Is The Research Director For Pure Action, Inc., A Nonprofit Organization Devoted To Bringing The Ancient Benefits Of Yoga To Mainstream Medicine Through Research, Education And Community Outreach. She...View All Posts
PURE Action has recently funded a study examining the psychological effects of a six week Bikram yoga program on adult women with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. The study is being conducted by Kathryn Fritz, a doctoral student at the University of Georgia in Athens. The study focuses on adult women because ADHD is poorly understood in adults, especially women. Symptoms of ADHD in adults are associated with impairments in many aspects of life, including mood, work and social life and increased risk for traffic citations and accidents. Prior studies in adults without ADHD symptoms have shown that the adoption of a regular yoga practice is related to improvements in mood and cognitive function. However, whether yoga is beneficial for adults with symptoms of ADHD is unknown. Exercise alone has established mental health benefits while the practice of yoga adds the element of mindfulness. Mindfulness involves sustaining attention on the yoga poses, inhibiting unwanted thoughts, and returning to a focus on breathing and being in the moment if the mind wanders. These cognitive processes are similar to what scientists call executive functions, which are often more difficult for those with symptoms of ADHD to perform. The study will determine if executive functions are improved as a result of 6-weeks of regular participation in Bikram yoga. The study also will determine if the improvements in executive functions appear to be the result of changes in mindfulness.