Why Yoga is Essential for Kids with ADHD
While medication is one way to manage the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AHDH), yoga therapy is also very useful in helping kids who suffer from this mental health issue. According to a study conducted by ADDitude magazine in 2017, approximately 40% of adults who have ADHD said practicing mindfulness meditation helped them enhance their focus and calm their mind. And yoga helps children diagnosed with ADHD the same way because it meshes together breathing exercises with physical activities, thereby increasing strength, concentration, relaxation, and mood management.
What is ADHD?
Previously referred to as Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD), ADHD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder where symptoms in children include inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Today, it is one of the most common mental health problems affecting kids and with it becoming increasingly prevalent around the world, many parents are turning to yoga to help decrease hyperactive behavior and stress, increase motor coordination and to help promote self-regulation.
How Yoga Helps
Enhances mindfulness and calmness – Kids with ADHD suffer from increased anxiety levels and have difficulty concentrating on tasks at hand. Yoga routines are calming, mainly when children practice the same poses and become good at them. By helping kids focus and calm down when they are experiencing a bout of anxiety, yoga therapy promotes self-control and thereby helps children understand how the mind interacts with the body. This, in turn, helps them deal better with challenging scenarios and improves their social interactions as well.
- Controlling breathing – Understanding regulated breathing is essential in helping kids feel more in command of their bodies and brains. For children with ADHD, this factor is vital in assisting them to exercise control over hyperactive and impulsive outbursts. Deep breathing:
- Decreases anxiety and stress
- Reduces fidgety tendencies and impulsive behavior, which detract from a child’s concentration
- Enhances self-regulation when kids feel perturbed
- Cultivates techniques to control impulses and remain calm
- Creates routines and increases focus – When yoga therapy is practiced regularly, it promotes mindfulness, and as a result kids better their attention spans. Through yoga, children with ADHD learn discipline, which helps them follow directives better while bringing their impulses under control. Short periods of meditation are helpful too and positively affect children’s focus and self-control. So kids with ADHD who practice yoga, can concentrate better in their classrooms, improve their interactions with peers and also fare better on their homework and other assignments as well.
- Significantly increases self-esteem – One of the most endearing qualities of yoga therapy is that it isn’t competitive. While it encourages concentration, there is absolutely no pressure to achieve, compete, or perform, and each child picks up new steps following their learning curve. Kids with ADHD need a safe environment that fosters confidence and self-esteem while creating awareness and compassion for oneself and others. And yoga cultivates all this and more.
Children with ADHD need an outlet for their pent up energy, and they also need to be taught useful techniques of how to harness and focus their energy while remaining calm. Through breathing exercises, different postures and meditation practices, yoga therapy helps children with ADD equip themselves with tools to manage anger, hurt, frustration, and other emotions further down the line.
By helping kids with ADHD develop a better mind-body connection, yoga helps balance the neurotransmitters in their brain and gifts kids the gear they need to decrease anxiety and stress, improve their focus, increase self-awareness, and have better interactions with their peers, both socially and academically. So yoga therapy provides kids with ADHD the armor they need to overcome their mental health issue and meet their daily challenges, successfully.
If you would like to know more, please email me at Hello@LittleBigWarrior.com.au