Monthly Archives: January 2015

Brain Gym Exercises

What is Brain Gym?

Brain Gym is an organization that promotes a series of exercises that can improve academic performance. The 26 Brain Gym activities help to improve eye teaming, spatial and listening skills, hand-eye coordination, and whole-body flexibility. Many have said that by doing these exercises we are able to manipulate the brain which in turn improves learning and recall of information. Several books have been written describing research, case studies and its affects on learning. Brain Gym activities have been incorporated into many educational, sports, business, and seniors programs throughout the world. 


Brain Gym Exercises

Here are some of the Brain Gym exercises we use at HILS.


1) Cross Crawl 

Benefits: Helps with spelling, writing, listening, reading and comprehension.

Instructions: Stand in an upright position. Place your right elbow across the body to the left knee as you raise it, and then do the same for the left elbow on the right knee. Do this for two to three minutes.



2) Lazy 8s


Benefits: Improves visual attention and eye mobility needed for reading.

Instructions: Align the body with a point at eye level. This will be the midpoint of the 8. Start and the midpoint and move counter-clockwise up, over, around and back to the midpoint. As the eyes follow the Lazy 8, the head moves slightly and the neck remains relaxed. Do three repetitions with each hand separately and then both hands together.



3) Hook Ups

Benefits: Helps to lessen anxiety and improves mood.

Instructions: Cross the right leg over the left ankle. Take your right wrist and cross it over the left wrist and link up the fingers so that the right wrist is on top. Bend the elbows out and gently turn the fingers in towards the body until they rest on the sternum in the center of the chest. Stay in this position. Keep the ankles crossed and the wrists crossed and then breathe in this position for a few minutes. You should feel calmer after this.



4) The Elephant

Benefits: Activates all areas of the mind-body system.

Instructions: Place the left ear on the left shoulder then extending the left arm like the trunk of an elephant with knees relaxed, draw the infinity sign in front of you. Switch arms after three to five complete signs.


5) Energy Yawn

Benefits: Helps to relieve stress.

Instructions: Massage the muscles around the temporal-mandibular joint of the jaw.



6) Positive Points

Benefits: Helps to relieve stress and improve memory.

Instructions: Lightly touch the point above each eye halfway between the hairline and the eyebrow with fingertips of each hand. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply for a few seconds. Release and repeat 3 times.



Information taken from:

Lets Get Juggling!

Research has shown that both children and adults can benefit from juggling.


The Benefits of Juggling

  1. It helps to develop or improve hand-eye coordination.
  2. Sharpens focus and concentration.
  3. Helps to relieve stress and anxiety.
  4. Improves rhythm and timing.
  5. Can help to build creativity.
  6. Builds confidence.
  7. Works on patience.
  8. Once mastered it can lower the fear of failure.
  9. Develops a range of motion.
  10. Some research has shown that it burns 280 calories per hour.


How to Juggle

So how should you start out? Firstly you will need to get some beanbag juggling balls, or you could use household objects such as oranges, apples, or tennis balls. When you’re happy with your equipment take a look below at the perpetual motion image. This is the three ball cascade you’ll be learning; use this as a visual guide as it will prove very useful as a reference.


1. Get the basic “feel” of the process by throwing a ball in an arc from one hand to the other; it should rise up to eye height at the peak of its arc.

2. A great method to perfect juggling is “scooping”, a technique that smooths out your movements. Scoop your hands when throwing back and forth as it helps greatly with overall fluidity.

3. Now, with one juggling ball in each hand, throw one in an arc towards your other hand. When it is at the top of its arc lower your other arm to launch the other ball towards your free hand. As each follows its arc catch them in your hands. Practice this to increase your understanding of the motions involved.

4. Now try for the 3 ball cascade; hold two juggling balls in your right hand, and one in your left. As practised in point 3, throw one ball in a sweeping arc from your right hand. When it has reached the peak of its arc, send the ball in your left hand to your right.

5. Catch the first ball in your left hand whilst the second is arching upwards towards your right, now launch the third ball in your right hand towards the left and prepare to catch the second. Use the perpetual motion diagram above for visual assistance, and remember practice makes perfect!

*Instructions taken from: