Meditation helps with ADHD

Sahaja Yoga Meditation - Scientific StudiesAttention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).

ADHD has three subtypes:

  1. Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive

    Most symptoms (six or more) are in the hyperactivity-impulsivity categories.
    Fewer than six symptoms of inattention are present, although inattention may still be present to some degree.
  2. Predominantly inattentive
    The majority of symptoms (six or more) are in the inattention category and fewer than six symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are present, although hyperactivity-impulsivity may still be present to some degree.
    Children with this subtype are less likely to act out or have difficulties getting along with other children. They may sit quietly, but they are not paying attention to what they are doing. Therefore, the child may be overlooked, and parents and teachers may not notice that he or she has ADHD.

  3. Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive
    Six or more symptoms of inattention and six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are present.
    Most children have the combined type of ADHD.

Researchers are developing more effective treatments and interventions, and using new tools such as brain imaging, to better understand ADHD and to find more effective ways to treat and prevent it.

Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. It is normal for all children to be inattentive, hyperactive, or impulsive sometimes, but for children with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe and occur more often. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a child must have symptoms for 6 or more months and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

Children who have symptoms of inattention may:

  1. Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
  2. Have difficulty focusing on one thing
  3. Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
  4. Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
  5. Have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
  6. Not seem to listen when spoken to
  7. Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
  8. Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
  9. Struggle to follow instructions.

Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:

  1. Fidget and squirm in their seats
  2. Talk nonstop
  3. Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
  4. Have trouble sitting still during dinner, school, and story time
  5. Be constantly in motion
  6. Have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.

Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may:

  1. Be very impatient
  2. Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
  3. Have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games
  4. Often interrupt conversations or others’ activities.

Benefits of meditation in ADHD

A study conducted in Australia, at the Natural Therapies Research Unit, at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney, and in collaboration with the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK, showed significant improvement of the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a disorder that develops in childhood and is characterised by problems of attention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

The treatment of choice in ADHD is the administration of stimulant Medication. However, there are side effects, there is concern about the unknown long-term effects of stimulants on brain development and there is evidence for limited effectiveness that wanes after a few years. For these reasons parents prefer non-pharmacological treatment and there is a search for effective alternative non-pharmacological treatment options.

26 children with ADHD, aged between 4 and 12, were treated for 6 weeks with Sahaja Yoga Meditation adjunctive to their usual treatment (i.e.  some of them were receiving stimulant Medication) and then compared to a waiting list control group who received no treatment.

Children with ADHD who learned how to meditate compared to the waiting list control group showed a significant reduction of the main symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattention.

Other, secondary benefits were an improved child-parent relationship and enhanced self-esteem in children.

Furthermore, of the children who were treated with stimulant Medication, over 50% either discontinued or reduced their stimulant medication but still improved in their symptoms.

This pioneering study suggests that Meditation is clearly a promising non-pharmacological treatment option for children with ADHD that needs to be further explored.
Harrison, L., Rubia, K., Manocha, R. (2003) Sahaja Yoga Meditation as a Family Treatment Program for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Children. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 9 (4), 479-497.

Learn how to meditate with 10 part online meditation course

11 comment(s) so far, want to say something now?

  • Rebecca
    May 19, 2011
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    I already know that meditation could help with ADHD. How can we meditate if we can’t concentrate on one thing? I have been trying and trying, to no avail


    May 19th, 2011

    Hi Rebecca,

    Have you tried our online course at There is a community forum where you can find more support regarding your experiences.

    Sahaja Yoga Meditation help you improve your concentration and attention. You do not need to have an established concentration in order to start meditation. Meditation starts from where you leave the work to your own Kundalini energy.

    All the best


    June 8th, 2015

    Just the simple act of trying to meditate yields benefits even if we don’t think we’re doing very well at it.

    If you try to meditate, then you are meditating. It doesn’t matter if you get distracted, and you will. All that matters is that you eventually catch yourself and return to your breathing.

    Attempting to meditate is meditating successfully and you will improve if you just stick it out and keep trying.



  • Dale
    Dec 26, 2011
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    This is a great article. I am looking at this for my son with ADHD. Do you have a link to the actual study?


    February 15th, 2012

    Hi there. I am also a parent with an ADHD child. I am not having any luck in my search for classes for him. I contacted the dr involved in this study Dr Ramesh Manocha, with no success. Have you had better luck?


    August 27th, 2012

    I will send you the paper if you email me: [email protected] or give me your email.



  • RScript
    Mar 28, 2012
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    I hope that more people get the chance to read articles like this when they are told their children have ADHD. It frightens me to see how medicated our children are becoming. One of the reasons I wrote my book about Chakra energy centers was to offer a beginner level picture book that parents can share with their kids. I see so much improvement in “trouble children” (terrible term) when they learn to connect with themselves and even can just visualize their own energy.

    What about combining meditation with something physically challenging like Yoga? Perhaps start it out as a challenge first: Can you do this pose and how long can you hold it for?


    September 26th, 2012

    My son has been diagnosed with ADHD. What’s the title of your book and where can i find it?



  • Pramod
    Sep 17, 2013
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    I have observed some of the symptoms of ADHD in my son. Can you give me some guidance regarding the websites and information regarding the meditation for ADHD.



    January 23rd, 2015

    This is a website that helped me it just gives some tips on how to meditate it says add but it works with ADHD



  • Mike S
    Feb 18, 2014
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    I am a 43 year old guy with major add/ADHD. I read somewhere that marijuana would help so tried it. It put me in a meditative state and it was like a switch was flipped in my brain. I went from feeling dumber than everyone to a creative genius. This has lead me to meditation which I believe is dramatically changing everything about my life for the better. I can’t even begin to explain how much.


