ADHD is a condition that can cause difficulties with focus and hyperactivity. Thus, asking a person to perform yoga and isometric exercise to help their ADHD may seem akin to unleashing a bull in a china shop. Ironically, the practice of holding yoga poses is a panacea for people who struggle with stillness and focus and can provide an opportunity for its practitioners to retrain their brains and in doing so relieve their ADHD symptoms.
Yoga incorporates both isotonic and isometric contractions. Isotonic refers to muscle in motion and occurs when you change your body position from one yoga pose to the next. Isometric contractions are those that hold a yoga pose in place. They are static, with no movement, change in muscle length or joint angle. In fact, isometric exercises, such as those in yoga, are a low-impact exercise that provides a full-body workout.
Furthermore, yoga takes isometrics one step further to incorporate balance, engaging the vestibular system of the brain. Children, particularly those with ADHD, are often drawn to play that promotes balance (swings, skateboards, balancing activities or those that involve directional-change movement), seeking stimulation as their brains develop. However, holding a yoga pose requires focus, unlike sitting on a playground swing, and provides ADHD sufferers extra opportunity for neurological growth.
Yoga teaches concentration. Any type of isometric exercise requires attention to form, and yoga is no exception. It teaches body position awareness, which requires the development of focusing skills.
Improve Body Control. As you develop more body awareness through yoga practice, you gain more control over your movements and as a result, an increased ability to maintain stillness.
Deep breathing is beneficial. Controlled yoga breathing reduces the anxiety that is common in ADHD, as well as ameliorating irritability and inducing calmness.
Meditation improves executive function. Executive function is higher-level thinking. It’s often deficient in ADHD, and it’s a key component of being organized and paying attention. Meditation is the practice of increasing awareness of your own thoughts and therefore improves your executive functioning abilities.
Yoga can be done in a class setting or as a home workout. It incorporates simple exercises that build muscle strength, improve stamina, and provides a way for you to get toned and more energetic. Therefore, it’s an effective ADHD management tool for both adults and children, and it’s worth trying if you haven’t yet done so.