By Faye Martins
Yoga for children with attention deficit disorders is a sensible solution. Yoga can be an incredibly effective tool in supporting children with ADD or ADHD to improve their ability to focus and concentrate well. There is a lot of debate about the widespread use of the label ADHD among the medical community. However, the entire quagmire of diagnosing so many children with attention deficit disorders is outside the purview of this article. Suffice it so say that maybe some of the children labeled with ADHD are behaving sanely in a somewhat “off-balance” and disconnected world.
A true clinical diagnosis of ADHD is often fueled by a genetic predisposition, unbalanced neurochemistry and environmental factors. Children who are struggling with a lot of anxiety, depression and ungrounded excess energy may also be diagnosed with ADHD. Other children may be truly suffering with an imbalance of neurotransmitters and may need to be under the care of a physician and/or psychiatrist. Either way, a regular practice of Yoga can help to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD and help a child to feel less overwhelmed and more able to concentrate on the task at hand.
In some cases, ADHD may be exacerbated by a sense of loneliness, disconnection and lack of attention that the child is experiencing. The child may feel at a loss for a strong sense of mooring from both his or her family and school. Practicing Yoga several times a week with the same group of students will help a child to bond socially, promote a sense of community-connectedness and engage the child in a well-rounded practice that nurtures both physical and mental health.
Practicing a vigorous and fun series of Yoga asanas several times a week will also help a child to burn off excess anxious energy that may be adding to the lack of ability to focus on one task at a time. A regular practice of Yoga also helps to balance the nervous system and even balance the endocrine system, which may help a child to reduce the amount of medication he or she is currently taking. Do remember to please check with your child’s doctor or psychiatrist prior to changing the dosage of any prescription medication.
The centering and grounding practices of Yoga will also help a child to learn to focus and concentrate on one task at a time. Just practicing Eagle Pose without falling over will be both fun and challenging for a child with or without ADHD. As the child learns to trust him or herself in accomplishing the successful completion of a series of Yoga postures, the child will also learn to trust that he or she is able to complete thirty minutes of math or social studies homework. In all of the above-mentioned ways, a regular practice of Yoga will support a child in being more grounded, less anxious, increase his or her level of self-esteem, enhance friendships and improve the child’s ability to concentrate and focus on the task at hand.
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