    March 20th, 2014

    Dear Mike,

    Marijuana is a drug that affects badly your inner left channel/Side, and from a Sahaja Yoga perspective we would never recommend it to anyone, as it would then require literally several years of meditation practice, to get rid of its effect. However it is true that meditation is the way, one can change his/her life for the better, that is without a doubt. A majorities of diseases/Allergies/Mental disturbances and so fourth can be eventually taken care of just by meditating as it all comes from a subtle standpoint.

    It is however great to know that you enjoy very much the meditation, we are very glad to know that 🙂

    Warm regards,


    January 22nd, 2015

    This is interesting about the pot issue. I am ADHD and 62 year of age. When I was younger I smoked pot which would put me into a hyper from of thought. I was very creative in this state, but at the same time I felt off balance. It appears in hindsight that ADHD effects different people in different ways. I felt strange because most of the others I smoked pot with were get stupid and giddy while I wanted to talk philosophy and life experiences. I would not recommend pot unless it had the same effect on you as it did on me and in an appropriate setting. There are also many designer grades of pot these days which act differently on different people. I actually function better as my RA pain is lessened but I can be very forgetful too. Pot is plant based so I believe one can benefit from it. As stated everyone is different. Best


    February 9th, 2015

    Dear Tim,

    as you pointed out yourself, you felt off balance. Which is what happens when smoking pot. It takes you to the left side of your subtle system and creates imbalances that are in most cases very hard to subtly clean afterwards (proof at hands and experience lived too). So we therefore would of course not advice to smoke it. It is true it comes from plants and has a natural aspect to it, but many plants in nature are also deadly ones. And so is pot but in a subtle way and it will not help you remain in the center path of evolution :=).
    Also a bit ok knowldege about meditation and ADHD:

    Hoping that it helps,
    warm wishes



  • katetd
    Apr 11, 2014
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    I grew up undiagnosed with predominantly Inattentive ADHD. My daughter was diagnosed with same & not long after so was I. It had caused a lot of problems in my growing up & young adulthood. After a bumpy start, as I got older, I learnt to manage the symptoms in more productive ways. It wasn’t until life got more complex etc & I got older that I started struggling. I used to do meditation & yoga…now I couldn’t even meditate! Oddly, it wasn’t until I went onto medication that I was able to meditate again! I would always suggest medication as a last resort (as long as you don’t drag yourself along struggling without it for too long unessesarily !) and should never be treated as the be all & end all! For me it just got so bad medication actually helped me to do a better job of doing the other things I needed to do to better manage my symptoms!


    April 25th, 2014

    Dear Katetd,

    here is a link below that gives you more insight about ADHD and what Sahaja Yoga can help you with:

    Feel free to ask more questions,



  • sara
    Apr 18, 2014
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    Can you help Adult ADHD and Dyslexia in one who believes there is no help?


    April 25th, 2014

    Dear Sara,

    here is below a link that may help you believing that ADHD whether for child or adult can definitely be dealt through Sahaja Yoga meditation:

    Feel free to ask questions if needed,



  • laptop review
    Jul 8, 2014
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    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Keep up the superb work!



  • Healthy Teeth Program Manitowoc wi
    Sep 9, 2014
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    I’ve been browsing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found
    any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth ennough for me.
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  • Chocolate
    Mar 26, 2015
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    I started out the same way as Katetd but because so much time passed before being diagnosed; it has definitely wreaked so much havoc in every aspect of my life. Right now I’m on meds, go to therapy and have recently taken a yoga class offered by my job (which has helped). What are some other things you can suggest to help me manage or do better?

    Need help


    April 14th, 2015

    Dear Rhena,

    daily meditation and footsoaking through Sahaja Yoga teaching.

    That is pretty much all the basics to any Sahaja Yoga practitioners` life and more if you want to discover more :). There is a wide world of knowledge to learn and that is only the tip of the iceberg!

    I would also recommend to go to a free class as often as possible, that is also of huge help!

    Warm wishes,



  • Justin
    Jun 29, 2015
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    I’m 27. I have ADD, not ADHD. I’m beginning to think that, with my recent success in meditation, that ADD may actually help. I’ve only been meditating for about 3-4 weeks, 10-20 minutes every day. I’ve already witnessed substantial effects. I’ve experienced a love/MDMA like state. It came roughly 6 hours after having meditated for only 5 minutes. I’ve also experienced a tranquil effect after a 25 minute session (the longest I’ve meditated. The love/MDMA state comes and goes and it’s more common. I’ve only experienced tranquility once. Although the former happens much more, these moments are substantially weaker than the aforementioned, specific case. It makes me question just what ADD is. Is it really an attention deficit disorder? Maybe it depends how you look at it? Yes, it’s hard to focus on one thing, but perhaps that is because I’m very good at paying attention (albeit the attention is spread thin) to more at once?


    July 15th, 2015

    Dear Justin,

    We won`t be able to tell you exactly what ADD is, at least not me. But what we can tell you for sure is that once you start meditating you balance your attention out and therefore stabilize it in such a way that it becomes easier to focus. It becomes effortless, it really does. And that definitely gives you the ability to spread your attention, not on different things to do, but on more than yourself. The awareness that comes with practicing Sahaja Yoga allows us to spread our attention on a bigger scale, not just on us anymore. And it may therefore very well help you with ADD. I have seen many people get cured over time from various symptoms/problems/diseases by the simple fact of meditating but also develop capacities such as memory and fast learning.

    Please let us know how it goes and how it evolves for you, any experience is worth sharing :).

    Kind regards,



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