Adolescent Psychiatrist Questions Yoga

Can yoga help my son improve his concentration?

My son is 18 years old and is in engineering school. Lately, he has been finding it hard to concentrate in his studies and feels tired right when he tries. Are there any ways to help him concentrate on his work? What about yoga?

5 Answers

Yoga is great for relieving stress as part of an overall program, and for achieving a sense of calm in his mind. If there is limited attention, he may not be able to practice yoga straight away. Try and figure out why he can't concentrate, usual reasons are excessive work, poor sleep and study habits and school stressors. Yoga would be a useful adjunct as part of an overall assessment
Yoga can certainly help with relaxation and taking stress away, but will not treat the cause of lack of concentration. He might have undiagnosed ADHD inattentive presenting if he has no hyperactivity. Also, anxiety (especially performance anxiety), depression, and other stress can cause the lack of concentration. He needs to be evaluated for the causes.
Also, If the problem is with ADHD, then the problem with concentration can be visible in the tasks that are boring or not interesting for the person, while if they are interested in some tasks, they can have good attention and concentration.

I hope this helps. All the best.
Your son may just be sleep-deprived, stressed, exhausted, anxious, depressed, etc. He may have sleep or dietary problems. Primary attention problems can occur in college due to increased demands for time management, organization, and improved concentration. He could consult someone in the student health service at his school. Yoga probably will not improve his concentration.
Yoga can have many benefits - for focus, for relaxation, for physical strength/health, for sleep, for personal meaning, for social connection, for self-care and self-confidence, and more. People must usually be willing to participate in yoga to experience these benefits, of course. Difficulty concentrating may also be a sign of mental ill health for various reasons; hence, consultation with a licensed mental health professional may shed light on the problem as well.

NB: This does not constitute medical advice, please see the disclaimer in my Expert Blog for details.

Allison V. Downer, M.D.