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Saturday 8 October 2011


ADHD Children May Benefit From Yoga

    Aug 22, 2010
    Daya Bihm

The 500 practice of yoga and controlled breathing can improve memory and concentration, and can help children with ADHD to focus on tasks and lessons.

Studies have proven that people of all ages need at least sixty minutes a day of exercise for better health. With even recess time decreasing in America’s schools (Rhode Island is no longer providing unstructured time), it is essential, especially for ADHD children, to get exercise to run off their high amounts of energy. Without it, they cannot focus or process what they have learned. According to the article, “The Active Classroom”, no recess for ADHD kids can lead to problems in the classroom.
How Yoga Benefits ADHD

Positively, yoga can assist with the high energy by doing the opposite effect - by calming kids down. According to Yoga Journal, an estimated 2.5 children between the ages of 4 and 17 take a prescribed drug to treat the neurological disorder. With ever increasing concerns of long-term problems from these drugs, people are looking for a less extreme way to help cope with the symptoms. Researchers from Australia and Germany have found that boys ages 8 to 13 who practiced yoga at least once a week for five months were found to be less hyperactive. Yoga’s forward bends, a pose that helps deepen and lengthen breath, is said to aid well in helping ADHD students concentrate.

Yoga, a 5000 year-old practice, has been known to calm children, reduce obesity, reduce discipline problems, decrease anger and panic, enhance imagination and academic performance. Additionally, common physical ailments such as pains of the stomach, back, and head, constipation, sinus issues, and colds have all been reduced by practicing yoga.

The History of Yoga

Yoga was first documented 5000 years ago in Hindu scripture and followed Buddhist philosophy. The word yoga means “to harness” or “to yoke”. The practice focuses on breathing, mediation, and concentration to calm the mind through specific poses. The poses help increase flexibility and strength, as well as improve bodily functions, such as sleep and balance.

Yoga was not practiced before 1849 in the Western World. It was only considered an interest. Hindu yoga was based a lot on the spiritual, where as it is now more health-based. There are over 40 styles of yoga, but the most actively practiced yoga in the Western world is Hatha yoga. Hatha yoga focuses on vitality, longevity, and fitness.

Children and Yoga Practice

For children who choose to practice yoga, 4 to 6 times a week is preferred. However, only once a week will provide benefits. Class time only need be about 15 minutes for children under 5. Time can be increased to 25 minutes for ages 7 to 9 years. It is recommended that children younger than 5 will need to be instructed in a class by themselves. The 5-11 age groups can be taught together. Children older than 11 might want a single gender class. The average class number should be 6 -10 students.
A children’s yoga class will be taught differently than an adult class. Where adults focus on the health benefits, children are focused on play. Children will be taught the poses set in a story, using songs and games. These activities truly help ADHD children by having them focus on breathing techniques. The breathing techniques will help them to relax, learn self-awareness, and control.

Breathing Techniques for ADHD Kids

According to ADDitude magazine, “the nervous system has two parts. The stress response and the recharge response.” Both responses are underactive in a child with ADHD. As with most things in life, there needs to be a balance between the two. Coherent breathing, a phrase coined by yoga specialist Stephen Elliott, puts the heart, lungs, and brain in rhythm.

Elliott suggests practicing 10-20 minutes a day on the breathing exercises until it becomes automatic. 5 to 6 breaths a minute is preferred to help kids calm down. It is suggested that children have something positive to visualize, such a favorite color or place.

Many children with ADHD often cannot help their inattention, lack of focus or impulsivity. Exercise, in the form of the playground or with yoga, can help them improve academically. Studies show that even just 30 minutes 3 to 5 times a week can be advantageous. They are able to deal easier with classwork because they can focus better and are less frustrated.


Andrews, Jenny. “Focus on ADHD.” Yoga Journal.

“Deep Breathing to Decrease ADHD Symptoms and Anxiety.” ADDitude Magazine. Winter 2009.

Mulrine, Christopher F.; Mary Anne Prater; Amelia Jenkins. “The Active Classroom.” Teaching Exceptional Children, May/June 2008. Vol. 40, Issue 5, pg 16-17.

White, Laura Santangelo. “Yoga for Children.” Pediatric Nursing. September/October 2009, Vol. 35, Issue 5, pg 277-283.

Read more at Suite101: ADHD Children May Benefit From Yoga | Suite101.com http://daya-bihm.suite101.com/adhd-children-may-benefit-with-yoga-a277408#ixzz1aCCkaeGn

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