Tag Archives: Right-handedness

On the Strong and Balanced Side

When your core is strong, daily activities become easier and you’ll get more from your exercise routines as well. Remember to incorporate this straightforward yet challenging move for a more balanced practice.
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Begin on your hands and knees. Turn to the side and position your right hand directly below your right shoulder and your right knee below your right hip. Straighten your left leg with your left foot flat on the floor, toes and knee facing forward. Reach up with your left arm so it is above your shoulders. Engage your abdominals and move your tailbone in toward your body to avoid over-arching your lower back. Look up to the ceiling and pause.

Keeping your hips and shoulders stacked, push through your left heel and lift it to hip level. Concentrate on maintaining your balance with minimal movement in your torso. Hold this position for three to six breaths. Then lower your leg, come to all fours and repeat on the other side.

Source:Los Angeles Times

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Going to the Wall

The wall can be an excellent prop when practicing yoga poses or other stretches that require balance and strength as well as flexibility. It helps you feel stable so you can get in the proper position to gain maximum benefit from the exercise.

Stand approximately 3 feet away from a stable wall with your back toward the wall and your feet together. Bend forward at the hips and place your fingertips on the floor directly below your shoulders. (Place your hands on two yoga blocks if you cannot reach the floor.) Place your left foot flat on the wall at hip height, with your knee and toes facing the floor. You may have to adjust to make sure your right ankle is below your right hip. Inhale and look forward, sliding your shoulders down and away from your ears.

Exhale and focus on keeping your hips and legs stationary. On the next inhalation, rotate your ribs, chest and shoulders to the right. Reach your right arm upward, with fingers pointing to the ceiling. Look toward your right thumb. Pause for three to six breaths in this position, feeling a deep stretch in your back. Return your right hand to the floor, change legs and repeat on the other side.

Source :Los Angeles Times

 

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)

Left Hand Reaches Brain First

When patients had both hands transplanted, their brains re-established connections much more quickly with the left hand than the right,  a team of researchers in France reports. W
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The sample was small, just two patients, but both had been right-handed before losing their hands, and both followed a pattern of reconnection with their brain that was quicker for the left hand.

The study, led by Angela Sirigu of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Lyon, France, is reported in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The research shows that even years after loss of hands the brain can reorganize and rewire itself to recognize and connect to a replacement.

It also came just days after French physicians, in a 30-hour operation, performed the world’s first simultaneous partial-face and double-hand transplant. Paris’ Public Hospital authority described the recipient as a 30-year-old burn victim who was injured in a 2004 accident.

Sirigu’s team used magnetic imaging to study the brains of people who lad lost both hands and to see how the motor region that controls movement responded after new hands were transplanted.

The first case involved LB, a 20-year-old man injured in 2000, who received the transplants in 2003 after having used artificial hand devices in the meantime.

He was checked periodically and the researchers found his brain re-established nerve connections to control the left hand by 10 months, while it took 26 months to complete the rewiring needed for the right hand.

“Interestingly, despite that LB was right-handed, and that after his amputation he used his prosthetic device mostly with his right hand,, hand preference shifted from right to left after he had the graft,” the researchers reported.

The second patient studied, CD, was a 46-year-old man who lost both hands in 1996 and received a dual hand transplant in 2000. He was tested by the researchers in 2004, 51 months after the transplant. Strong connections in the brain were observed for the left hand, but not yet the right.

The researchers said more study is needed to determine the reason that the brain reconnected more efficiently to the left hand in these patients. Possibilities include a basically better connection to the left hand, factors in the way that the brain reorganizes itself during the process of the loss of a hand and its later replacement, or perhaps some pre-existing difference in brain organization.

In general, experiments have shown that the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and many researchers believe it also dominates in such areas as spatial abilities, face recognition, visual imagery and music. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and is thought to dominate in language, math and logic. However, many traits are shared by both sides, and if one side is damaged the other can take over many of its functions.

The research was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the French National Center for Scientific Research, the International Brain Organization and other organizations in Brazil, France and Canada.

Sources: The Times Of India

Seated Twists Give Muscles a Lift

Twisting is a part of everyday movement, but if your body is not used to doing it correctly, you could easily get injured by twisting the wrong way. Here are two seated twists that will help stretch and strengthen the muscles of your back, abdomen, hips and legs. Once you feel comfortable with twists done safely on the floor, you can progress to standing twists. Always approach twists with caution, especially if you have a sensitive back.

Step 1. Sit on the floor with both legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your right knee, foot flat on the floor next to your left inner knee. Hug your right knee with your left arm and pull your body upright so you’re sitting tall. Move your right hand behind you, placing it flat on the floor to help you maintain a vertical spine. Now rotate your upper body to the right as far as you can. Stay in this position for 10 to 20 seconds while breathing evenly. Return to the starting position and switch sides or continue to the next pose.

Step 2. Stay in the twist as you grasp the outer edge of your right foot and slowly straighten your right knee and left elbow. Keep your spine upright as you stretch your right hand out and back . Stay in this position for 10 to 20 seconds. Bend your right knee, release your foot and turn to the front. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.

Sources: Los Angeles Times

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