Cross the midline exercises became important some years ago while I was working in education. The understanding was to use intentional movements to build multiple brain path ways and reinforce balance in a child’s cognitive or motor development. This purposeful kinesthetic teaching can be useful for various cognitive and learning disorders too. Many of the children’s specialists I follow use these type of exercises to help brain development. My oldest child even used this with synchronized music in speech therapy. But this isn’t an article intended for children. As adults our brains are developing and changing constantly. We can use purposeful movement to support our bodies and our brains.
What is the midline?
The midline is an imaginary vertical line that divides your body and your brain. This is what creates your right and left sides and brain sections. Crossing the midline is moving any body part from one side to another. This means crossing arms and legs, twisting your torso.
Some possible benefits of crossing the midline could help with concentration, learning new material, and more. If you’re clumsy, crossing the midline exercises may be what you need. Do take note, crossing the mid line is a part to a whole. Best brain/mind care involves purposeful activities like this plus cardio. It is also part to a complete nutritional diet, correct sleep, and more. It does take time and consistency to gain its full effects as well.
Crossing the Midline Exercises
Writing and drawing is a simple way to cross the midline. On a flat surface that is larger than the width of your body, write or draw from one side to another. It doesn’t have to be in a straight line. It’s simply using your hand and the whole surface to cross the midline. Utilize your wall or an easel by adding paper or a canvas. The extra benefit, besides crossing the midline, is more brain engagement as you’re being creative. Creativity tends to use problem solving and, you guess it, creative thinking.
Top Physical Activities for Crossing the Midline
- Dancing of any kind
- Tennis/Ping Pong
- Tai Chi/ Qi Gong
Yoga for Midline
Yoga is not everyone’s “cup of tea,” but even for the un-yogi, doing a few simple yoga poses could help with stretching and crossing the midline. Do make sure you do not have any injuries or physical limitations before performing any yoga pose or practice.
Beginners Yoga Poses for Midline
Revolved side triangle
Revolved wide stance forward bend
Seated spinal twist
It’s important that in doing yoga poses, that whatever you do to one side, you need to do to the other side. A supine twist moves your legs either right or left. If you start left, then move to the right side too. Your body craves balance and only crossing one side could bring them off balance.
Many physical types of midline exercises can aid in digestion. When gently twisting or cross your torso, specifically your gut, it massages your intestines. A massaged gut may boost your microbiome, thus serotonin (those happy brain chemicals). For your mind’s sake, cross the line. Make exercises that cross the midline a part of your physical and creative routine. Your body and your mind will thank you for it.