. Be sure to hold the card in the same place for pre- and post-tests. Experiment with and without your glasses.
The Movements 59
How:
Thumb Fusion (10 min)
u Hold one thumb about eight inches in front of your nose.
u Look at an object in the distance. Your thumb will appear to have doubled. It’s as if you are
looking through your thumb or past your thumb at the object in the distance.
u This time, focus on your thumb. Look directly at your thumb. What is in the distance
doubles.
u Alternate looking at thumb then looking at the object in the distance—“thumb, distant object, thumb, distant object.” “Converge, diverge, converge, diverge.” Keep noticing that
what you look at is single and what you are not looking at is double.
u Gradually vary the distance the thumb is from your nose, bringing it closer or farther.
u Vary the speed.
u Remember to blink and breathe.
u Do sitting at first, then shift to standing, then to moving.
u If you have trouble seeing the two thumbs, start by looking at something in the distance. Then slowly bring your thumb into view, as though it is passing along the tip of your nose. It may take a while for the double images to “come in” because you may be in the habit
of suppressing the vision in one eye. Practice will allow it to work. You cannot make this happen. Relax and breathe, and it will suddenly “pop in” or seem to appear. When that
happens, your two eyes are working together.
60 MOVE WITH BALANCE
EE Fusion (10 min)
The EE Fusion activity is more advanced than Thumb Fusion. Having your two eyes work together means that your two brain hemispheres are working together and that you have good depth perception. As we get older, we lose the ability to converge and diverge quickly. This is
what we are practicing.
u Work with the EE on a piece of paper approximately 2.5×4 inches. (You can copy EE from Appendix B or print it off the website
E E
www.MoveWithBalance.org.)
u Hold the EE eight inches in front of you as you did with the thumb.
u Focus your vision on some object in the distance. Notice that the EE card now seems to say EEE
(similar to how you saw two thumbs). Now you see three E’s.
u Look at a point in front of the EE you are holding and you will notice EEE.
u Alternate looking “past EE, in front of EE, past EE in front of EE,” diverge, converge, diverge, converge, always being aware of the three EEE. The brain is fusing the two images into a third,
three-dimensional image.
u Do sitting at first, then shift to standing, then to moving.
u Be sure to breathe and relax. You cannot force this. The image just “pops in” or seems to appear.
u Move the EE closer than eight inches. You will really feel your eye muscles work.
u Rest with Palming, page 67.
The Movements 61
Inner-Tube Fusion (10–15 min)
(from Edward Friedman, O.D.)
u Work with the Inner-Tube card. You can copy it from Appendix B or print it off the website www.MoveWithBalance.org. Cut out on the
dotted lines.
u Experiment first without glasses, then with glasses.
u As you practice looking first in front of (convergence) and then past (divergence) the inner tubes, you will see a third fused image in the middle. This new image will
be three-dimensional, and it will read “FUSE CLEAR.”
Convergence
u Place the white side of the folded Vision Card behind the inner tubes where you cut out the “V”.
u Hold the Inner Tube Card eight inches from your nose.
u Look at a point in front of the inner tubes.
u Imagine a line connecting the tip of your nose to a point midway between the bottom circles.
You may use your finger to guide you to this point.
u Begin at the bottom with the inner tubes that are closest together. You should now see that the two original inner tubes have fused into three. You may first see four, then three. Three is what you want to see.
u The center (third) image should be a fully fused image of the two originals. Notice that this third image is three-dimensional.
u Try to read the letters “FUSE CLEAR” on the fused image.
u Hold the fully fused image for the count of five.
u Repeat this routine for each inner tube pair, starting at the bottom.
62 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Divergence
u Remove the folded Vision Card. Notice the “V”.
u Select an object about fifteen feet away and look at it.
u Hold the Inner Tube Card about eight inches from your eyes.
u Fix your gaze through the “V” opening in the card, gazing at the distant object.
u Read “FUSE CLEAR” on the third image.
u If you see four circles, bring the two inner tubes closer together by bending the paper until you see three images, and then gradually move them apart. Three is what you want to see.
u You will feel your eyes trying to hold the fused image.
u Hold the fully fused image for the count of five.
Alternating Divergence and Convergence
u Alternate looking past (or through) the inner tubes with looking in front of the inner tubes— “past, in front of, past, in front of,” always being aware of the three inner tubes of the fused image.
u Vary the distance of the card from your eyes.
u Hold the third image for a count of five, then for a count of ten.
u Do this with each set of inner tubes, starting at the bottom.
u The goal is to see the middle inner tube as a fused, three-dimensional image.
u Do sitting at first, then shift to standing, then to moving.
u Breathe and relax.
u Do Palming on page 67 to relax your eyes and give the brain a chance to absorb the movement.
u You may want to post-test yourself using the Vision Card after doing all the fusion activities.
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The Movements 63
Integration Time: Rest and Relax
You need “downtime” for your brain/body to integrate and absorb all the benefits of the Move
With Balance® activities. Take integration time by resting and relaxing between and after activities.
Connect the Circuits (5 min)
(from Dr. Wayne Cook)
Why:
Wayne Cook, an expert in electromagnetic energy, created the following activity as a way to counter the effects of electromagnetic pollution—the result of sitting in front of a computer, television, or any other appliance that generates electromagnetic fields. His extensive research found that this posture has a harmonizing effect on the mind and body. We call it “Connect the Circuits.”
This activity creates a whole-body figure-eight, balancing the energy in three dimensions. Do this whenever you experience feelings of anxiety, worry, or frustration. Be sure to do both parts and notice what happens as your concerns and anxieties melt. Notice the increased sensation
of centeredness, clarity, and calm, comfort, balance, and coordination. “Connect the Circuits”
encourages relaxation and integration time between activities. It connects the brain and body.
