Tech and the Developing Brain

Posted by:

We have all been deeply impacted by our current state of social distancing, and we won’t know any time soon the effects of COVID-19 on all aspects of our society. Students are home, and school districts are developing and implementing online learning programs in lieu of face to face education. While this might be better than interrupting the school year completely, what will be the impact of further increasing the time that young people spend on a screen?  Over the past several years, researchers have focused on technology and children, and there is reason to be concerned that technology could have a negative impact on child and adolescent brains. It is so important that we begin to understand the potential links between emotional well-being, mental health, and physical outcomes for students growing up with technology. For instance, studies have shown that if digital devices are used more than seven hours per day, this leads to changes in the developing brain. These hours can accumulate quickly when students are using computers for online learning, cell phones to connect with friends, and then watching television with the family to unwind. Even when used in moderation, the quality and quantity of technology has both positive and negative effects on children.

For instance, “young children who get more screen time than doctors recommend have differences in parts of the brain that support language and self regulation,” according to a 2019 study at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. A NIH study found that children who reported more than two hours a day of screen time got lower scores on thinking and language tests. Developing brains are more malleable than adult brains, and kids who use screens for more than seven hours per day show physical changes to the brain in the form of premature thinning of the cortex. The National Institute of Health informs us that cortical thinning is a typical developmental milestone for adolescents, yet high level technology usage at this age promotes premature thinning which influences specific cognitive performance such as: verbal learning, memory, visual spatial functioning, spatial planning and problem solving. 

The avoidance of screen time for children under 18 months is advised except for “video chatting,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2018, the French Ministry of Health suggested that there be no screen time for children until the age of 3. In fact, children under the age of 3 should not even be in the same room as a television being viewed, as there may be adverse effects impacting cognitive outcomes later in  life.

On a more positive note, researchers note that time spent watching educational programming may promote literacy, mathematics, problem solving and science skills as well as pro-social behavior in preschool children. Educational activities on devices such as attention training games have also been linked to improvements in executive attention and intelligence. Therefore, the quality of programming is essential.

In teenagers, screen time – specifically gaming – affects regions of the brain associated with impulse control, sensorimotor coordination and an increase in the amounts of dopamine or reward pathways. This is related to craving and typically associated with substance addiction. This addictive propensity has recently been added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and is known as “Internet Gaming Disorder.” 

Yet, once again there is a silver lining. Playing educational games, especially those that are interactive, or playing games that cause physical activity and interaction – can be positive. An increase in visual-spatial skills, attention, and processing speed have been observed, as well as enhanced reading outcomes in dyslexic children. However, even the games that involve physical activity should not be substitutes for standard fitness routines.

Social media use, especially at night, has been correlated with poor sleep quality, low levels of anxiety, and even depression amongst the teen population. The blue light emission from screens decreases melatonin production, which delays and shortens sleep patterns. Teens who interact with Facebook have been shown to increase cortisol levels which prepares the body to react to a stressor, the “fight or flight” response. It has been shown that those who engage in social media at night wake up with higher levels of cortisol. This is associated with a decrease in well-being and reduced physical and mental health. 

Certainly, at this time, research on children and adolescents is still in its infancy stages regarding the long term consequences of technology on the developing brain. For example, media multitasking called “screen-stacking” (using multiple devices at one time) is relatively new and understudied. It seems likely that this behavior could impact attention, cognition, neural structure and academic outcomes. 

This 21st century lifestyle is taking more of a toll on students than we are able to currently pinpoint. The sedentary behaviors increase body weight along with postural imbalances. Sleep disorders and free floating anxiety which are typically adult problems have begun to haunt the developing child. Although there are some benefits associated with high quality programming in terms of neural maturity and improved verbal skills, all research points to the conclusion that learning from a live source leads to better outcomes for children.

