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

 

 

 

The Power of Breathing

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The Power of Breathing Loula Natural fb

The Power of Breathing

The more I get to know myself and others around me, the more I am reminded of the importance of taking a breath. Being mindful is about being in the present, no longer stuck feeling guilt or remorse about the past or anxious and controlling about the future. The Here and the Now. The place where we can make changes.

Healing is done on so many levels and at different times. By taking a moment to be concious about breathing, you are coming out of your brain and thoughts and connecting with your awareness and intuition. Your gut instinct and your primal needs. You are taken away from society’s pressures and the medias propaganda. You release money troubles, health anxieties, body weight stress, parenting woes, work restrictions or whatever else you are thinking about that you have no power over. You are re-plugging in to you- the real you, and that is incredibly powerful.

Sounds easy and it can be as easy as 1,2,3

1. Stop (close your eyes is completely optional)

2. Breathe in (listen and feel the breath fill you up)

3. Breathe out (listen and feel stress and tension leave with your breath.

Even if that is all you do. That can be enough- it is a great start.

Here are some more exercises I have learnt over the years;

Counting breaths; 

Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

Try and breathe in for a count of four and out for a count of four. Repeat this a few times (4-6 times)

Increase time to breathing in for a count of 6 then out for a count of 6. Repeat this a few times (4-6 times)

Increase this to breathing in for a count of 8 then out for a count of 8. Repeat this a few times (4-6 times)

( OPTIONAL)Spend some time her picturing yourself in a favourite place or looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing yourself as the perfect you.)

Return to breathing in for a count of 8 then out for a count of 8. Repeat this a few times (4-6 times)

Return to breathing in for a count of 6 then out for a count of 6. Repeat this a few times (4-6 times)

Return to breathing in for a count of 4 then out for a count of 4. Repeat this a few times (4-6 times)

This can take as long or as little time as you have!

Rainbow breathing; (This is great for kids) 

rainbow breathing loulanatural pin

Stop the bus

This is best done when you are pressed for time, need to meet a deadline, are stalling doing something that really needs doing, cant wait, cant stop! Its amazing how little it takes to stop, re-focus and actually achieve more. It is also great to use when you have a thousand things going on and you cannot get to sleep.

this can be done for 1-5 mins. Set a timer so you are not stressing about time.

Close your eyes and breathe in and out. Allow all thoughts to flow through your mind without holding on to them. without trying to solve them- just watching them. Especially when it is the last thing you should be doing! Each thought can have a shape or colour as you see it drift off. Then start to repeat, I wonder what my next thought will be…

Other exercises to get you on track:

  • Opening yourself up to opportunity is about trusting yourself and the universe to provide for you. Whilst breathing and being mindful of your breath, try to visualize all the things you want from your life. What you want to look lik, feel like, where you want to be and who you want to be with. Set a direction for yourself. Start listing ideas and avenues to pursue. Bring yourself out of pause and motivate your body and mind towards a purpose and goal.
  • List the things you are good  at. Your key skills. What lights your fire, what gets you excited? List them all and all will reveal itself- it will become so obvious where you want to go- start to follow it step by step. It may be an area or path that you never considered before but will seem so perfect. 
  • Every night before bed- try to make a list of 5 things that happened that day that you are grateful for and then what you are looking forward to for the next day. This can help you to prepare you for a good nights, restful sleep. You may even wake up refreshed and positive to start another abundant and grateful day.
  • Try to find other ways of being mindful every day- like taking your shoes off and grounding yourself, or walking in nature on one of the nearby trails. You don’t need to go far or for long, but try and do something every day to nurture yourself. Being in nature is so peaceful and restorative once you get out of your head. Ban all phone action whilst out there and even try it without music to distract your brain. Find what you like it may be water, or mountains, beaches or even just wandering through a city spoting nature everywhere. Feel like your feet are on the floor and your brain is in your head and your body is in control.
  • From an emotional level- please look after yourself. You are very important and worth care and attention. Only then will you be able to find better energy for yourself and your healing. Try to identify patterns of behavior and beliefs that you can reverse and change. EFT is a great tool for this- Eft is quick and easy to use and can be used for all ages and all areas in your life. Buried emotions can result in behaviour patterns, experiences can shape our reactions, find someone qualified to help you and practice everyday- you will be astounded how good you feel to get rid of some dragging baggage.
  • Try this meditation series. Designed for weight loss it holds all the components of being mindful about your body and connecting emotion and physical beyond weightloss. I used to listen to it both sitting at home and whilst travelling to and from work.
  • There are so many short and easy recorded meditations on You Tube (see here for who I follow) or check out the free app- headspace.

Breathing and being mindful can be done anywhere and at anytime!

The Power of Breathing Loula Natural pin

One Small Thing That Changed My Life

Ask Loula change one thing

One Small Thing That Changed My Life

I have been asked  by my good friend Laura Paul to share “just one thing” I have changed in my life on my journey to health and natural wealth. This has been a very hard thing to do. ONE thing- and it has to be a small thing!? Over the last 15 years or so in my journey I have changed so many things. Foods, beliefs, thoughts, routines, exercise goals, body shapes and sizes and have also had two kids- so pinpointing one thing, thats tough!

So here is what I have come up with…I think that the fundamental change I have made to my life (since I have to pick ONE!) is that I have changed how I think about myself and my abilities. If you change how you think, you change how you feel and if you change how you feel it affects all your choices.

Yesterday I was thinking about all the years I punished my body. I was conditioned to believe that  I could only get what I want  by punishing myself . My body was not good enough, fast enough or small enough in the right places. I needed to train more, heavier and harder; I needed to concentrate more, be less selfish, be more organised, more pushy, get out there more, be classier, smarter, funnier, prettier, less lazy and I definitely needed to eat less. I needed to beat, starve, and berate myself to get the results I was looking for.

By changing this one thing, everything changed. I was bashed, bruised, sore, scared and vulnerable. I totally changed how I saw myself and what needed to be done. I was so mortified about how I had become someone so eager to please everyone else that I was deeply miserable myself. Meeting my husband helped me through this and he showed me that to be in a loving relationship or friendship you don’t NEED the other person to complete you. A  strong partner didn’t mean a strong me because I could lean on him. I realised that two strong people, capable of making themselves happy first was an awesome combination. That when you don’t NEED the other person, you are not disappointed or relying on them for anything except partnership. That the person who may need to change is not them, but you.

The other thing I used in abundance was my Bach Flower Remedies (EFT came much later). First Rescue Remedy, then my own remedy combinations. These sets of armour have really helped me to heal and repair in safety and love. For myself. By allowing me to see myself differently I was able to turn nastiness into nurturing, pushing into guiding, hating to loving.

So there you have it- grab some rescue remedy and start seeing yourself differently and let me know what you change!

 Ask Loula change one thing Pin

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