(Yoga and holistic practices are never meant to be a substitution for medical care or use of medication. Holistic practices are meant to be complimentary to doctor's orders.)
"We don't do yoga but rather we process adaptations slowly and methodically"
Processing adaptations slowly and methodically is a huge benefit to people with ADHD.
Our time on our yoga mats helps us to achieve a deep inner listening and a more conscious understanding of our energetic strengths and weaknesses. This deep inner listening and conscious understanding help us to process incoming information and make balanced, wise, and complete choices in life.
A yoga practice includes breath, awareness, movement, stillness, focus. When people with ADHD take their practice "off the mat and into the world" they may notice marked improvement in their capacity for dealing with life as it comes toward us at light speed sometimes.
You can technically do yoga anywhere. Even standing in line at the grocery store. Next time you are standing in line try placing your feet evenly on the floor about hip-width apart and with arms by your side inhale slowly and on the exhale release any tension in your neck, shoulders, chest, and abdomen. That's yoga at the grocery store in the tadasana pose. Very effective for cultivating patience while waiting in line.
Now for the science. Yoga is known to have benefits for the following neurotransmitters which are highly influential in the lives of people with ADHD.
Yoga has a reputation for increasing "inhibitory neurotransmitters" which can benefit the person with ADHD greatly:
GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps us think and behave more slowly and less impulsively. Yoga is believed to increase GABA.
"GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is often referred to as “nature’s VALIUM-like substance”. When GABA is out of range (high or low excretion values), it is likely that an excitatory neurotransmitter is firing too often in the brain. GABA will be sent out to attempt to balance this stimulating over-firing."(1)
"A pilot study by Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine (3) showed that people doing yoga postures and breathing for an hour increased their GABA levels by 27% over the control group, who read quietly, also for an hour." (2)
Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and is needed for a stable mood. Yoga is believed to increase serotonin levels.
"Consistent yoga practice improves depression and can lead to significant increases in serotonin levels coupled with decreases in the levels of monamine oxidase, an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters and cortisol."(4)
Yoga and holistic practices are definitely not meant to replace medication or medical treatment when needed. It is meant to be a path to self-care as a way to compliment your medical treatment.
Please email Dr. Flaton if you have any questions about how yoga or other self-care activities can enhance your treatment.