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Yoga for ADHD

Yoga for ADHD

Coping with ADHD in 3 yogic steps

The practices of yoga as a remedy for "mental restlessness" are not only effective but also 5000 years old. Already in the ancient Vedic scriptures disturbances of the mind, the intellect, the memory as well as the behavior are mentioned. Hippocrates also described this disease 2,500 years ago. In contrast, western medicine is still in its infancy. It was not until 1902 that G.F. Silent for the first time the symptoms of attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder. Research into the causes and treatment options continues today.

ADHD symptoms and frequency

The typical symptoms of ADHD are forgetfulness, insufficient attention, impulsivity and low ability to concentrate. People with ADHD are easily distracted, have low endurance, and are more likely to be flawed and elusive because of their symptoms.

They act impulsively and tend to rash decisions, which in turn bring about undesirable consequences. On an emotional level, ADHD S is associated with strong mood swings.

Those affected report low frustration tolerance and low self-esteem. The motor restlessness prevalent in ADHD in childhood gives way to feelings of inner tension and tense nervousness in adults.

ADHD patients also have problems adjusting to new social situations and social behavioral expectations, which can cause serious social problems.

You should have a diagnostic test if you observe the following symptoms for more than 6 months:

Inattention: over details, frequent fugitives, quick but short enthusiasm, and low stamina

Overactivity: Physical restlessness, wiggle leg, cannot sit still, walk around in inappropriate situations

Impulsiveness: inappropriate, quick answers, cannot wait until it's your turn, interrupt others while talking.

Worldwide, 5.3% of people suffer from a form of ADHD.

In children, it is 2% -6%. Childhood ADHD persists in adulthood in 50% of people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) assumes a prevalence of between 6% -13% in adults. In 85% of those affected, comorbid (additional) mental disorders are the order of the day, with depression and anxiety disorders being most commonly reported in ADHD.

Usual treatment in ADHD

Since ADHD is based on a metabolic disorder in the brain, doctors tend to intervene, especially at the drug level. In numbers, this means that 87% of children and adults suffering from ADHD are forced daily to swallow medication.

In this regard, the World Health Organization has found that 60% of drug-treated people do not report improvement in their symptoms after 1 year. For ADHD, methylphenidate (Ritalin) is mainly administered. Despite medication, 25% -35% of sufferers show no improvement in ADHD symptoms.

The goal of drug treatment in ADHD is to regulate dopamine levels in the forebrain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for driving, rewarding and learning new content. If too little dopamine is present, bad attention and bad, incomplete storage of information is the result. In addition, the willingness of those affected to wait for long-term rewards drops. The satisfaction of needs has to be "immediate". Disturbances in executive functions, such as the design, monitoring, and reviewing of action plans, are also favored by a lack of dopamine.

The good news: the level of dopamine in the cortex (cerebral cortex) can also be stimulated completely without medication by means of yoga!

Why and how does yoga help with ADHD?

Yoga is a practice that has been proven to relieve social, emotional, behavioral and learning issues. All these difficulties are with ADHD gear and Gabe. The regulation of physiological and mental processes has an effect in the practice of yoga on the neuropsychological as well as the neurophysiological level.

By means of yoga, the ability to concentrate, the ability to calm down and the muscle tension can be positively influenced as well as significantly improved.

It is now known and recognized that yoga activates the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system leaves us alone, makes us more emotionally balanced, inwardly calmer and more focused. Again, it is very clear that yoga stimulates exactly those areas that are disturbed in ADHD and that the yoga is exactly opposite to the ADHD core symptoms.

A science of Yoga in ADHD

The positive effects of yoga practice in ADHD have also been addressed by numerous clinical researchers. Studies on children and adults report strong improvements, i.e., moderate to high effects of yoga on ADHD symptoms.

The results of the investigations also indicate that the symptoms of ADHD can be reduced to the level of healthy even without medication - only through yoga.

But why is it like that?

Yoga strengthens the networks responsible for the control of attention in the brain, thus improving the impaired executive functions in ADHD. Executive functions include cognitive, conscious control, goal setting and goal tracking, impulse control, emotional self-restraint, conscious attention control, motor action, observation of action, and self-correction.

These executive functions are linked to the functions of the frontal brain (prefrontal cortex - PFK). This area of the brain, in turn, is responsible for aligning and maintaining attention and control - skills that yoga explicitly trains.

Scientists have found in people suffering from ADHD that this area is less active in the brain than in healthy people. The consequence of this hypoactivity of PFK is lower cognitive and emotional control and less controlled attention. And here too, yoga helps.

NOTE: Yoga strengthens the prefrontal cortex and thus also the control, the attention, and the executive functions.

The attention deficit (hyperactivity) syndrome is also characterized by a high level of cortisol in the blood. A permanently high cortisol level, on the other hand, impairs the previously impaired executive functions and the ability to control oneself. When the executive functions and self-control are lowered, sufferers are more prone to stress and external triggers. The cycle closes.

BUT: here, too, yoga is a remedy, because it verifiably lowers the cortisol level and thus reduces the stress response in our body.