How:
Part One:
u While seated, cross one ankle over the other. Try it both ways until you find the combination that feels most comfortable and creates the greatest relaxation.
u Extend your arms, touching the backs of the hands together.
u Cross one hand over the other at the wrist, bring-
ing the palms of the hands together thumbs down.
u With your fingers clasped together, move your hands up and through your arms, resting them comfortably on your heart with elbows at your sides.
u Breathe deeply and comfortably. Or you may want to touch the tongue against the roof of the mouth on each inhalation. Relax the tongue on the exhalation.
64 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Deep Yawn (3 min)
(from Janet Goodrich)
Part Two:
u Uncross your feet. Place them flat on the floor.
u Touch your fingertips gently together.
u With fingertips together, place your hands in your lap.
u Focus all your attention on your fingertips. Actually look at your fingertips through closed eyes.
u Continue the breathing process described above.
u Variation: Do this while standing.
Why:
More than half of the neurological connections between the brain and the body pass through the jaw joint. The key to whole-body balance and equilibrium can be found in the relationship among proprioceptors in the hips, and feet, and above all the jaw.
Yawning is a natural respiratory reflex that increases circulation to the brain and stimulates the whole body. When you yawn while holding tension points on the jaw, you balance the cranial bones and relax tension in your head and jaw.
Use this activity for increased oxygenation to the brain and eyes, for enhanced verbal and expressive communication, for relaxed vision and thinking during mental work, for reading aloud and public speaking, for deeper vocal resonance and singing, also to improve balance, visual attention, and perception.
How:
u Place fingertips on jaw joints.
u Pretend to yawn while lightly massaging in front of the joint.
u Make a deep, relaxed yawning sound.
u Repeat until you begin to make some deep real yawns.
u Close your eyes tight when you yawn deeply.
u Do until your eyes are watery.
The Movements 65
Emotional Stress Release (5 min)
(from Touch for Health)
Why:
Touching the forehead with the fingers or the flat of the hand allows the brain to experience rational thought. In fact, we do this instinctively whenever we experience major stress. Here’s why: in a “fight or flight” response, our brain’s activity drops automatically down below, to the limbic system, the brain stem. Directly inside the forehead, though, is the brain center that helps us suppress feelings
of anger, frustration, and rage. So when we raise our hands to the forehead, we are inviting the brain
to rise to the level of the neocortex—that is, to interpret our experience logically.
Whenever you experience or recall strong mental or emotional stress, lightly hold the ESR (Emotional Stress Release) points, then add a breathing exercise. For example, breathe in, tongue up behind the upper teeth. Then breathe out, tongue down behind the lower teeth. Or just take deep, even breaths. This practice helps to correct a natural but negative response that we all have to stressful experiences, which is to stop breathing.
How:
u Locate the “frontal eminence” on each side of
your forehead. This is a protrusion or ridge located directly above the center of the eyebrow and about halfway up to the hairline.
u Place your fingers gently but firmly on these areas of the forehead.
u Breathe in, tongue up. Breathe out, tongue down. Or just breathe deeply.
u Gently but firmly touch the points (do not rub) for about one minute or until you feel relaxed.
u Variation: A partner can hold these points for you.
66 MOVE WITH BALANCE
Eye Stretches
u Breathe deeply throughout this entire exercise. Do slowly and consciously.
u With head still, look up, deliberately stretching your eye muscles.
u Close your eyes and look up while stretching the eye muscles.
u Look down while stretching your eyes muscles. Do this with your eyes open, then closed.
u Look right, stretching eye muscles with eyes open and then closed.
u Look left, stretching eye muscles with eyes open and then closed.
u Look diagonally up to the right and down to the left. Do with eyes open and closed.
u Look diagonally up to the left, down to the right. Do with eyes open and closed.
u Make clockwise circles with your eyes, then counterclockwise circles. Do with eyes open.
Repeat with eyes closed.
Palming
Why:
Soothe and rest your eyes with palming, allowing integration time especially after doing vision movements.
How:
u Rub your hands together to generate heat.
u Close your eyes and cover them with your palms, blocking out the light.
u Breathe deeply.
u Relax.
Eye Acupressure
u Gently tap around your eye sockets with your fingertips.
u Push your thumbs into the upper eye sockets on either side of the nose. Press against the inner edges of your eyebrows.
u With thumb and forefinger, squeeze the bridge of your nose.
u With forefingers, push against your cheekbones—the lower eye socket, directly under eyes.
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The Movements 67
The Gandhi Farewell
(from Carla Hannaford, Ph.D.)
Why:
This easy ritual, the customary way that we end every session, combines sensory integration with spiritual uplift. In a group situation the leader gives each statement and gesture, then the others will echo. Partners can do this together. There’s no reason you can’t do this solo, too.
How:
u “I offer you peace.” (hands up, palms facing out)
u “I offer you friendship.” (hands cupped, in front of you)
u “I offer you love.” (hands cupped, bring from your heart, moving outward in front of you)
u “I hear your needs.” (hands cupped around ears)
u “I see your beauty.” (fingers cover eyes, then uncover eyes)
u “I feel your feelings.” (arms crisscrossed across chest)
u “My power comes from a higher Source.” (left hand next to heart, palm facing right; right hand raised above head, palm facing left)
u “I honor that Source in you.” (bow and namasté, palms together in prayer position)
u “Let’s work together!” (palms together, fingers interlaced—a fitting symbol of right/left brain integration)
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68 MOVE WITH BALANCE