Embracing Neurodiversity

Embracing Neurodiversity

The transformative power of yoga for ADHD, autism and beyond. By Kelsey Taylor

Reading time: 3 minutes

In the busy world we live in, finding stillness and inner peace becomes a safe place from the overstimulation and overwhelm that we may experience, particularly for individuals navigating the challenges of neurodiversity, such as ADHD and autism. Yoga, with its multi-faceted approach encompassing physical postures, breathing techniques, mudras, touch, chanting and more, emerges as a powerful ally in fostering wellbeing and enhancing the lives of those with neurodivergent conditions.

Yoga: Yoga extends far beyond the realm of physical exercise. At its core, it is a holistic practice that encompasses the mind, body and spirit. For individuals with ADHD and autism, where the mind often dances to its rhythm, the integration of breathwork becomes particularly crucial.

Mindful breathing: The art of mindful breathing within the yogic framework acts as a potent tool to calm the nervous system. By engaging in controlled and deliberate breaths, individuals can regulate their energy levels, promoting a sense of balance and tranquillity amid the chaos that neurodiversity may bring.

Mudras: Mudras, or symbolic hand gestures, add another layer to the transformative potential of yoga for neurodivergent individuals. These intricate movements redirect energy and awareness away from the incessant chatter of the mind into the physical body. The intentional placement of hands fosters a connection between mind and body, providing a tangible focal point for redirecting restless energy into purposeful, mindful movements.

Touch: Touch, often an overlooked aspect of yoga, plays a pivotal role in creating a sense of groundedness for those with neurodivergent conditions. The gentle guidance of an instructor's touch during a yoga session can serve as a grounding force, fostering a heightened awareness of the body and its movements. This tactile connection not only enhances the overall yoga experience but also helps individuals with ADHD and autism build a deeper connection with their physical selves.

Chanting: Chanting, an ancient practice within the yogic tradition, carries profound benefits for neurodivergent individuals. The rhythmic repetition of sounds or mantras during chanting has been shown to have a calming effect on both the mind and body. This meditative aspect of yoga can be particularly beneficial for those with ADHD, aiding in improving focus and discipline.

Moreover, the discipline cultivated through regular yoga practice can be a beacon of stability for individuals with neurodivergent conditions. The structured nature of yoga routines instils a sense of routine and predictability, providing a valuable anchor in the lives of those who often grapple with unpredictability.

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the importance of neurodiversity, yoga stands as an inclusive and accessible practice, offering a sanctuary for all to thrive on their unique path to self-realisation.

Kelsey Taylor is a senior yoga teacher and trainer based in Lichfield, Staffordshire. Although she specialises in yoga for women’s health, she has undertaken training for ADHD and autism and also works in SEN schools supporting children in their learning. Visit: flowwomenswellness.com

*commission earned from this link.

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.