Some solutions are to turn off devices when not in use, switch off screens an hour before bedtime, and design “off limit” times and places for technology use, such as the dinner table and the bedroom. Other important things to consider for the child’s well-being include online safety, cyber bullying, exploitation, and viewing age inappropriate content. 

In conclusion, moderate use of educational and recreational technology is ideal, and can even enhance some developmental skills. It seems best to continue to promote physical activity, offline leisure activities, and other amusement options – outdoors, and in places other than the screen.

By Dee Marie and Rachel Zelaya

Kids Yoga Teacher Training Lesson Plan FREE

Posted by:

Kids yoga teacher training for all teachers and instructors PLEASE use the free syllabus HERE guiding you through the proper method to present a 6 Day Yoga program to your Kindergarten or Elementary School classroom ensuring these proven outcomes:

Yoga Mat

  • Kids Yoga Enhances Confidence
  • Kids Yoga Improves Concentration and Focus
  • Kids Yoga Helps Kids Manage Stress Through Breathing
  • Kids Yoga Promotes Inclusivity
  • Kids Yoga Introduces Kids to Mindfulness
  • Kids Yoga Promotes a Healthy Body
  • Kids Yoga Improves Coordination & Balance

Classroom Yoga ~ a solution to school violence and it works!

CALMING KIDS: Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom
2018-2019 Study Results

Students reported: 2018 – 2019
Feeling good about themselves 48%  increase     
Standing up for themselves 48%  increase 
Focusing in school 30%  increase 
Feeling angry for no reason 55%  decrease
Physical altercations in school 38%  decrease
Trouble controlling anger 35%  decrease 

In addition, three times the number of students reported that they could handle others making fun of them in school as compared to before learning the CALMING KIDS techniques (178% increase).
Statistics based on 100 students between the ages of 11 – 13 reporting their experience before and after 6 sessions of movement, mindfulness & meditation training and practice throughout the school year. CALMING KIDS (CK): Creating a Non-Violent World since 2004


Day One – What is Yoga?

The Balance of Body and Mind

Get the 6 Day Curriculum

 

Day Two – How Do You Breathe?

Practices to Regulate the Breath 

 

Kids Yoga Breathing

 

The students start to understand that the connection of the body to the mind is their breath.

Here’s the free full 6 day curriculum

Day Three – How Do You Feel?

Checking in: emotional awareness, communication and anti-bullying

Day Four – Community 

Finding Our Heart 

Day Five – Why Exercise?

The Benefits of Exercise

 

Yoga Exercise

 

Day Six – Relationships 

Anti-Bullying – Relationship Games – Bring It All Together

Starting with movement and mindfulness is a great way to start each day!!

Get the full Six Day Free Curriculum HERE

 


Calming Kids

 

Allowing 10-15 mins at the start of every day for centering will increase focus, social emotional balance, and positive communication skills.

 

 

 

 

 

The CALMING KIDS (CK) Six Day On-Line Kids Yoga Teacher Training Lesson Plans includes:

  • Handouts illustrating all the concepts presented with coloring pages, activity ideas and songs. 
  • Scripts with non-violent communication models for the play acting scenarios.
  • A discussion forum with thought provoking questions and insights shared by other teachers.
  • An easy quiz at the end of each module of learning to review what you have learned.
  • Open access to the online site for reference and to enhance your capacity to teach mindfulness and non-violent education to elementary age students.

CALMING KIDS offers two levels of certification. One is given upon the completion of the online course. Participants are issued a downloadable certificate to hang in the classroom, school or studio. For teachers who would like to receive continuing education credit, CALMING KIDS offers a deeper level certification in order to become a nationally accredited CALMING KIDS Children’s Yoga Educator for Elementary Age students. This is achieved by teaching a minimum of six hours of the CK program to children and keeping a detailed log. This log is submitted to CALMING KIDS for evaluation and certification. A small additional fee is applied. To enroll in the full course please CLICK HERE.

