Postural Muscle Balance is Key to Improving Brain Organization
Children with brain-based disorders consistently have core and postural muscle weakness compromising their quality, speed and accuracy of movement, as well as balance, and muscle tone. Difficulties with core and postural muscles are seen in a child’s inability to hold developmentally appropriate positions (poses) even with help. If the child’s postural flexors are weak, he will have difficulty holding a flexed or folded posture when in supine (on back) with the head off the floor, knees tucked into chest and arms reaching for the ceiling at shoulder height (see Figure 1). If the child has postural extensor weakness, he will have difficulty in prone (on tummy) lifting the head, chest, arms and legs off the floor (see Figure 2.). Some children have difficulty activating both postural flexors and extensors sufficiently. In my experience, more children with brain-based disorders have weaker postural flexors.
Physical organization influences how the brain organizes itself, and postural balance plays a starring role. When children can do these two poses fully and easily, demonstrating more postural balance, we also observe them having more awareness, attention and ability to self-regulate. REALLY! So use these two poses as a test. If the child cannot do them with ease and hold for at least 15 seconds have them do these positions a couple of times per day to get better at it. Even better play games in these positions.
In-Tuned™ Moves – Parent Edition available on my website www.in-tunedchild.com has many routines using core muscle activation and postural muscle balancing as the foundation, yet adding in other sensory components to make the work more powerful. It is not yoga, but seeing the change in children when they do these routines gives insight into why some forms of exercise, like yoga, has such a profound impact on brain function!