As a stay-at-home mom, making time for my own mental and physical health is a challenge. However, nothing is more important for an ADHD parent than taking care of yourself — and keeping your symptoms from ruling the day.
The benefits of a regular yoga practice extend far beyond the mat, making me a better mom (and person) all day long.
Here are just a few ways yoga has changed my life and helped me manage my ADHD.
I can find stillness anywhere
ADHD predisposes me to overwhelm. I tend to freak out if there’s too much coming at me at once. Not exactly Parent of the Year material, right?
Yoga has taught me to accept myself and find a strong, steady place within.
I’m finally learning to achieve a state of calm independent of what’s happening around me. After years of practicing yoga, that moment still feels precious and fleeting, but at least I know it exists. I know which mental muscles I need to strengthen.
I can regain my balance after a fall
As my favorite yoga teacher once told me, falling is great. It’s how we learn our limits
Yoga has taught me not only how to fall, but how to get up, regain my balance, and try again. Even if I don’t look good standing on one leg.
Family life with ADHD — especially when more than one person has it — creates an ideal space for chaos and blame. Sometimes we mess up, just like sometimes we fall out of a balancing pose in yoga class.
I can be strong and good, even when I’m overwhelmed, even when I’ve lost control. Knowing this gives me the strength to forgive myself and move on.
I’m more mindful
Yoga allows me to inhabit my body 100%. It quiets my ADHD brain’s frantic activity, if only for a moment.
From this place of calm, I’ve learned that yoga — and, by extension, life — is as much about holding back as pushing forward, as much about staying in the moment as it is about flow. When we’re mindful, we observe our current state. When we advance in yoga practice, we push ourselves to our limits, but not too far.
Cultivating this awareness and control has improved so many aspects of my life, especially those hit hardest by my ADHD.
I’m becoming okay with discomfort
I describe my ADHD as the “ping pong” variety: I rarely fully experience one thing before bouncing to the next.
It’s tempting to shy away from intense, uncomfortable sensations in our minds or bodies. We may even do this to cope with ADHD’s hypersensitivity.
Once, I attended a somewhat unconventional class that overwhelmed my heart, mind, and body with sensation — I couldn’t shy away. I breathed, sank deeper into the stretches, and felt my body open up in ways I never knew it could. I stayed in one place and paid attention to my feelings. Eventually, I cried.
Yoga teaches us surrender and not hesitation; strength and stillness and not fidgeting or running away. It broadens the ADHD brain’s horizons. As a result, I’m more present in my everyday life, not just on the mat.
I know tiny adjustments change everything
ADHD’ers tend to think BIG, even though “big” usually translates to “impossible to execute” in the real world. Lasting change needs to be sustainable, not sparkly.
Sure, my academic mind has learned this through reading Mini Habits, among other things, but in my heart I’ve learned it through yoga. Specifically, those moments when a good teacher gives me a tiny adjustment that changes everything. A challenging pose suddenly feels strong and effortless and right, thanks not to brute force, but a deceptively simple tweak.
An important lesson for every ADHD household, don’t you think?
How about you? Do you practice yoga, or have you tried it in the past? What keeps you standing on solid ground?