From Chaos to Clarity
The ADHD-Yoga Connection and My Journey to Self-Discovery - Rosie Turner
Reading time: 4 minutes
In the wellness landscape, where practices like yoga, pilates, and meditation become our sanctuaries, there's an unsung narrative - the intertwining journey of ADHD and holistic self-care. As an ADHD coach, thought leader, and advocate, I've delved deep into the link between these disciplines and the ADHD mind, uncovering insights that many might overlook.
Yoga, especially styles like Vinyasa/Rocket, offers more than just physical alignment. As the leading ADHD magazine, Additude, rightly points out, "Yoga improves concentration and attention span, while teaching focus." This sentiment is echoed by Webmd, which observes, "Yoga has been shown to help improve ADHD symptoms."
Often, we find solace in the grounding postures of yoga, the rhythmic breathwork of pilates, and the transcendent space of meditation. Yet, even within these calming routines, a restless undercurrent may persist for some of us. This is especially pertinent for individuals whose minds operate on a unique wavelength, courtesy of ADHD. It's not always about the alignment on the mat, but often the alignment within our minds.
For those reading this, think back. Were there moments amidst your downward dogs or during your meditative trance when the sensation of 'not-enough' crept in? That despite attaining milestones, the finish line seemed to move further away?
This relentless pursuit, is a hallmark for many of us with ADHD. The ADHD brain operates differently, constantly seeking dopamine – a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, focus, and motivation. Whereas neurotypical brains maintain a steady flow, the ADHD brain often experiences deficits, leading to that insatiable quest for more – more stimulation, more accomplishment, more validation.
This neurological variance explains the ADHD individual's symptoms: hyperfocus at times, distractibility at others, impulsiveness, or a voracious appetite for novelty. It's this brain structure that might have had you jump from one project to the next, or impulsively dive into relationships, or perhaps even constantly daydream during your yoga sessions.
Before the profound realization of my ADHD, life was a maze. I spiraled from addiction to tumultuous relationships, desperately seeking a compass. Yet, Vinyasa/Rocket yoga became my North Star, guiding me toward healthier choices across spheres of life. But the intrinsic need for 'more', akin to a dopamine chase, overshadowed my progress.
Diagnosis was the turning point. A realization that my perceived chaos wasn’t a character flaw but a dopamine-driven neural pathway. With an estimated 2.6 million people in the UK echoing this narrative, ADHD isn’t an isolated experience; it’s a collective journey to understanding and compassion.
Having ventured into the depths of yoga and spirituality for nearly a decade, the onset of ADHD coaching was a revelation. Questions that once seemed elusive now had answers. Who was I beneath the layers? What innate strengths did my ADHD bestow upon me? What truly mattered, divorced from societal expectations? These questions paved the path to my authentic self, teaching me that seeking validation externally is ephemeral. True contentment emerges from internal harmony.
Embracing ADHD requires a multi-pronged approach. While the serenity of yoga or meditation is invaluable, it's crucial to merge them with ADHD-specific strategies. A holistic blend of these practices, coupled with professional guidance, is the true elixir for managing ADHD.
To all my fellow travelers on this path, remember: your yoga mat is more than a space for physical alignment; it's a canvas for mental alignment too. As you navigate the intricacies of ADHD, let each asana, each breath guide you to deeper self-awareness and purpose in our dynamic world.
Your journey is unique, yet the landmarks are shared. In recognizing the ADHD-yoga connection, we can collectively untangle the complexities and truly discover what we're made of.