Another network that has a disturbed metabolism in ADHD is the Default Mode Network (DMN). This network is active in health, especially at rest.

In ADHD, however, it was found that this network is almost always active and difficult to down-regulate. Are the networks responsible for cognitive control (forebrain) and the DMN at the same time actively developing symptoms of ADHD? Because: mental health is associated with either PFK (prefrontal cortex forebrain) or DMN being active. The problem of reducing activity in the DMN leads to attention deficits and performance difficulties.

The disturbed interplay between the networks for cognitive control, the DMN and the limbic system (emotion system) lead to disturbances in the neuronal functioning in ADHD and to the typical difficulties in the attention, in the behavior and in the control of actions and emotions, Yoga starts right here!

Depending on the type of exercise (meditation, pranayama or asana), it promotes the activity of the networks that control attention awareness and the cognitive aspects, or the structures like the DMN, which primarily becomes active when we rest.

Coping with AD (H) S in 3 yogic steps

Meditation practice at ADHD

The high distractibility of people with ADHD complicates the meditation practice, which in turn demonstrably affects the brain and its messenger substances (especially on the dopamine) and can change it.

Before beginning meditation at ADHD, care must be taken to avoid external disturbances as much as possible. This affects both influences of the light, the body sensations (itching, etc.) as well as the sounds.

Furthermore, the short attention span in ADHD must be considered. For the above reasons, several rather short mediation phases are recommended for people with ADHD.

My patients are recommended daily in the morning and in the evening, always at the same time in the same place to meditate in the same way. The duration of the meditation should not exceed 10 minutes in the beginning, since the long sitting still and the maintenance of the attention at all in ADHD extreme efforts means. Possible meditation forms that can be well applied to ADHD are therefore meditation in motion and meditation on a point/object.

Here is the guide to meditation in motion.

The regular practice of meditation in motion (mindful walking) behaves behavioral researchers to follow after 5 days on the ADHD symptoms. Moreover, the effect of this practice is almost the same as that of Ritalin. Mindful walking can reduce the characteristic symptoms of ADHD, strengthen social and motor skills and improve neuropsychological parameters.

The meditation on the point offers a practical way to strengthen the primary visual cortex and the PFK. The visual fixation on an object (point meditation), a flame or the mental fixation of an object in the head leads in ADHD to the increase of gray matter in the visual and prefrontal cortex, the areas that are inactive in ADHD are. The distractibility due to visual stimuli from the environment typical in ADHD, researchers decrease in the practice course.

Pranayama practice at ADHD

Pranayama that studies in ADHD promotes attention and relieves symptoms is the Kapalabhati pranayama.

This pranayama lowers the level of CO2 in the blood, which initially stops breathing and then the head. Kapalabhati is clearly able to change brain activity. For example, during breathing, activity in the cerebral cortex decreases while the function of the limbic system (emotion network) remains the same.

A "clear, empty head" is the result. People with ADHD often struggle with emerging aggression and fear. Kapalabhati also brings relief here, as these emotions can be breathed out intermittently.

The disturbed control and regulation of strong emotions are promoted by this pranayama and the emotional regulation capacity is strengthened.

Asana practice at ADHD

In ADHD, especially the asanas are recommended, which additionally strengthen the visual and prefrontal networks in the brain. One such focus is provided by asanas that promote balance, such as Tadasana (the mountain).

The subtle conversion and reorientation of the body by the grade become erect and stretching increases the subjective "steadfastness". This attitude says something about how someone "stands" in life.

Other helpful asnasa are Vakrasana (the tree) and Nataraja-asana (the dancer).

During Asanapraxis in ADHD care should be taken not to be deterred by failures such as "losing balance" - a common problem with ADHD. And consistently continue to practice, to seek and find the balance over and over again, so that positive experience experiences and thus the desired positive changes can be set. Exercises that train the balance also clarify the connection between the inner and the outer balance, "like inside so outside".

Ashtanga / Vinyasa Yoga at ADHD:

Especially in ADHD, it is recommended to perform a high-frequency activity (Vinyasa or Ashtanga Yoga, sun salutations, and also cognitively demanding and thus the attention-network strengthening asana sequences.

Intensive physical exercises raise the levels of dopamine in the PFK and relieve the ADHD symptoms.

Research has shown that even a yoga practice twice a week for 30 minutes can alleviate the symptoms of ADHD.

Regularity and long-term motivation for a goal (for example, the goal of practicing yoga regularly) are an extreme effort for people with ADHD.

Waiting for the reward (for example, by improving the symptoms) with regular practice takes 3-8 weeks and is rarely "immediately".

The motivation to continue practicing, therefore, decreases in people with ADHD by the disruption of the reward system (dopamine system) inevitably.

BUT: The overcoming of oneself and one's indignation is extremely helpful. With each new practice unit, it is easier for those affected to practice the necessary exercises and jump over their own shadows. Especially when finally after 3 to 8 weeks the first significant improvements of the symptoms such as more attention, less distractibility, more inner peace and concentration, better handling of one's emotions will be realized less social problems.

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