Practicing yoga can help reduce symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Because yoga focuses on breath control and mindfulness, it can help people with ADHD stay present and remain focused.
ADHD makes it difficult for individuals to maintain their focus, manage their energy levels, and control their impulses. However, some research suggests yoga may benefit people with the condition.
Regularly practicing yoga can
Read on to learn more about how yoga can help people with ADHD. There are also some examples of yoga poses to try.
Yoga can help people with ADHD manage their symptoms and increase their focus.
Most studies investigating ADHD and yoga looked at children, but adults may experience similar benefits. However, more research is also necessary in this area.
Yoga offers a variety of benefits, regardless of whether or not an individual has ADHD. When a person starts regular yoga practice, they may
- lower stress levels
- pain relief, especially in the lower back and neck areas
- relief from tension headache
- weight management
- better mental health
Yoga may also improve ADHD symptoms in some individuals.
According to one
- a reduction in inattentive symptoms
- a reduction in hyperactive-inattentive symptoms
- improved attention
However, the researchers noted that impulsivity did increase in some children after practicing yoga. Therefore, more research on yoga for ADHD is necessary to understand the activity’s effect on symptoms and why.
In recent years, researchers have shown an increasing interest in understanding how yoga affects the brain.
They observed the scans of the individuals who practiced yoga had structural and functional improvements in:
- the hippocampus, which processes memories and aids in learning
- the amygdala, which is responsible for processing emotions
prefrontal cortex, which manages executive function, memory, language, and knowledge
These changes could explain the mental health benefits people report after starting yoga.
Additionally, changes in the prefrontal cortex may also explain why some individuals with ADHD notice improvements in their symptoms after practicing yoga. The prefrontal cortex
Practicing yoga in any form can benefit someone with ADHD. However, a person may wish to consider adding certain poses that allow for meditation and reflection.
Individuals can try the following poses.
1. Easy pose
- Begin on the floor, seated on a blanket or mat.
- Place each foot under the opposite knee.
- Place both hands on each knee.
- Look straight ahead and relax.
- Slowly close the eyes.
- Hold this pose for several breaths or the length of the meditation session.
2. Savasana pose, variation
- Begin by lying down on the body’s side.
- Place the arms beside the body and keep a soft bend in the knees.
- Place a yoga block, rolled towel, or pillow beneath the head.
- Relax the face and close the eyes. Focus on breathing.
- Stay in this pose for several minutes.
3. Cobra pose variation
- Begin by laying on the stomach.
- Plant the palms in front of the chest in line with the shoulders.
- Gently push up until the entire stomach is off the ground. Keep the shoulders back and neck long.
- Inhale and exhale in this pose.
- Lower back down and repeat.
Choosing yoga poses that focus on animal names or visual cues is a useful way to get children excited about yoga. Creating a story with different animal characters will hold their attention and make their yoga session more enjoyable.
1. Downward facing dog
- Begin the pose on the hands and knees.
- Stretch the elbows.
- Exhale and lift the knees off the floor, pressing the heels towards the floor.
- Optionally, stretch one foot up and back. Then repeat with the other leg.
2. Tree pose
- Stand with the weight of the body equally distributed across both feet.
- Begin to shift the weight onto the right foot.
- Bend the left leg and bring the sole of the left foot up to the right inner thigh. If this is not possible, place the foot on the inner right calf.
- Focus on a stationary object in the distance to balance.
- Hold for five to ten breaths and repeat on the other side.
3. Cat-cow pose
- Get onto the hands and knees, placing the hands directly under the shoulders and the knees under the hips.
- With each exhale, round the back. Pull the belly button into the spine.
- With each inhale, gently drop the belly and arch the back. Keep the chest open and neck long.
Beginner yoga poses adults can practice include easy pose, corpse pose, and thunderbolt pose. When introducing young children to yoga, choose poses that relate to concrete objects or animals, for example, tree and butterfly pose.