 

Bullying | Local Non-profit Addresses School Violence

Posted by:

With all the tragedy and violence in our schools today, teaching kids self regulation and stress reduction is more important than ever. Since 2004, CALMING KIDS (CK): is a local Boulder non-profit, has been focused on immediate and direct impact to reduce bullying and increase self regulation in kids and teens. 

On February 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida experienced one of the deadliest school shootings in American history. This tragedy Bullying in schoolshas left Americans across the country heartbroken, frustrated, and wondering how we, as individuals, can make a difference in stopping this vicious and violent behavior.

CALMING KIDS has been addressing this issue for years. CK, a Colorado 501(c)3, was created after the tragic shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, for this exact reason. For the past 13 years, they have worked with teachers and students in Colorado and around the world to reduce bullying and violence in schools. In addition, to helping develop better coping mechanisms and increasing students’ compassion for one another.

Calling your state representatives and supporting today’s youth in creating safer schools in the long term is undeniably important. But, what can we do right now, TODAY?

If you want to make a positive difference and feel passionately about ending school violence, then the best place to start is in the schools! This is exactly what CALMING KIDS is doing with their classroom programs.

CALMING KIDS has impacted 3,500 teachers and over 40,000 students through their work in schools locally, nationally and globally.

Anti Bullying Teaching Program

There is still so much more to be done. CK is looking to expand its impact and wants to get the word out to as many school teachers and administrators, students, parents, and to those who feel concerned about this issue. We CAN make a difference and help to create a non-violent world, stop bullying in schools and help kids focus.

In addition to classroom programs, CK has also produced a variety of support materials for teachers and students:

  • including classroom workbooks,
  • self regulation posters,
  • educational films

and a new pocket sized movement, mindfulness and meditation book, Finding Calm in a Moment. This book guides students of all ages through a variety of simple practices to release stress and self regulate immediately. Get involved NOW! Visit our website to learn more www.calmingkids.org

For more information contact: calmingkidsyoga@gmail.com or 303-530-3860.

Checking In for Self-Regulation

Posted by:

 

Click here for a 2 minute video demonstrating Checking In: CALMING KIDS ~ Checking-In

Checking InThe First Step Toward Mindfulness At CALMING KIDS, we strongly believe that a child who practices nonviolence is also a child who practices self-awareness and mindfulness. Children who are aware of themselves also tend to be more aware of the effects their actions have on others.

anti bullying videoOftentimes, kids who feel frustrated or angry will lash out by bullying or hitting one another before even taking a moment to assess what they are feeling and why they’re feeling that way. We created the CALMING KIDS curriculum for schools to teach children to pause after experiencing whatever it is they’re feeling, so that they may understand it — and themselves — better. As a result, the amount of bullying and violent acts among children is greatly reduced.

The first step to helping children achieve mindfulness is to teach them to “check-in” with their bodies and minds. With younger children, ages preschool through third grade, it can prove extremely helpful to start with an introduction to body awareness.

For children of all ages, CALMING KIDS approaches mindfulness with an exercise called “Checking In.” Children are encouraged to check in once or twice a day, especially when not feeling their happiest. They are taught to observe their postures and breath, which will help bring awareness to which emotions they’re feeling, and the kinds of thoughts that are coming to mind. In checking in, kids are learning how to get in touch with themselves and gain more control over how they express themselves. For a short video tutorial on Checking In ~ click link above

How to Find Calm in a Moment: Getting Out of Busy-Ness for Yourself and the Kids in your Life

Posted by:

Posted November 2016

Learning how to calm the mind and check in with our body sensations and emotions is a challenge for most of us. Responsibilities and social media tend to keep us running from one task and distraction to another. As adults and teachers, we model to our kids and students the ‘cult of busy-ness’ and then feel frustrated when our kids are glued to screens at every free moment. When I was a school teacher, gone all day and then busy in the evenings with grading papers and planning classes for the next day, my 10 year old son was ‘kept busy’ with his smartphone and computer. Now at age 15, when he’s not at school or sports, he has his headphones on and is on his smartphone, the tablet they gave him at school, or his computer…it’s hard to even get his attention or initiate communication when we’re in the same room!

