Yoga as a Complementary Therapy for ADHD

Yoga as a Complementary Therapy for ADHD

Nikita Naresh Ahuja (Hospital for Mental Health, Vadodara, India)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5495-1.ch019
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Abstract

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that commonly occurs among children between the age ranges of 3-10 years. Though pharmacotherapy in combination of play therapy and behavior therapy has been proved to be effective for the treatment of ADHD, but the results derived from them does not seem to sustain for a longer period of time. There are other alternative therapies too, which can help in management of the symptoms of ADHD. This chapter talks about the different aspects of yoga and effect of different asanas, pranayama, and meditation on ADHD. As medication has its own negative side effects, practitioners have started to research other techniques to be helpful for managing ADHD, and Yoga is proved to be one of the effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Yoga is not only limited to the physical exercise; it also includes breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation exercises, which help to have a balance between mind and body. Through regular practice of yoga, one can attain peace of mind and can lead a happy and healthy life.
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Introduction

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that commonly occurs among children between the age range of 3- 10 years. It is characterized by low attention span, excessive activity and impulsivity. Most of the children with ADHD also find it difficult to regulate their emotions. Moreover, the symptoms of the disorder persist into adulthood in up to 60% of childhood cases, meaning that roughly 4% of adults suffer from ADHD. ADHD has been identified as a complex trait disorder that it is affected by many susceptibility genes(Gizer et al., 2009).The exact cause of ADHD has not been known till date. There are various different etiological reasons.Though medications can subside the ADHD symptoms but it also has a negative side effect like sleep disturbance, mood disorder or reduced appetite. Other form of psychotherapies and cognitive behaviour therapy also prove to be affective for management of ADHD but no sustainable positive effects have been found yet. From a holistic point of view, chemical overstimulation of the nervous system is not healthy. A study by Esparham et al.(2014)stated, there are many alternative therapies that are effective both alone and in collaboration with pharmacotherapy

Yoga is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices. According to Yoga sutra of Patanjali YogasChittavrittinirodhah(1.2)

Yoga is calming down the fluctuations/patterns of consciousness

Yoga as exercise is a physical activity consisting of different form ofasana (physical postures), pranayamas (breathing exercises), and dharana/dhyana (meditation). These components help to connect the breathing, thoughts, emotions, and body into awareness of the present moment.Physical exercise is proven to have positive effects on general health and well-being and also improves mood and quality of life.Swami SivanandaSaraswati explained yoga as an “integration and harmony between thought, feeling and deed, or integration between head, heart and hand”.Swami Satyananda Saraswati stated “Yoga is an aid which helps in forming a new perspective of what is real and what is necessary in life, and how to become established in a way of life which embraces both inner and outer realities.”

By regular yoga practices, an individual can enhance and develop his emotional intelligence. Yoga is an effective instrument of modification of human emotions. The practice of yoga, with its philosophical core strives to improve emotional intelligence by building a sense of empowerment while strengthening body, mind and spirit. Yogic philosophy recognizes the human being dilemmas when it comes to the emotions. Yoga in its original recognition is the applied science of modifying and enriching human emotions.

Patanjali known as the “father of yoga,” has codified his thoughts and knowledge of yoga in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.The Yoga Sutra is considered text on the system of yoga. This is a guide for living the right life. Essentially, Patanjali says, “you can't practice asanas in yoga class, feel the stretch, and then go home to play with your kids, cook a meal, yell at your employees, and cheat on your taxes. There is more to yoga than that — yoga can help you cultivate body, mind, and spiritual awareness.” (Roberts,n.d.)

Patanjali explained Yoga teachings by dividing it into eightfold path of yoga, which are also called the eight limbs of Patanjali. The eight limbs of Patanjali are as follows:

Yama

Yama is social behavior, how onetreat others and the world around them. These are moral principles. There are five yamas:

  • Nonviolence (ahimsa): No harm to others in thought or deed.

  • Truth and honesty (satya): Tell no lies.

  • Nonstealing (asteya): Do not steal anything either be it materialistic or intangible things.

  • Nonlust (brahmacharya): Avoid meaningless sexual encounters.

  • Nonpossessiveness (aparigraha):Living a simple life without greed and attachment and not persevering the things.

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