Cross Crawl Exercise

Dr Denice Moffat

The Cross Crawl is simply a cross-lateral walking in place exercise. By touching the right elbow to the left knee and then the left elbow to the right knee, large areas of both brain hemispheres are activated at the same time. Cross Crawling, like walking and being totally present to the motion of walking, facilitates balanced nerve activation across the corpus callosum (that part in your brain that connects the right half to the left half.) When done on a regular basis, more nerve networks form and more connection are made in the corpus callosum, thus making communication between the two hemispheres faster and more integrated for high level reasoning.


I did this exercise fairly frequently when I first started my path to wellness. I remember most of my life, people would call me "spacey", "space cadet," "Airhead," "Dizzy," and "Blonde." I think this exercise really helped me overcome much of my dyslexia. And, no...I don't get called those names anymore. Well... maybe it's because I surround myself with a better quality group of friends and companions as well... but that's another story.


The Cross Crawl movements should be performed very slowly. When the exercise is done slowly, it requires more fine motor involvement and balance, consciously activating the vestibular system and the frontal lobes. The more fine muscle involvement, the more frontal lobe involvement in conjunction with the basal ganglion of the limbic brain and the cerebellum of the brain stem.


Cross Crawl is excellent for activating full mind /body function, especially for those with dyslexia, stroke, or other debilitating diseases needing lots of physical therapy in order to relearn daily functions.


Cross Crawl should be done as a daily exercise.


How to do the Cross Crawl Exercise:


1) Start off with thumping the K-27 points, which is and acupuncture point on either side of the upper sternum. Doing this will help your body be present while exercising and it also stimulates the immune system.


2) Bend your right leg at the knee, while swinging your left arm in front of you across the centerline of your body. Touch your left elbow to your right knee.


3) Now bend your left leg at the knee and touch your right elbow to the left knee.


4) Feel the energies crossing over, invigorating you. Try to repeat the exercise 25 times for each leg. Really build that habit into your energy field.


If doing the cross crawl seems hard or you find yourself lifting the arm and leg on the same side of the body at the same time or if you feel down in the dumps... then it's likely that your energies aren't crossing over from one side of the body to the other. That's a condition known as homolateral (which means samesidedness.) When our energies are running straight up and down instead of in sweeping 8’s, we have access to only about 50% of our energies. Because of this, it's hard to process information, heal, learn, grow, change, and create.


When this is the case and standing to do the exercise seems too difficult, it can be done lying down on flat surface (like your bed or a massage table). To give the exercise extra power, try twisting your head from side to side as you do the exercise.


Some of us find ourselves in a homolateral state from time to time. And some of us have been living with stress so long that our energies have stopped crossing over. One feels a bit “brain-dead’ or spacey. Cross Crawl can re-introduce our energies to the pleasures of crossing over.


The Homolateral Crawl:


Anyone can do this exercise, but it's most effective for people whose energies are running up and down instead of crossing over from left to right and right to left. Try it and see if it makes you feel more focused and alive. Everyone is different. You need to find the exercise that works for you, then branch out and stretch a bit to different exercises.


If you feel better after doing this exercise, try incorporating it into your life three times a day for 30 days. This is how long it takes to form a new habit. You're replacing an old ingrained habit with a new one... so show your body you are serious about making the change.


It's best to do this sitting or lying down, because we're going to challenge our bodies to do something unfamiliar and you don't want to strain yourself.


The whole premise of this exercise is to HONOR the current rhythms and habits of our energies and then invite our energies to try something new.


1) Lift your right arm and your right leg. Then put them both down.


2) Lift your left arm and your left leg. Then put them both down.


3) Repeat steps 1 & 2 about 12 times for each side for a total of 24 repetitions. This will get you in tune with the homolateral pattern. You're inviting your body to do what it recognizes.


4) Now do the Cross Crawl exercise above for another 24 repetitions (12 repetitions for each side of the body.)


 Remember to breathe and rest as you go. There's no hurry. Take your time.