You don't have to run away and join the circus to learn juggling and poi!
It is now becoming very common for both children and adults alike to engage in activities that were once traditionally used in circus acts.
An ancient craft dating back to Egypt nearly 4,000 years ago, juggling is getting a fair bit of attention these days on the meditation circuit. And it's no wonder! Juggling opens up new neurological pathways that enhances feelings of wellbeing, and helps us to be more open and creative in our thinking.
Poi has it's origins in New Zealand Maori culture. Poi, like juggling, has an entrance level that is very satisfying to the participant. We like to start participants out with poi. There are a few reasons for this.
- Basic Poi is easy to do.
- Everyone can instantly spin a poi.
- Group poi is fun, visually exciting, and fully engaging.
Beginners on poi can often master a few new techniques within a short period of time.
Juggling workshops start participants off with scarves. It is pretty much a guarantee that by the end, most participants are juggling three scarves. Ball and juggling pyramids are slightly trickier to use. Those with some basic juggling skills will be able to move onto the balls and pyramids quickly.
Both juggling and poi have huge brain benefits.
The effects of juggling on the brain have been researched fairly extensively in the past few years.
Dr. Heidi Johansen-Berg's found that juggling leads to "changes in the white matter of the brain". As the doctor clarified, "We have demonstrated that there are changes in the white matter of the brain—the bundles of nerve fibres that connect different parts of the brain—as a result of learning an entirely new skill."
And not only that, the changes are long lasting! So if you give juggling a go, those new neurological pathways will remain long after you drop the balls.
Enhanced brain power aside, juggling just feels good. Once you get the hang of it, there is something incredibly relaxing and uplifting about juggling.
Poi is wonderfully beneficial to the mind as well. Like juggling - it uses both the right and left brain equally. This rapid "brain entrainment" of both brain hemispheres is known to have several health benefits:
- improved neuro-communication
- new neural pathways constructed to allow higher levels of function
- produces what doctors term "whole brain functioning"
- mind becomes more awakened, focused, and powerful yet more peaceful and calm
- increase in overall mental health, enhancing cognitive performance, better memory and intellectual functioning
- decreased anxiety and increased optimism
Between learning to juggle and learning new skills with poi, you have an intensely winner combination to improved health and wellbeing!!