ADHD and Yoga

I have ADHD.  For me, it means I often forget appointments and plans, misplace just about everything, talk excessively, and I’m constantly distracted by meaningless thoughts.  My 8 year old son also has ADHD and, like me, his mind is hyperactive.  We find it incredibly difficult to focus on mundane tasks when there’s way cooler stuff we could be thinking about.

We tried things the all natural way but it just wasn’t enough, so we opted for the medical approach.  I tried the medication first so I would know what I was giving my son, and I couldn’t believe the difference!  It was like someone had flipped a switch in my brain!  So to all the parents out there who are worried about being shamed for giving your child medication: Do whatever makes you and your family happy and forget what other people think!  If you can control ADHD symptoms using only natural approaches, that’s awesome, I applaud you!  If you need medication and it helps, that’s awesome, I applaud you!  Don’t worry about what other people think!!

The medication is a huge help – but it’s not a cure.  So we incorporate different natural approaches into our daily lives that help to manage the symptoms.  Diet and exercise are probably the most important components.  If you need help getting started in this area, check out my friend Jenn here…she’ll hook you up!  For my son, I also diffuse essential oils at night to help calm his mind and help him get a good night’s sleep.  For me, yoga has been a huge help.

I used to think of yoga as putting yourself into a pretzel for exercise and weight loss.  It wasn’t until it was explained to me that yoga was more about self-awareness and connecting your body and mind, that I really gave it a try.  To be honest, when I started doing yoga, I remember thinking “I can’t do that, I’m about as flexible as my husbands morning glory!”.  But I’ve come to learn that it’s not about how flexible you are, it’s about a constant connection you seek between your body and your mind. The reason it’s so beneficial for anyone with ADHD is because that’s exactly what we lack!  When you’re moving into, holding and breathing, and moving out of the poses, you’re constantly adjusting your body and almost forced into awareness of how it feels, leaving little room for meaningless thoughts.    The mind of someone with ADHD is everywhere and anywhere and we don’t seem to have any authority over it, but the more you practice yoga the easier it becomes to control your thoughts.  Even now my mind still wonders, but I’m aware of it a lot sooner and it’s a lot easier for me to come back into the moment.

jenn
Jenn’s doing a 30 Day Yoga Challenge…lookin’ good girl!  Check out Jenn on Facebook and watch her struggle with poses! Haha

Here are 5 poses for a beginner to try:

Mountain Pose – Stand with your feet together, hands at your heart like your praying.  Look straight forward, relax your face, drop your shoulders, tuck in your ass, and make sure your body is in line, and not arched.  Take a few deep breaths with your diaphragm (not your chest) while maintaining the pose.  Not so easy is it!!

Tree Pose – Go into this pose from Mountain Pose.  Bring your left foot up and rest it flat against your right inner thigh, with your knee pointing out to the left.  Stand tall like your reaching your head to the ceiling, roll your shoulders back and then down, relax your face, and keep balancing.  You’re probably going to fall…I still do.  The point is that you are always balancing.  Oh ya, don’t forget your deep breaths!  Do the same with the other foot.

Cow Pose and Cat Pose – Get into the “doggy-style” position (make sure your husband’s not around!)  Knees should just be hip width apart, hands should be shoulder with apart, and your gaze at the floor.  This is a flow between the two poses so as you exhale, you’re going to arch your back and really stick your ass out.  As you inhale, you’re going to round your back and tuck in your ass.  Remember to relax your face and breathe deep and slow with each movement.

Cobra Pose – Lay flat on your stomach with the bottoms of your feet facing the ceiling.  Bring your hands on either side of your chest, and lift off the ground from your head to your lower ribs, keeping your elbows bent and gaze upward while keeping your shoulders back.  Take a few deep breaths and then lower yourself back down.

Child’s Pose –  This is a good pose to do after the Cobra Pose and a good ending to a routine.  Begin by kneeling, with the tops of your feet against the floor.  Sit back on your feet with your heels turned a bit outward.  Lean forward so your arms are outstretched on the floor in front of you and your forehead is resting against the floor.  The point of this pose is to let your body completely relax.  So, take note from head to toe, and notice any muscles that are tense and try to relax them.

yoga doterra

When I practice yoga, I like to diffuse some essential oils, which really helps me relax body and mind.  It seriously helps calm the ADHD so I can get more out of the poses.  If you’re interested in this collection, click here.

 

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