Recently, Dee Marie and Gina Kane of CALMING KIDS came out with a new pocket-sized book called Finding Calm in a Moment: 108 Practices in Movement, Mindfulness and Meditation for All Ages. I decided to commit for a few days to taking 5 minutes every morning to practice a super short meditation or two. I was drawn to the two page section on the heart, called “Heart Health.” In it are four simple practices to connect with your heart…two involve putting your hands on your heart and checking in with your heartbeat and breath, and two suggest diving in to your heart with your mind’s eye, visualizing an expedition into the heart, or a beautiful lotus flower blooming on a lake in the heart. All four meditations probably took about 5 minutes total, and at the end I felt refreshed, and connected to my heart and my emotions as well as my breath and the warmth and beauty within me.

By the end of 3 days, I had all four of the meditations memorized, adding them to my personal toolkit of ways to find calm in a moment.

It occurred to me while I was doing the meditations one morning that a child who was being bullied (as I was as a child), or a child who was a bully, would be so helped by connecting with their heart in this way. By practicing self-awareness, by being willing to feel our own warmth and aliveness, we automatically are connected to resources within that we could never get by staring at a screen. Something so simple as putting your hands on your heart and feeling the expansion of your chest for a minute could have such a profound effect on yourself and your day, and the children in our world!

Here’s a quote from the CALMING KIDS website (https://calmingkids.org):

“At CALMING KIDS, we strongly believe that a child who practices nonviolence is also a child who practices self-awareness and mindfulness. Children who are aware of themselves also tend to be more aware of the effects their actions have on others.”

Being self-aware leads to non-violence towards yourself and others. It just takes a few short minutes to build a habit of self-awareness that can last throughout your day, potentially making a major difference in your life.

As adults, instead of (or maybe in addition to?) modeling ‘busy-ness’, we could model for the kids in our lives a commitment to taking a few moments in our day to put down what we are doing, and check in with the sensations in our bodies and the emotions swirling through our hearts. Can we get into the habit of practicing self-awareness, especially when we are upset, anxious, overwhelmed, or frustrated? Can we commit to creating non-violence within, first, and then see that spread into the world around us?

For a short and simple guided practice to show teens how to check in with their bodies and emotions, visit

 http://streamlearn.com/2016/06/21/calming-kids-in-class-films/

Bullying, Addiction and the Lifeline of Yoga ~ By Rachel Z – posted October 2016

Posted by:

In 1983, when I was in third grade, the bullying began. The popular girl in class wanted my best friend to be her best friend, and so she made it her task to belittle me, scorn me, and gossip about me, until my best friend betrayed me and went over to the dark side. So not only did I lose my best friend – someone I had spent a lot of time with, shared personal secrets and hopes with, and relied on for support – but now I was openly bullied by her, and the popular girl. I remember being surrounded by about 10 kids on the playground – taunting me, pushing me, throwing things at me – and looking over at the teacher on duty, who was carefully looking in the other direction. I didn’t view the adults at the school as any kind of solution or offering help, so I just tried to tolerate the abuse the best I could. As the school bus rounded the corner to enter the school driveway, I would get panic attacks, my heart rate went up, cold sweat on my skin. That year, I developed a strange habit of hyperventilating…my breath was out of control, and the more I tried to breathe, the more out of breath I felt. I would get sent to the nurse to ride it out by breathing into a paper bag, then sent back to class. No one – not my parents, the teachers, the school nurse…ever stopped to ask why a 9 year old girl was hyperventilating at school.

The popular girls began writing on the bathroom walls, graffiti about how I was the “scum of the earth”. Which I believed and internalized. But in some effort at self-defense, I wrote back on the bathroom walls. So we all got a week of detention after school, forced together into a room to stew in anger and hatred for each other. There was no effort at intervention, at opening a conversation about what was going on, about the hateful things that were written on the walls.

