Lateral and asymmetrical movements go hand in hand, and are extremely important for our physical and mental wellbeing.
Lateral poses alternately stretch and compress both deep and superficial muscles of the entire upper body. This builds strength and stability, restores balance to asymmetries of the spine, shoulders, and pelvis, and stimulates the function of all of the organs of the torso including the lungs, kidneys, liver, and intestines. They also provide a comparison for us to tune into strengths and weaknesses on either side of our bodies. This makes them very useful for helping to correct scoliosis and other structural imbalances, Lateral poses are by nature asymmetrical, which leads us to the next benefit of this practice.
Certain asymmetrical movements can be used as a tool to integrate the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Last week we tapped into growing brain cells by linking movement to the breath, and this week we are taking that one step farther. When we challenge ourselves to use both sides of the brain at the same time, for example, raising our right arm and left leg simultaneously, we have to stop and think about it. This is a good sign that new pathways are being created.
In Carla Hannaford’s book, Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All in Your Head she explains how cross lateral movements such as these require both hemispheres to be activated, thereby increasing cognitive function and the ease of learning. The more times the two sides of the brain are required to communicate with each other, the more connections are developed.
Just when you were thinking it couldn’t get any better, we will also be incorporating a long time favorite pranayama technique, Nadi Sodona! If you aren’t sure what that is, you’ll have to come to class to find out! (Or…just google it,) I will give you a hint – it involves alternate nostril breathing, which will also light up your brain big time!
Tuesdays: Men’s Class 9:00-10:00; Gentle Class – 10:30-12:00