What is Brain Gym?

What are Brain Gym exercises-

During Inner Rainbow Mindfulness 7 week Course the participants will have the chance to learn and practice Brain Gym or Movement Therapy Exercises each week. These are a great way to improve focus, switch on the brain, practice physical coordination and reconnect the body and mind. You’ll be able to continue using them at home using the videos found in the exclusive online content that goes with the course!

 

So what is Brain Gym? Learn more here.

 

Brain Gym, Educational Kinesiology or Movement Therapy is a series of movements, done with intention and designed to ‘wake-up’ the brain or to stimulate brain function. Its focus is improved learning and mental organisation. The idea is that these are simple exercises that anyone can do at home or at work or at school and they are often used with children who have special needs or need to improve their learning ability. They are designed to strengthen the relationship between body and mind and so are particularly interesting in this time when so many of our activities are cerebral.

The Brain Gym programme was developed by Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison and grew out of Educational Kinesiology. It is a set of 26 exercises or activites. Brain Gym or Movement Therapy is often used by therapists or in school classrooms with a reported increase in concentration and reading and listening skills.

 

Brain gym images

Brain Gym exercises are used to improve focus; children (or adults) repeat the exercises regularly and slowly. In children using these exercises there is often a noticeable improvement in memory, concentration, relationships and communication, and physical coordination. Though it is not 100% clear how and why this happens the thinking is that it exercises areas of the brain and strengthens neurological pathways that may not be well used otherwise. It allows participants to practice and strengthen physical coordination pathways and used to support children having developmental issues in this area. The therapy also requires them to be focused and present (i.e. mindful) during the exercises, supporting a habit of focus and single-mindedness. The exercises stimulate particular areas of the brain to improve its function, improve the integration between brain parts and links between the two hemispheres.

Children (and adults) often habitually rely more heavily on one hemisphere of the brain and under use the other, particularly in times of stress. This then means the other side of the brain is under utilised and therefore the person may not be functioning optimally. A lot of Brain gym exercises are designed to cross over from one side to the other – for example making sideways figure eights or putting an elbow to the opposite knee. The aim is to strengthen the connections between left and right brain activity, strengthen neural pathways and improve coordination. When our brains work better our whole body works better and we have an increased sense of well being.

During one-on-one and class sessions, the client is observed to see which exercises will best help them – consideration is given to how their body is when they stand and sit, what behavioral traits they display, their hand-eye coordination, what head or body movements they use, if they can move both sides of the body simultaneously, whether hips and shoulders can be moved at the same time etc. After using the specific exercises people should notice their mental processes are better organised and they are able to focus. But the exercises can be used by everyone and are not limited to those with learning difficulties or coordination problems. They are a great accompaniment to life and learning.

For a great explanation and more indepth discussion about it I like this article which focuses on one of the exercises; http://heartsatplay.com/the-cross-crawl-a-remarkable-movement/

For an old but interesting research project focused on improving reading in classrooms http://www.movementbasedlearning.com/articles/articles/readingproject.html

Or if you are interested in Educational Kinesiology and Brain Gym http://www.braingym.org.uk/about-edu-k/

Kate Baldwin is a qualified Kinesiologist and can be found at http://thebalancesession.com

What is Mindfulness?

What is Mindfulness

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is one of the most over used word of the last few years. We equate it with meditation and being quiet and on our own. Most of us think about mindfulness with dread and guilt because we know we should be doing it but it seems like something we just don’t have time for right now, life is just too hectic. However, mindfulness is simply being in the moment.

We can be in the moment whilst surrounded by others, eating, drinking, socialising, before sleep, whilst exercising, with the kids and of course in stressful situations like work, driving, travelling and basically anywhere at anytime!

There are so many studies, articles, blog posts, books and classes about mindfulness, but what are we looking for and how do we find it and make time for it? It is my wish to try and help you through the minefield!

The whole point of mindfulness, I believe, is to access and switch on the body’s rest and recovery mode. Have a look at my post on how the immune system works here. Most people (especially children) are wired into the fight or flight response long term. This has a massive impact on the body’s ability to repair and heal. Inflammation CANNOT we switched off when in fight or flight. How many of you can list some kind of inflammation (digestive weakness, skin issues, muscle aches and pains, back issues, immune weakness, hormone disruption, fatigue and energy issues, lack of libido, sleep issues and brain fog) among their symptoms of unease. Without even having a diagnosis, you can assume we all have inflammation and these symptoms from time to time, we need inflammation to survive and repair. the real problems come when these symptoms become the new normal, when we adjust to thinking that this is how life is. 

Mindfulness insta

Being mindful is first and foremost re-connecting to your body and listening and learning to what all of these symptoms are telling us- AND ACTUALLY RESPONDING.

So many of us think that there has to be a huge change to heal these symptoms, that a strict and impossible diet change has to happen, that a ‘detox’ needs to be done, that a radical upheaval of how we live our lives must be undertaken. So we make small term promises to ourselves to make changes tomorrow or next week, after New Years, in the Spring etc. However you can make a change right here and now.

  1. Feel your body sitting/standing/lying right now, nothing changes you are just checking in.

  2. Listen to your breath naturally and without effort coming in and out.

  3. Say ‘Thank you” to your body and repeat “I am safe”

Welcome to mindfulness, welcome to stopping everything for a second and being in the moment. Even just for a that short time. It is as simple as that. Be mindful as to how you feel, did anything change in that moment. Those tiny changes have a big ripple effect. You may have awakened your intuition a little, did your body prompt you to adjust your position spontaneously or to remember to do, say, take care of something in that moment? Your body will begin to let you know what it is you need to do if you take the time to listen, even for a second.

Once your body begins to return to rest and recovery and you change your beliefs slowly but surely towards self care and nourishment rather than punishment, guilt and shame for not doing more for your body, life will become easy.

In rest and recovery so much healing can begin. When you feel safe in your body and in your environment you can feel energy, motivation, hope, gratitude, faith and happiness. Mindfulness is simply the route to seeing your life for what it already is, wonderful and full of possibility. Not what it has been prior to this moment or even what it will be beyond right now. It is the ability to accept the past and release control over the future by being here now. Subconsciously if you believe life is hard, full of danger and work, where does joy fit in? If there is no joy how can there be health? Maybe it is hard to see life as wonderful, bring mindful can simply be the belief that there can and will be change, that you are open to finding joy, even if it is not in front of you right now.

Mindfulness is accepting that you actually have the ability to be happy even if it is not how you are feeling in this moment. That it is ok to feel what you feel now, that you can thank your body for the chance and opportunity to accept and therefore move forward. It is only when you feel your presence in the here and now that you can make changes. This is true for all ages and I have been teaching my kids mindfulness skills since they were babies so they have lifetime methods to adapt and react to their day to day lives. To try to build core beliefs based on the ability to change and have the responsibility to choose their own paths. Now I have co-written Inner Rainbow Mindfulness as a 7 week course directed at specific ages groups and adaptable for all. Soon to become an online course too.

Inner Rainbow logo (1)

What is Mindfulness pin

Inner Rainbow Mindfulness Course

Inner Rainbow logo (1)

Inner Rainbow

Mindfulness for All Ages

Throughout my years of being in the health industry I have been constantly reminded of the importance of emotional and spiritual health. Without those two hugely important factors physical health cannot be achieved. It is the most amazing thing seeing people’s energy rising dramatically when inner emotional factors have been released. I have experienced this myself in my own journey many times. Thus designing this Inner Rainbow Mindfulness course, for all ages, has been something in my mind for many years.

Every one and everything has a vibration which has cause and effect upon everything surrounding it. This is also the same for every cell, organ and system in our human bodies. Seemingly undetectable frequencies being sent and received to our other cells, nervous system and brain as well as to others and our environment. There is a constant exchange of information through electromagnetic waves, this is a very well known and scientifically proven fact. Being mindful is an attempt to tap into these messages and to consciously try to react to them. That is what true presence is all about.

Sounds woo woo, but it is so simple. Some call it intuition, some call it gut feeling others call it the voice in their head. Its all really the same. The messages just get louder and louder till we sit and listen. As we age we get better at ignoring the signals as there is much around us to distract us. The head often gets in the way of the heart. Our kids have to have a sharper connection to it and their reactions to the messages are bigger and louder. Here is some more insight in to the benefits of mindfulness

Inner Rainbow Mindfulness 7 week Course

The Inner Rainbow mindfulness course has come from years of experience from both myself and Kate Baldwin a very passionate Kinesiologist and long time friend of mine. Seeing clients, friends, family members and of course ourselves trying to figure out the causes of dis-ease and imbalance. Using our skills to teach others, methods to cut through the noise and distraction, to help us to decipher and receive the messages, amplify or invet these frequencies to better effect in our body and the world around us.

The course is aimed at different ages but will all have the same core skill set and tools available to the participants. The key aim is to allow you to take back control and responsibility for your body, no matter what age you are is, in a way that is appropriate and accessible to you and your abilities. To recover communication both with yourself and the world around you, step by step. Skills you should have and need to be able to react to the world around you with more care and better effect.

We are not perfect beings, however, we are allowed to make mistakes, its is what we take from those hiccups and how we react to them that matter.

What the Inner Rainbow Mindfulness course contains:

During the class you should expect to benefit from the following tools we bring to the class:

Inner Rainbow skills (1)

Each week we will use a different colour corresponding to a different Chakra area of the body. This will allow us to open up different emotions, physicality and focus with each week building onto the next. The class will help participants to engage all their senses using age appropriate movement exercises (Brain Gym exercises which may help to relieve stress and improve co-ordination between left and right brain activities), meditations, food discussions, emotional communication games, aromatherapy oils, Bach Flower Remedies, Kinesiology muscle testing, EFT (in some cases) crystals and each class concludes with journal either writing or drawing (depending on ability and desire to communicate). 

