Cross crawling is actually something we kind of do naturally when we go for a walk. This is why the simple act of a good brisk walk is such a great way to get inspiration – apart from anything else, it gets you breathing!!
This exercise is in two parts which can be done separately, or combined if you feel particularly energetic. It seems appropriate linguistically to call them steps.
Step 1: Walking
If you are able, go for a 10 to 20 minute walk each day, either before you start a creative activity or, especially, if you hit a creative block.
For at least five minutes of the walk, swing your arms from side to side in front of your body. Depending on your physical ability – and where you are doing it – this movement can be as small or large as you feel comfortable with.
Step 2: Cross crawling
You can do this exercise in the comfort of your own home and it important that you do it slowly and you only go as far as is comfortable.
1. Stand with your arms to the side and let the tension fall from your body. Feel the floor with your feet.
2. Now bend your right leg at the knee and swing your left arm in front of you across your navel and, if you can, touch your left elbow to your right knee.
3. Let your right leg fall gently and your left arm return and now bend your left leg at the knee and touch your right elbow to the left knee. Again make sure your left arm crosses your navel.
5. Try to repeat the exercise 10 to 20 times for each side.
If you find it difficult or you seem to get your sides mixed up like tapping your head and rubbing your stomach, don’t worry. This just means your left and right hemispheres really need this exercise. Either really slow the movements down or try it lying down. It will come in time.
I first did this exercise over 10 years ago and after the exercise I briefly started mirror writing. This is often a trait seen in those categorised with dyslexia. If it happens to you, take it as a sign that new pathways are opening up in your brain.
Less Strenuous Versions
Note if you are physically infirm or unwell and either of these exercises is either impossible or likely to cause you harm, instead of getting your elbow and knee to touch, you can just tap your opposite knee with your hand as shown here. This has much the same effect.
What is most bizarre though, if you not able even to do this reduced movement version, you can actually get some benefit by closing your eyes and imagining you are carrying them out – as observed and supervised below by a professionally qualified ‘cross-crawler’ who takes me on ‘training sessions’ daily – although I labour under the illusion that it is me who walks him.
Such is the power of the mind.
If you would you like to learn more about these techniques, make sure you get a copy of Tom’s new book to find out where ideas really come from and how you can make sure yours actually happen …
The Art and Science of Light Bulb Moments