Mobility and Brain Training Through Feeling, Gliding, Spinning and Sliding.

The cerebellum is the part of the brain that measures rate, rhythm, force and accuracy of movement. To put it more simply, it is responsible for implementing and receiving feedback of movement tasks and activities. If a movement task was unsuccessful the cerebellum makes adjustments on the next attempt for greater success and learns from the previous mistake.

We can gain insight into the function and connection of the cerebellum to the body through the visual, vestibular and motor system especially the extensor muscles - that being the muscles on the backside of the body.

To re-integrate this systems connection we can use this tea cup drill or any kind of spiralling cross body movement exercises to reestablish this while focussing on breath control, gaze fixation and mindfulness by slowing down and not dropping the “tea”.

Start with one disk, ball, or even a shoe in one hand and make a figure eight pattern with your hand with the palm facing up the entire time. Once you get comfortable move to two objects and see how you can coordinate them. Then, add in some lower body movements such as hip rotations, squatting, lunging, ground transitions etc.

Adding complexity makes the brain pay more attention and will slow you down more, but it gets more fun the more challenging it is. You will most likely have to move your body around in various ways to position the hand trying to not “drop your tea”. Unless you’re a contortionist and can subluxate your joints at will, then proceed as you like.

You can use this as part of your warm up, a recovery exercise in a set, or a tool to self evaluate where you may be restricted in a particular movement or body part. If you are unable to self correct then there could be some mechanical reason for the “locked up” movement. Either case you should find out why it is restricted before it potentially becomes an injury.

Moving the joints and limbs in all planes available is essential not only for joint and connective tissue health maintenance but for brain health as well. Moving slowly is key, but feeling how to move around while balancing the tea cups is where the learning comes in.