Tag Archives: Handedness

Hope for Clumsy Clods

Right handed or left? Worldwide, about 90 per cent of the people prefer to use their right hand for doing things. Not surprisingly, life in all cultures is geared to the right-handed individual. Implements like nuts and bolts are difficult to handle for the left-handed. Incidentally, “right” also means “correct”. The word “left” is derived from the Anglo-Saxonlyft” which means “weak” or “useless”.
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Our brains are wired for handedness. During the process of evolution, the centre for language moved to the left hemisphere in the majority of the people. The human brain functions such that the left and dominant hemisphere controls the right side of the body, making the majority (80 per cent) totally right-handed. The dominance does not extend to the use of the hand alone — such people are also are “right sided”. Their dominant eye, ear and leg are on the same side of the body.

Problems arise in 20 per cent of the population that doesn’t have a dominant hemisphere to determine laterality or handedness. Their brains are “cross wired”, giving them mixed handedness or laterality, cross dominance, mixed dominance or cross laterality. In short, the right hand may be matched with the left foot or the left hand with the right eye. This leads to confused, crossed signals in the brain when complex tasks are performed. The electrical and chemical signals have to criss-cross the midline before they eventually reach their final destination in the designated area of the brain. Therefore, such individuals are accident prone, and have things around them explode, collapse, catch fire or fall apart. Day-to-day objects are misplaced, and navigation from one place to another (with left to right confusion) — even along familiar roads — becomes a nightmare.

These adults evolved from clumsy children, who kept bumping into things and frequently fell down. Their bodies have scars and evidence of healed fractures. Their school projects get “excellent” for imagination and “zero” for execution. Life is difficult for people with mixed laterality. Career choices are affected, with professions like driving or piloting a plane remaining distant dreams.

People with mixed laterality alternate hands when writing and legs when kicking. They hold the telephone to the ear opposite to their writing hand. They subconsciously use one hand first and then the other to perform complex tasks. Earlier, such people were considered ambidextrous, but true ambidexterity is almost unknown.

The uncertainty also extends to the mental image of their own limbs or body surface. This causes an inability to rapidly execute commands to turn right or left. The march past becomes a formidable hurdle, with everyone doing a “right turn”, while the affected individual wanders off in the wrong direction. Hesitation is evident if they are asked to perform complicated tasks with alternating hands initiating the movement. Slowed reactions preclude split second decisions, causing frequent accidents. Also, people with mixed laterality do not perform well in track and field events. Their feet do not alternate quickly enough. Running is slow and uncoordinated. The good news, however, is that they excel in games involving a bat (such as hockey, cricket, tennis, badminton and table tennis). This is because the bat is held across the body on the dominant side.

Mixed laterality also has its advantages. The criss-crossing of brain signals uses and strengthens many normally unused brain synapses and pathways. Hence such people are exceptionally talented, creative and artistic. If portraits or photographs of some famous artists — such as Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt — are scrutinised, you will see that they may paint with one hand, while tilting the head to the other side and crossing the opposite leg. This demonstrates mixed laterality.

To check your laterality, figure out —

* Which hand you use to write, pick up objects or dial the telephone

* Which leg you use to kick or which is uppermost when your legs are crossed (this remains constant all through life)

* If you cannot hear clearly, to which side you tilt your head

* The side of your jaw you use to chew (this is also constant unless there is a dental problem)

If you have mixed laterality, it is possible to overcome the “defects” and strengthen both sides equally, in a way that it “compensates” for mixed laterality. These exercises, that require 10 repetitions, may be of help

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• While walking, clench and unclench your hands, alternating them with the foot you use to step forward (right hand and left foot)

• Standing on one leg at a time

• Close one eye first and then the other

• Close one ear at a time

• Doing yogic breathing through one nostril at a time.

If a child is “left” handed, that may be the “right” laterality for him or her. Punishment, ridicule or forceful correction messes up the brain connections. Desist from interference, or you might just have sabotaged the emergence of the next Einstein.

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Source:
The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Balancing Builds Strength & Flexibility

If you’re familiar with the classic yoga pose called “downward facing dog,” try this variation for more of a challenge. It develops flexibility in your legs while strengthening your core and upper-body muscles.

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Step 1. Begin on your hands and knees, then curl your toes under and lift your hips to straighten your knees, pushing your heels toward the floor. Shift your weight to your left leg and raise your right leg off the floor. Keep your right foot flexed, with your toes and knee pointed down.

