Saturday, May 21, 2016

Top 3 benefits of yoga for kids with ADD

ADHD is a common behavioral disorder in school age children; kids with ADHD may act
without thinking, be hyperactive and have trouble focusing. Yoga is a healthy way for children to begin to feel more calm and comfortable in their bodies; it boosts concentration and focus while reducing impulsivity and hyperactivity.

The Top 3 Benefits of Yoga for Kids with ADHD:
1.       Sharper concentration and focus

2.       Sense of calmness and relaxation

3.       Less impulsive behavior through increased body awareness and self-confidence

How does yoga sharpen focus and concentration for kids with ADHD?

Yoga utilizes breathing and mindfulness exercises that keep distracting thoughts at bay, thus calming the mind and body; as such, kids learn to direct their attention to their body, posture and/or breath. For example, it takes a lot of concentration for children to hold Tree pose.  They must practice balancing on one leg while working on their breathing.  This focus then translates beyond their yoga practice to when they perform their day to day activities.  Further,  kids need to use eye contact to maintain balance during yoga, and this in turn helps them to tune out distractions throughout their daily routines.

Illustration by Kathleen Rietz and adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

How does yoga calm down kids?

Practicing stillness in yoga poses helps children with ADHD to stay calm and slow down. This helps them to be successful, not only during yoga, but also in their daily lives. The routine of yoga itself can be calming to children, especially when they practice the same poses and become confident doing them. In addition, yoga is a combination of breath and movement. By teaching kids to breathe in and out through their nose while practicing yoga poses, they learn how to calm themselves down by focusing on their breath. Nasal breathing reduces stress as the nose is smaller than the mouth and thus is a slower form of breathing than shallow mouth breathing.  Also,  breathing in and out through the nose increases the oxygen supply to the lungs.  Yoga teaches children how to control their energy as well as how to relax,  concentrate and be quiet and still. (with the added benefit of better performance in school)

Illustration by Kathleen Rietz and adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

How does yoga reduce impulsive behavior in children with ADHD?

When children concentrate on their breath or feel a stretch in their bodies through practicing a particular yoga pose, they learn body awareness. This is turn helps them to self-regulate their actions. In addition, by learning self-control and self-calming techniques, kids are more likely to grow more confident in their interactions with other children and get along better with others. Yoga teaches children to focus on themselves, and this skill can go a long way to curbing impulsive and overly active behaviors.

Illustration by Kathleen Rietz and adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids

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