Hi there Youthful Yogis!
I have something amazing to share with you today!
It's not inside information on how to win the lottery...
It's not a four page letter to your mom about the
benefits of serving chocolate for dinner....
It is some super
incredible, totally awesome information about your brain!!
I know, the brain is a little creepy when you actually take a good look at it. You'll notice from the picture that our brains are made out of soft tissue. An average human brain weighs about three pounds; it is 75% water and--if you can believe a few of the sources I found--it has 100,000 miles of blood vessels!
Something that makes the brain look funny are all
of its ripples, which it turns out are actually folds in the tissue. Did you
ever notice how you can fit more clothing into a suitcase when each piece of
clothing is carefully folded?
|"To fold or not to fold...that is the question!"|
Well, the same is true for the brain. Brain tissue "is folded in a way that increases the amount of surface that can fit into the volume available"...I got that from Wikipedia, in case you're wondering!
So, we have all this this creepy soft tissue folded
up in our heads (please don't tell your science teacher I called the brain
creepy!)...what protects the soft tissue, you might ask?
Our friend Tintin up there might end up with a
headache after getting walloped by a bad guy, but his brain is probably safe
thanks to something called the skull.
Here is a picture of a real human skull:
And here are more images of skulls:
The part of the skull that encloses and protects
the brain is called the cranium...not to be confused with a really fun
board game of the same name:
Now it's time for me to tell you a little something
about the workings of the brain....
I'm not sure who that guy is!...Anyway, the brain
is made up of nerve cells called neurons. There are about 100 billion
neurons in a human brain!!! Any thought you have or action you take
involves information being passed from one neuron to another. Here is
what a neuron looks like:
One end is called the dendrite and the
other end is called the axon. Of course, you would need a
special microscope to actually see neurons in such detail.
Something else you need to know is that neurons
don't touch! In order for messages to pass from one cell to another,
signals have to cross a tiny gap called a synapse:
Luckily for anyone who wants to move or think or
even breath, special chemicals are released that allow messages to be passed
across synapses from the axon of one cell to the dendrite of
another. The route this information travels is called a synaptic
|There are trillions of synaptic pathways in our brains!|
When signals are being sent through brain cells in this fashion, we say our "synapses
are firing"! I found a video online of what it might look like
inside our brains when the synapses are "firing". This is really
the coolest thing ever! Make sure it's OK to go on YouTube, then click on the words in the picture below and check it out!
Here is one more thing I want you to know about the
brain, Youthful Yogis: when you do things everyday, like brushing your teeth,
walking your dog or asking your mom for a little extra allowance...
|Not happening, Dude...|
...strong pathways get created in your brain. The
trick, especially as people get older, is to continue to create new pathways.
How in the world do we create new synaptic pathways, you
might ask? What a great question! After some serious research, I've come up
with some answers. Here we go...
The Official Youthful Yogis List of Activities to
Build and Strengthen Synaptic Pathways:
1) Practice yoga!
2) Include exercise of any sort into your daily schedule:
|"It's all about the brain...!"|
3) Eat a healthy diet:
...and be sure to include yummy foods full of
"good fat" to help your brain develop:
|"I call this my happy place...!"|
5) Play games!
6) Learn a foreign language!
7) Play music!
8) Do something completely different!
|Try brushing your teeth with the "wrong" hand, for example.|
And, as if all of this is not enough, here is one
more thing you can do for your brain...
Studies have shown that laughter releases chemicals
that can help to keep us healthy...and that's no laughing matter.
|"To me, everything is a laughing matter!"|
If you want a little more laughter in your life,
why not check out something called Laughter Yoga...it really exists!
Click on the link below to see a YouTube video of some folks enjoying
Laughter Yoga...it'll crack you up! (Remember to check with an adult to
make sure it's OK to go to YouTube!)
It's been lots of fun discussing the brain
with you today, Youthful Yogis. There's lots to think about...
|"I was born to think!"|
And the good news is that all this thinking will
fire up our synapses!
I hope you've enjoyed what we've covered
today...I'll definitely be talking more about the brain in the future. Meanwhile, why not do some research on your own? There are tons of articles
about the brain in books and online...drop me an email if you find something
Have a great day, Youthful Yogis. And remember
to strengthen your brain by trying something new!
I'll see you again soon,