ADD-SOI Center - Attention Deficit Disorders and Structure of Intellect - Manhattan Beach California

Drug-Free Aid for ADD

My daughter has attention deficit disorder (ADD). Her doctor has suggested that she go on Ritalin. I know this may seem odd, but I was wondering if yoga might help her?

Judith Lasater: While there are no studies proving that yoga poses can directly affect the way the brain processes information, yoga can certainly help with the overlay of frustrationand fatigue that often accompanies ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). Children with ADD, for example, may also feel fatigued from trying to keep themselves "on track" in school.

To help with frustration, teach your daughter a simple, calming exercise I call "Centering Breath." The point of this practice is to help her relax by making her breathing even. Have your daughter lie down on her back in a quiet room; make sure she ha a small support for her head and neck, a rolled blanket or large pillow under her knees, and is warm and comfortable. She may want to cover her eyes with a soft, dry towel. Haver her take a long, slow inhalation and then a long, slow exhalation of the same length. Make sure her breaths are deep but not forced. After the long inhale and exhale, have your daughter take a couple of normal, shorter breaths, and then begin again. She should never feel breathless or agitated. If she does, have her return to normal breaths, and then make the next elongated inhalation and exhalation shorter.

In the beginning, try this practice for 5 minutes; the time can be increased gradually to 15 minutes. Initially, I suggest she try this in the late afternoon or early evening. But once she has learned the technique, she can use it anywhere to focus and calm down -- sitting in the car, walking to school, or at her desk.

There is also a pose to combat fatigue that she can try. It may seem akward to those not familiar with yoga, so to make your daughter more comfortable, try doing this pose with her. Sit with one shoulder (either left or right) about one foor away from a wall and your legs outstreched. Next, roll backward and shift your weight so that you can swing your legs up the wall. You should now be facing the wall in an "L" shape with your hips about 10 inches from the wall, your back flat on the floor, and your feet against the wall, comfortably supporting your raised legs. Rest for five to 15 minutes. You may want to add a small support under your head and/or a cover for your eyes. To come out of the position, bend your knees toward your chest and roll to lie on your side.

This pose works by draining fluids that have pooled in your legs back toward your heart. When you lie on the floor and put your legs up, the flow of blood to your heart increases, and your heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood back to itself.

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