In the 4th grade, I stopped going outside at recess. It wasn’t safe. I dreaded the lunchroom. I begged to eat my lunch in the classroom with the teacher – which wasn’t ever allowed.

By the 5th grade, some strange behavior started up. I would dress every day from my mother’s closet, wearing clothes that were too big for me, and putting on lots of make-up. Some sort of effort at willing myself into adulthood, out of a situation that was so out of my control, and so intolerable.

And in middle school, the truly self-destructive behavior began. Cutting myself, smoking cigarettes, drinking, being promiscuous with boys much older than me, fantasizing about suicide, smoking pot…the long road of addiction, co-dependency, and self-hatred had begun.

Here are some statistics about the current state of bullying in our country:

Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year.

Approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying.

1 in 10 students drop out of school because of repeated bullying.

Source: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-bullying

Of course, I’m just one example…but I believe that being alienated by and an exile from my peers at an early age, helped to set in motion the self-destructive and addictive behavior that lasted throughout my 20s and well into my 30s.

Here’s an abstract on a study called “Bullying at school—an indicator of adolescents at risk for mental disorders”

A number of 14–16 year old Finnish adolescents taking part in the School Health Promotion Study (n=8787 in 1995, n=17643 in 1997) were surveyed about bullying and victimization in relation to psychosomatic symptoms, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance use. A total of 9 per cent of girls and 17 per cent of boys were involved in bullying on a weekly basis. Anxiety, depression and psychosomatic symptoms were most frequent among bully-victims and equally common among bullies and victims. Frequent excessive drinking and use of any other substance were most common among bullies and thereafter among bully-victims. Among girls, eating disorders were associated with involvement in bullying in any role, among boys with being bully-victims. Bullying should be seen as an indicator of risk of various mental disorders in adolescence.

Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140197100903518

That study confirms my experience, and is a clear sign that if we want to stem the tide of destruction that addiction is causing in our country, bully-proofing schools is an important step.

One bright spot, for me, however. When I was 12, I learned Sun Salutations, a basic yoga series from the Ashtanga tradition. I practiced that series every day all throughout my teens and 20s. It was a small raft of self-care in an ocean of self-hatred. A few minutes of taking care of my body, instead of trying to hurt it. It felt good, but didn’t cause guilt or shame afterwards. Somehow, that little bit of light helped me hang on through the darkness.

Today, I’m a yoga teacher. Yoga has, at several points, literally saved my life. Taking the time for self-care, moving my body, breathing deeply, and making a connection with something beyond what I can see, has been a lifeline. Let’s offer that lifeline to anyone ready to catch it.

Please support CALMING KIDS: Creating a Non-Violent World in bringing yoga into the schools, and help children like me find yoga!

Effective Breathing: How DO We Take Deep Breaths?

Posted by:

From a yogic perspective, the breath is regarded as Prana, or the “vital force.” The breath is what governs our mental and emotional well-beings, having the capability to quiet our rage and soothe our nerves.

In the CALMING KIDS curriculum, we train instructors to teach breathing exercises to children and teens. On numerous reported occasions, these lessons have resulted in a decrease of bullying and violence — such as when children stop to take a deep breath and check-in when frustrated, rather than lashing out at others. It’s the deep breath that acts as a momentary reprieve, or gap, to recenter the self.

For this deep breath to be most effective, it must be executed properly:

Sit or stand with a tall spine, and imagine your lungs as balloons that expand and collapse as you inhale and exhale through your nose. Visualize the expansion of the balloon as the air fills your lungs, traveling through your chest, waist, abdomen, and back during inhalation — and then visualize the inward softening of your body as the air leaves it upon exhalation.

There are numerous techniques for teaching children the importance of breathing and how to breathe effectively. To learn how to teach mindful breathing to children, enroll in our CALMING KIDS Teacher Training

MC Yogi ~ Pilgrimage CD

Posted by:

Pilgrimage CD by MC Yogi offers Yoga Music with the styles of world beat, hip-hop, Bollywood, reggae, dancehall, house and dub music.

