About Gilly Johnson


I’ve been learning, practicing and teaching Brain Gym® and Edu-K since I attended the Edu-K In Depth workshop with Paul and Gail Dennison in 1984 in San Diego, California. As a primary school teacher interested in learning it showed me a different way of approaching teaching. And I quickly found this was relevant to people of all ages and to much more than academic learning.


At the end of 1986 I resigned from my teaching position and started a full-time Brain Gym practice. It was exciting and rewarding, and I find that is still true 30 years later. I took further training and in 1991 became a member of the Edu/K International Faculty, teaching advanced level training courses. I’ve taught courses throughout Australia and overseas, in South Africa, Singapore and in Japan.


As well as teaching courses from the Brain Gym/Edu-K curriculum I see individuals of all ages, from toddlers to senior citizens in private sessions. I also facilitate introductory and professional development sessions. I continue to learn attending courses regularly to keep up with the latest developments in this wonderful work.


I was born in England then in 1952 moved with my family to Central Africa. I arrived in Australia in the early 70’s and with my husband and three sons settled in Brisbane. Here I completed my Diploma in Primary Education in 1978 and taught until 1986. 

Gilly Johnson (formerly Gillian Buckingham)

Brain Gym®/Educational Kinesiology


The 26 simple Brain Gym activities, included in the course “Brain Gym 101: Balance for Daily Life,” are used in schools worldwide, and are the most well-known part of the work. In that entry-level course, the 26 activities are taught within a context of 11 “Action Balances” that organise learning around a 5-step process, including the setting of a personal goal.


The Brain Gym activities are designed to relax, release, and realign, supporting focus as well as ambient attention. People of all ages and abilities use the 26 to prepare to learn, to internalize new input, and to then make new learning more accessible. The work has been translated into more than 40 languages, and is offered in such diverse fields as academics, sports, business, and senior care in more than 80 countries worldwide.


Educational Kinesiology (Edu-K for short) is a comprehensive and enjoyable learning-skills program for people of all ages who want to experience intrinsic mastery of their subject. Brain Gym Instructors, specialists in a full range of Edu-K coursework, recognize movement and cognition (the body and brain) as one whole system, see the muscles and senses as working in synergy, and understand learning to be built on play—cultivating the senses and motor skills, rather than overriding them. 


The Edu-K curriculum of honoring the learner’s body wisdom by moving to internalize meaning provides opportunities for the development of the following main areas of human experience:

  • The physical skills of learning – this term (for a concept unique to Edu-K) refers to the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence—the sensorimotor mechanics, such as eye teaming or head turning—behind each academic and cognitive skill

  • Self-regulation – the self-care, initiative, and self-direction that are best discovered through movement and social interaction

  • Structured play – interactions with others or with objects in which a theme provides a creative context for the unfoldment of learning through purposeful movement

  • Symbolic thinking – mental processing in which, by mastery of the coding of words and images, concrete physical experience is represented

  • Aesthetic appreciation – the perception of beauty and other sensory/emotional values experienced through pattern-seeing, in such areas as nature, fine arts, and coordinated movement

In courses and private sessions alike, the Edu-K work is known for its movement-based approach to personal goal setting. People come with challenges that range from wanting to improve communication skills (such as reading, writing, listening, or focusing their attention) to aspiring to connect with their inner joy or self-confidence. When they then experience their abilities in the context of their habits of movement, a new world opens up to them.

An edited extract from the the Dennison’s website www.heartsatplay.com 


Private sessions/consultations

A private session typically last 60 to 90 mins and allows you to experience Brain Gym/Edu-K within the context of a specific goal of your own choice. In the session, Brain Gym activities may be experienced as well as more advanced work, as appropriate. These sessions can be for people of all ages and stages of development, from young children to seniors and everyone in between.


When the sessions are for children the initial consultation may include the whole family, then everyone gets to learn a bit about Brain Gym and I get to meet the student and their family. If that is not possible then it is useful for the parent to come by them self for the first session, unless they already have some experience of Brain Gym/Edu-K. This allows us to go straight into action, without much talking and explaining in the next session.


The process starts with you choosing a goal or focus for the session. This goal could be around learning in general, such as reading or staying focussed on a task. Or it might be about getting up easily in the morning, organising some aspect of your life, improving you golf swing, playing a musical instrument, studying for exams, speaking in public, relationships, improving you memory or any of the many things that a person would like to be better at or do more easily or efficiently.