Spiritual Q and A – Yoga and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

I have a client who is ADHD and says he may be bi-polar. When he does yoga (candlelight), he gets into a state where he says “he’s going a mile a minute both in his mind and body” and “that things can’t move as quickly as his mind is thinking” he gets into mode where he gets lots done but feels this isn’t the type of state he wants to be in from Yoga. Do you have any insight on this?

Thank you. – C

shakti’s response is below in red.

Hello C

The rhythm of the mind affects the rhythm of the nervous system and this affects the breath. There is no way that your mind and nervous system are speeding while your breath remains calm and deep.
Fast mind and anxious nervous system belongs to the “fight or flight” nervous system, which switches the body and mind into emergency state. Calm and extended breath belongs to the parasympathetic nervous system that calms the mind and the body. So the two, the restless mind and the calm slow breath, can not dwell together, as each belongs to an opposite nervous system aspect.
From this, it is obvious, that if a restless mind affects the breath to become shallow and rapid, a deep and mindful breathing will affect the restless mind by slowing it down.

The only way to calm the mind and the nervous system is by breathing mindfully and slowly.

The one that masters his own breath masters his mind!

As a yoga teacher you should guide your restless student into a mindful and slow breath by teaching him ujaye and keep reminding him constantly, in class, to follow this specific breath until it becomes his second nature. You both will have to be patient, as in the beginning his mind will try to indicate the pace of his breath, but with a consistent practice that very much relies on your support as a teacher, by reminding him to breathe in ujaye, the restless mind will give up for the mindful calm breath to indicate the pace of his thoughts.

Beside this you should teach him anuloma viloma so he can do it on his own, every day, in the morning or before sleep.

Namaste
shakti

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