“I’m just a working class mystic,” shrugs the enviably laid back MC Yogi, grinning a little as he adjusts his trademark fedora, kicks up his Adidas and cranks the volume on “Give Love,” an instantly addictive track off his stunning dance-floor grenade of a new record, Pilgrimage. You may have heard his 2008 debut, Elephant Power, a certified phenom that still hovers near the top of the world music charts. The album’s extraordinary success earned Yogi invitations to play in clubs and yoga festivals all over the world.

Helping Kids Work Through Bullying Issues With Yoga

Posted by:

Bullying is much more common than most people realize: around a quarter of children are bullied at school, and around a third of adults experience bullying in the workplace. Bullying has an incredibly strong impact on children in particular, because it’s happening at a time when they’re particularly vulnerable to the psychological problems it can cause. For kids who are being bullied, or who are vulnerable in other ways, practicing yoga regularly can provide some important benefits.

Exercise in general improves mental and physical health, not only because of improved fitness, but also because regular physical activity helps strengthen the body-mind connection and helps people feel good about their bodies. The emphasis that yoga places on strength, flexibility, and coordination is especially beneficial for improving body image, self-confidence, and self-esteem, which are all things that most children and teens struggle with, and are things that bullied children are even more in need of.

Yoga is also an excellent stress-buster; while many people believe that children don’t get severely stressed the way adults can, unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. Children are more than capable of suffering from high levels of stress; it’s just that their stress results from different causes. And when people of all ages are bullied, they suffer from a wide range of physical problems as well as psychological ones: high stress levels, which contributed to headaches, stomach aches and digestive problems, muscle pain, anxiety, impaired immune function, and weight loss or gain.

How Can Yoga Help Vulnerable Kids?
Exercise is important for both mental and physical health, and regular exercise can also be an important part of building healthy self-esteem as well as a healthy lifestyle. All kinds of exercise can provide these benefits, even if they don’t have a cardiovascular component, but when it comes to yoga, regular practice is of special benefit to the mind, body, and spirit.
One of the most important benefits of yoga is that it’s a non-competitive type of exercise, which means it’s great for encouraging children and teens to practice yoga not to win, but just because it feels good to do it. When you practice yoga there’s no winning or losing, and no measuring yourself against other people; there’s just the satisfaction of getting stronger, of achieving new poses, of relieving stress and stretching muscles.

The opportunity to take part in activities that don’t focus on winning or losing is hugely important for kids; for children who are being bullied, it’s even more so, because of the severe psychological effects that bullying can have. Poor self-esteem, low confidence, poor body image, anxiety, fearfulness, depression, and social isolation can also result from bullying; the unique qualities of yoga can help mitigate those effects and give bullied kids a chance to relieve stress and improve the way they feel about themselves.

There’s an increasingly large body of scientific evidence showing that yoga can help improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders. It’s so beneficial that many therapists recommend yoga to their patients; some even undergo therapeutic yoga training and directly incorporate the exercise into therapy sessions. The deep state of relaxation that practicing yoga induces is a type of relaxation that you can’t achieve through normal activities like socializing or spending quiet time alone, and helps promote benefits like reduced stress and tension, better mental clarity, better quality of sleep.

When kids practice yoga regularly, they also develop an improved ability to handle stressful situations; that means kids who are vulnerable to bullying are better able to cope with it when it happens, and may be less susceptible to the psychological trauma that bullying can cause.

Yet another benefit of regular yoga practice is that it provides relief from thinking about those stressful situations. When practicing yoga it’s necessary to concentrate not on thinking, but on what your body is doing, about which muscles to contract, about maintaining breathing and balance. Yoga may not be an intense cardiovascular exercise but it is both physically and mentally demanding, requiring that the practitioner focus all their attention on their body. When a child is practicing yoga, they’re not worrying about bullying, about being stressed or anxious; they’re just focused on the pose and on their body. Each session gives the child a much-needed chance to relax, and over time, the accumulated benefits of stress reduction, physical strength, and mental resilience help them thrive.