Alongside the weekly classes, we have complied exclusive online content including;

Video of the exercises

MP3 recordings of the meditations

Crystal cards,

Aromatherapy cards

Bach Remedy Cards

Cards with tips and foods discussed in the class.

These will be available to continue you ‘work’ outside the class room and help build these new skills into your daily lives.

Rainbow Crystal Bead-Moonstone

Each week will have a crystal bead to build a Chakra Rainbow band, a room spray with Bach Flower Remedies and aromatherapy oils to help to build their safe space and routine at home. We will also provide a notebook for journaling activities. These should be brought back each week.

Here are some further articles written by either myself or Kate

What is Mindfulness?

What is a Naturopath

What is Kinesiology

Journal Writing: How and Why

EFT for PTSD

 

 

 

Weaning Recipes from Nurture Your Life

Untitled designWeaning Recipes Loula Natural fi

Weaning Recipes Loula Natural fb

Weaning Recipes

Have your read my new REAL FOOD way to wean your child? Its called Nurture Your Life (link here). These weaning recipes are all featured in the book. 

My new weaning book
My new weaning book

Here are all the recipes with their links from the book. Let me know your favourite!

First foods:

(4-8 months depending on child’s ability to sit up)

Fish eggs

Bone Broth

Coconut Yoghurt

Parsnip rice (steamed of stirfried in Ghee)

Sweet Potato/carrot Chips (cut into battons and lightly steamed or baked tossed in coconut oil.

Sweet Potato mash

Sweet potato Rosti

Steamed broccoli

Sliced avocado

Sliced pear

Scrambled egg yolks (separate the eggs and scramble the yolks in a little ghee)

Mashed banana

Water or coconut water kefir

Green smoothies (make with powdered greens and fresh coconut water or water kefir)

Fermented green beans

Apple Sauce

Rhubarb and ginger sauce

Oat milk/ Coconut milk

Miso soup

Seaweed snacks (ensure the ingredients contain healthy fats and no MSG)

 

6-12 months

Popcorn chicken

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Falafel

Coconut and ginger chicken soup

Sweet Potato Falafel (use flax/chia as an egg replacer until 12 months or just use egg yolk)

Cauliflower Cheese nuggets (same advice as above for eggs)

Beef Jerky made with thinly sliced beef

Kefir/Kombucha gummies

Chia porridge (use breast, coconut or oat milk) with coconut yoghurt

Banana Flax Crackers or quinoa flatbreads serve with:

Salmon pate

Coconut butter/yoghurt

Hummus add some fermented garlic for an added fermented kick

Tahini and avocado

Rasperries/blackberries/watermelon/mango (mango seeds are great for kids to suck on)

Mango Chia jam

Fat banana custard (before 12 months only use the egg yolks)

Chocolate Avocado pudding

Homemade Chocolate

Balls of Energy (until 12months use only seeds)

 

12-18 months

based on elimination diet protocols can start to introduce egg white, nuts, raw honey. (Try to keep grains to a minimum or traditionally prepared and served with something fermented until 2years)

 

Blender Waffles/Blender pancakes

Egg Muffins

Grain free granola (until you have checked nuts you can just use a variety of seeds; pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, chia and ground flax. Try this salty cinnamon flavour

Breakfast in a glass smoothie

Slow cooked apple, rhubarb and ginger porridge (serve with coconut yoghurt)

Almond milk

Nate’s Kefir Blueberry Mawfins

Weaning Recipes Loula Natural 

Nurture Your Life- Your REAL FOOD weaning guide

articlesNurture Your Life Loula Natural fi

Nurture Your Life ebook Loula Natural

Nurture Your Life is the second in my series of books on natural health (the first was Culture Your Life published 2014). Children’s nutrition is a big passion of mine. As a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist I see many children with chronic conditions like persistent illness, skin conditions, energy and growth issues and a staggering increase in children with allergies and intolerances. With two children of my own, I feel compelled to help these kids find their strength and return them to health to help prevent more serious conditions in their future.

Weaning a child onto food is a very powerful first step in a child’s relationship with food. A relationship which is of fundamental importance to health. Think of your own love/hate relationship with food. There are so many non-foods in our diets in the west, our supermarkets are sometimes almost 80% stocked with chemical, processed and unhealthy foods. Conventional avenues still persist that rice cereal (which may be hugely inflammatory to an immature digestive system) is the food we should be starting our kids on. This book does not recommend that route.

I hope you enjoy reading it and ask questions, keep reading, become informed as to how the body works. Change your own relationship to food if need be. Lets start our kids off the right way, with foods to nurture their life from the beginning.

 

Download here:

My new weaning book

My new weaning book

Here is a link to all the recipes I used when weaning.

Nurture Your Life pin

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