Yoga and ADHD: How an Ancient Discipline Develops the Brain


Yoga and ADHD: Is there a connection? Recent research using brain-scanning technology points to ADHD as a delay in brain neural development, especially in the right prefrontal center associated with self-management, control and concentration.

However, research also indicates that exercises that that focus on developing the executive center of the brain like yoga can be beneficial to children and adults with ADHD.

Many medical practitioners recommend yoga as part of a comprehensive treatment program that includes medication and cognitive behavior therapy. Others see yoga as a modality that can lessen and eventually replace the child's dependence on prescription drugs. Yoga and ADHD can work well together.

How does Yoga Benefit ADHD ?

For one thing, yoga combines physical and mental discipline to produce a deep state of relaxation. Research shows that exercises integrating body and mind sharpens the attention system of the brain. This is one reason why Martial Arts programs have been so successful in helping children develop focus and concentration.

In yoga classes, children are encouraged to sustain different postures or asanas.As each child works to find balance in these postures, he or she is developing a sense of body spaceknown as proprioception.

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Exploring new body postures and becoming familiar with them is a form of whole body learning. When this happens, brain function is enhanced. Both left and right hemispheres are synchronized in a form of bilateral stimulation.

Balancing postures, breathing practices and mental focus all enhance neural development in the executive centers of the brain. Because yoga is ritualistic and systematic, it helps the ADHD child create a sense of order and coherence. Like the frame within a house, yoga provides the necessary anchor for the ADHD child.

According to Mary Alice Askew, a hypnotherapist at Haller's Behavior Arts and Research Clinic in New York City, yoga provides several benefits to the hyperactive mind.

1. It fosters self-awareness which is the first step in self acceptance and self healing.

2. It provides structure by encouraging the child to develop a systematic pattern of movement that can help organize the brain.

3. It improves coordination and physical fitness which improves self-esteem and an overall sense of well-being. Yoga is s sport that provides physical fitness without the stress that usually accompanies competition.

More Information on Yoga and ADHD in this video

There is no doubt that yoga and ADHD go hand in hand. Whole body postures, breathing practice and balancing can help neural development, especially in the executive centers of the brain.


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