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Step 2.  Focus on keeping your shoulders and hips facing the floor as you shift your upper-body weight to your right hand. Slowly raise your left arm off the floor while you use your core muscles to stabilize your shoulders and pelvis. Find your balance and hold for three complete breaths. Slowly lower your arm and leg, then switch sides and repeat the exercise on the other side.

Sources: Los Angeles Times

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Thigh-Muscle Stretch (Yoga Exercise)

Thigh-muscle stretch works best if body stays in alignment

It’s very easy to cheat when performing some of the more popular stretches. But without proper form, we can end up wasting our time or worse — creating undue stress on our joints. When done correctly, this is an excellent way to stretch the muscles in the front of the thigh.
Step 1:->.

Stand with both feet together, then shift your body weight over your left leg and bend your right knee. Reach your left arm in front of you, or place it directly on a sturdy surface to help you balance.

Step 2:->

Bend forward and reach down to grasp your right foot with your right hand. Be sure to hold around the arch or the shoelace area of your foot (not the toes). Stand upright and point your right knee straight toward the floor; be sure your knee does not point out to the side. For a deeper stretch, tuck your hips under your torso and pull your heel closer toward your buttocks. Release and repeat on the other leg.
Now leave your hand, come back to the straight standing position and do the same stretching of the other hips.

Try to remain in stretched position for at least 30 seconds and minimum 3 sets of the above exercise to be done at a time.

This stretching exercise is very helpful to get rid of leg fatigue and knee pain.

Sources:Los Angles Times

 

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Why Can’t We Write With Both Hands Simultaneously?

The problem lies not only in writing two different words together with both of our hands, but writing anything simultaneously at all.

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This is due to the fact that most people are adept at using only one hand. In fact, the majority of people are right-handed, with only four per cent using the left hand.

The human body is not fully symmetrical. There is a little asymmetry between the left and the right part of the body. Usually, the right side of the body is slightly heavier than the left side. Our brain is also divided into left and right parts. Even the functions of the parts are somewhat different. Normally the left half of the brain dominates over the right. In such a case, nerves originating from the brain cross over at the level of the neck and go to the right side of the body. Such persons are right-handed. But in a few cases, where the right half of the brain dominates, the nerves coming out of the brain pass onto the left parts of the body. Such people are left-handed.

Therefore, a person is efficient while using only one of his hands. Ambidexterity is an exception.

The human brain also has different centres for controlling different cultural activities like speaking, writing and so on. The hypothetical writing centre can only regulate one activity

Sources:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Vakrasana-1 (Yoga Exercise)

 

This is the advanced stage of Vakrasana-1. Here the spine is twisted with the support of the knee alongwith the shoulder, and hence it involves more strain.
Pre position Sitting Position.

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How to practice the Asana(Exercise)
1. Bend the left leg in the knee and place it near the thigh of left leg.
2. Place the right hand beyond the folded knee of the left leg and in front of the left hand. Keep the palms of both the hands in opposite direction. There should be a distance of one foot between the two hands.
3. Press the standing left knee with the right hand and shoulders, and twist the neck to the left. Turn the sight also in the same direction and continue normal breathing.

Position:
1. In this Asana (Exercise)the spine is to be kept straight.
2. The lower end of the spine and both the hips be placed well on the floor and stabilize them.
3. Then with the support of the neck and shoulders twist the upper vertebrae to the left. Alongwith the neck, the sight should also be turned to the left side and stabilize it in that direction.
4. In Vakrasana (Type 1) the spine is twisted only with the help of the shoulders. Here the shoulders, the knee and the hand are placed in such a way that there is more pressure on the spine.

Releasing :
1. Turn the neck and the sight to the front.
2. Restore the right hand to its place and set right the palm of the left hand.
3. Straighten the left leg and take the sitting position.

Note: Perform this Asana by taking up the right leg making relevant changes.
Duration It should be maintained for two minutes on each side to have the expected benefits. With practice, it can be maintained up to six minutes.

Benefits: The elasticity of the spine increases as it gets twisted in its erect position. Alongwith the spine the belly and other internal organs also get twisted and receive the desired strain. It also has very good effect on the spinal cord and its functioning is improved.
Precaution : One should avoid the temptation of attaining the ideal position if strain is unbearable.

Reference Book:– Yoga Pravesh