This is a freelance article by Helen Murchison.

Yoga for Children with ADHD

Posted by:

Yoga for Children with ADHD
Recent findings across the globe on the beneficial effects of yoga have led this practice to be embraced by adults and children alike. Yoga is used to provide pain relief for migraines and backache, to relieve stress and to increase vitality. It is also considered a complementary therapy for illnesses such as atherosclerosis, breast cancer and many mental conditions (such as anxiety, depression and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder), with powerful stress- and fatigue-fighting effects. Yoga is also used with children, to help increase concentration and decrease bullying; learning the art of pranayamic breathing enables little ones to remain focused and positive in the most difficult of times. Studies have also shown that yoga can be used with children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
ADHD: A Condition Affecting Millions of Children
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the US, approximately 11 per cent of children aged between four and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD since 2011, with numbers increasing as the years progress. The average ADHD diagnosis is made when a child is seven, and boys are more likely than girls to be affected (13.2% of boys vs 5.6% of girls). Children with ADHD display an array of symptoms, including frequent forgetfulness, squirming or fidgeting, talking a lot, finding it hard to resist temptation, having trouble with turn-taking, etc. This can lead to difficulties in relationships with others, both at home and in a school/social setting. Despite a plethora of studies, the precise causes of/risk factors for ADHD are unknown, though research suggests that the condition is related to genetics. Additional risk factors can include premature delivery, low birth weight and the use of alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy. There are three types of ADHD patients: those who are mainly hyperactive, those who find it difficult to concentrate, and those who display a combination of these qualities. Treatment is varied and can include medication, therapy or a combination of these approaches. Recent studies have shown that yoga can also have an important role to play in soothing many of ADHD’s most difficult symptoms.
Yoga Helps Kids with ADHD: The Findings
A 2013 study published in the journal, ISRN Pediatrics, found that yoga improved school performance in a group of children with diagnosed ADHD. The study involved 69 participants, who took part in a program called Climb-Up, which involved yoga, meditation and play therapy. Parents and teachers were then asked to assess the behavior of the children using the Vanderbilt questionnaire for ADHD. The researchers found that 46% of children improved significantly in terms of their behavior (according to their teachers) and 92% improved (according to their parents). The authors concluded that yoga could form part of cost-effective programs to tackle ADHD at schools.
Another study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders sought to study the effect of yoga on 19 school-aged boys with ADHD, who were on medication. The kids took part in either 20 sessions of yoga or in control activities. Researchers found a significant improvement in behavior of children in the yoga group, and those who practiced yoga at home in addition to taking part in the program, showed an even greater level of improvement.
A third study published by German scientists separated a group of 19 children into two groups: one took part in regular yoga sessions and the other performed traditional exercise routines. The study found that those in the yoga group once again displayed significantly reduced symptoms. They were found to improve in behavior and in the ability to concentrate.
Why Yoga?
The exact mechanisms that make yoga so successful at dealing with ADHD are unknown, though it is suspected that it may be related to yoga’s powerful ability to augment concentration and reduce cortisol (stress hormone levels) through a combination of pranayamic breathing, asanas and meditation. Yoga enhances our ability to be ‘in the here and now’, a skill which is so vitally needed in particular by ADHD sufferers with concentration difficulties. Yoga also enhances the mind’s ability to control thoughts, feelings and actions, thereby enabling children and adults alike to prevent conflicting thoughts and desires from disturbing their concentration and tranquility. Yoga has the unique ability to teach us how to concentrate and relax at the same time… it encourages a way of living that children can embrace and flourish through for the rest of their lives.
This is a freelance article by Helen Murchison
Page 1 of 2 12