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1-2-3 Learning Stress Free: It's in the Details
Awareness of the Body in Space
People think clearer when they feel safe and grounded. In order to promote this positive environment, it is important to lead a person into sensing his/her surroundings. This is why I begin the routine with the mountain pose - to allow time for a person to "sense" the surrounding space. Then, I follow with prayer pose to combine awareness of the outer world with the individual's inner world. This combination of poses brings about the experience of feeling safe and grounded.
Timing the Breath with the Movement
The way a person breathes indicates how well the body and mind are adapting to the current situation. When a person is relaxed, the breath pattern will be slow and steady; when stress enters the scene, shallowness in the breath pattern arises. Small, rapid breathing increases feelings of anxiousness which interfere with a person's ability to focus the mind and concentrate.
While performing the 1-2-3 Learning Stress Free routine, it is important to take charge of the breathing pattern and make it flow in sync with the movement pattern. Synchronization integrates the body and the brain so they are working together. This creates a physical state of being that automatically diminishes distraction since a sense of calmness arises within due to the slowness of breath. Controlling the breath during the whole routine, is vitally important to the success of this integration process.
When the body is relaxed, it is easier to control the mind and hold a single point of focus. This is achieved by learning the natural pattern of the breath:
Inhalation > Pause with lungs expanded
Exhalation > Pause with lungs contracted
Spending some time teaching the child/learning as an adult how to be mentally aware of this pattern will secure it in the mind. This important tool directly affects a person's internal and external state of being. Please note that when pausing with the lungs open or empty that the child/person does not "lock" the breath by holding the breath - just learn to accept a feeling of openness and emptiness while breathing.
Awareness of the Center-Line of the Body
The brain is the organ through which the mind works. It consists of two hemispheres - right and left. Each side of the brain performs its own unique functions and most of the time, one side is dominant for @ 90 minutes and then it switches to the other side functioning in the dominant capacity. A bridge connects these two hemispheres - the "corpus callosum" - and being aware of the center line of the body activates this bridge so the brain can function as "one mind". This eliminates the experience of feeling like your brain has walked out on you because you can't access the information you need to perform the task at hand since hemispheric dominance switched sides.
Center-line awareness is established by drawing an imaginary vertical line in the space in front of the body. This is done by touching the navel first with one index finger and then moving the hand out away from the body until it is touching the center line in space. Next, move the hand up and down on the center line. Then, bring the hand back to resting at the side of the body and repeat with the opposite hand. Finally, bring both index fingers together making a small triangle and then repeat the complete up-and-down movement with both hands.
Using the right hand to do the movement, activates the connection between the left hemisphere and the bridge, while doing the same movement with the left hand makes the connection on the right hemisphere and the bridge. Using both hands together links both brain hemispheres, the eyes and the body together: in "sync" with each other. The person is now aware with "one mind" in "one body" in "one space" in the "one time" = the present!
The Structure of the Brain
Scientists have found that the brain is divided in 2 halves or "hemispheres". The left brain hemisphere handles sequential, logical thought processes, so it is in use when problem solving, like math problems and thinking. It is the side that draws conclusions or puts a series of thoughts together to find an answer. It is the dominant side in people who are right-handed.
The right brain hemisphere handles spatial relationships, feelings and "sensing". It gives you information about you and your environment. The right side is dominant in the person who is artistic - looking for patterns and relationships between people and things. Creative people who love and excel in art, color, dance, sports, writing or telling stories are example of right-brain dominance - they are left-handed and right-brain dominant.
American School System
The school system in American is geared toward the left-brain dominant person. If you are not built by Life to function that way, you most likely will have trouble in school. It has nothing to do with how smart you are: it has everything to do with the approach used by the system to teach. If you have developed a "bad attitude" about yourself because your are right-brained, this attitude will hurt your ability to focus on the material being presented by the teacher because you are focused on "FEELING STUPID" and believing you just don't understand what you are supposed to be learning.
So, end this attitude by integrating both brain hemispheres and learning with "one brain" - "one mind". Everyone can benefit by performing this simple 1-2-3 Learning Stress Free Routine. In 6-minutes of activity, a person is ready to learn, test or perform without interference from the inside or outside worlds!