You didn’t go to yoga this morning did you?

…asked a coworker today. He doesn’t know me well but noticed the change in my mood, productivity, and activity.

I typically start every morning with movement (workout or yoga) followed by a walk with my dog and whenever I can, a walk to work along the Inlet trail.

Today I woke up, showered, and drove to work had one of the most unproductive days of my career. At one point I counted FOURTEEN separate tabs open on my computer with half completed tasks. As I paced around the office chatting, rearranging books, cleaning, avoiding the mountain of paperwork piling up, I kept repeating the intention I set for the day. My mantra on the drive to work was “I will focus. I will be productive today” and when I was unable to manage this, the negative self talk started to creep in (and I have worked VERY hard to keep those demons away)

I have ADHD.

*I should note this was a paperwork day as my ADHD rarely interferes with my ability to be present for counselling clients in person*

I was a “bad” kid, always in trouble. Pretty sure I never saw recess in grade 6 as I was in detention every single day, and even banned from riding the school bus. I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD as a child, back then we were just labelled bad kids. Too talkative, too distractable, too intrusive.

My parents did the best they could to keep me engaged. Over the years I played ice hockey, softball, volleyball, basketball, rugby, field hockey, and was enrolled in brownies, girl guides, competitive dance, gymnastics, piano lessons, skating lessons and joined multiple school teams and clubs including curling, snowboarding, golf, adventure club, math league (I know… random. I used to love math) and any other activity I could join. No doubt these activities contributed to my success in school eventually leading me to obtain a postgraduate degree in Social Work. I do remember teachers openly querying that they weren’t sure what to do as I had top grades on assignments but my behaviour was so troublesome (just give me the As I would suggest)

In my 20s I had a pretty big job as a manager at a non profit organization. I remember when my fidgeting led to me snapping a hair elastic across the table at a community partner and thinking maybe I should get help. I printed off an ADHD assessment and brought it to my doctor who confirmed I met the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis.

Having a diagnosis means very little to me. What I did learn at that time was the power of yoga to manage symptoms, particularly the morning practice. Any yoga instructor is going to say yoga changed their life. I’m legit very serious when I say it changed my life. Not just through helping to manage the concentration aspect of ADHD, but also to address the self esteem and negative self talk that goes along with ADHD.

And this is why I offer morning yoga classes at RVN Wellness for kids, teens, and adults. Because we all deserve the opportunity to start our day off right. There are several studies documenting the benefits of yoga for people with ADHD, and yet in my practice as a mental health clinician in Port Moody, I had nowhere to send my clients for this treatment. The BC Children’s Hospital discharge paperwork template for kids released from the psych unit lists yoga as follow up for their treatment plan and yet, nobody was actually offering it for kids and teens! And as great as some of those yoga videos online are, they do not offer youth with mental health concerns the same benefits as in person yoga classes do.

So staying true to my nature of being impulsive and creative, I decided to open a yoga studio, mid pandemic with before and after school yoga. Just rent a space and invite some kids and teach yoga – simple right? It turns out running a business is far more complicated – lawyers and accountants and inspections and licenses and insurance, an ADHD person’s worst nightmare. But here we are.

I have 7000 ideas of exciting offerings but my follow through can only occur under the right conditions.

The ADHD brain can be beautifully creative and full of opportunity.

Yesterday I did a 45 minute HIIT workout when I woke up, followed by a 60 minute yoga class, and then a 45 minute dog walk. And then I got to work on my studio admin work. I worked 6 or 7 hours straight and was highly productive, even forgetting to eat. Because I was on a roll, I stayed up too late, hence why today I skipped my morning yoga and was terribly unproductive. It is hard for me to really put into words how drastic the difference yesterday was to today. Not only was I more productive, but I felt better about myself. As I checked each item off my list, (lists are the only way I can function!) I could feel my confidence grow.

And as I write this at 12:30 am, I am reminded of another side effect of skipping yoga… insomnia. I’m typically an in bed by 10 pm person (I learned the import of this in my Ayurveda course – more about that later) but missing yoga this morning has set my whole day “off”.

If yoga isn’t your jam, incorporating any time of movement and meditation into your morning can assist with ADHD symptoms. A few other tips I’ve gathered over the years based on my experience of living with ADHD as well as working as a therapist include:

– Consistency with noise. Personally, I need absolute silence in order to focus (yes I turn the radio down in the car when looking for a specific street address.) Some people prefer white noise. Whichever it is, consistency can help.

– Nature. I often do my counselling sessions with kids with ADHD outdoors. I find they’re more likely to open up to me on a walk to the Noons Creek Salmon Hatchery than sitting in a grey office. It also gives me a chance to put some mindful techniques into practice – “wow, watch that leaf fall to the ground” and for myself, when I feel “stuck” a walk or run outdoors can provide me the answers I need.

– Intention. I find setting my intention for the day a powerful tool to keep me grounded and motivated.

– Lists! Not only do they help organize, but can increase confidence and self esteem as things are checked off. I use a notepad in my phone for most but often carry a notebook as well. I write my to do list before bed each night for the following day and review it when I wake up each morning.

– Doodling. That notebook is also to allow me to doodle which is needed when I’m required to sit and listen (like when taking a course.) There was an interesting study that showed doodling actually increases concentration for people with ADHD. I hope kids aren’t still getting detention for doodling in class. I wish smart ass grade 6 Dawn had access to this study to get out of detention.

– Limiting screen time. We have enough trouble without the constant distraction of alerts and noise. I try to take at least one hour a day of screen free to allow myself a reset. This screen free time includes no radio or talking – incorporating pratyahara (withdrawal of senses) into my day without necessarily sitting in full meditation.

– Holding a warm cup of tea. We know fidgeting is a classic sign of ADHD but having a mug to play with while twirling the tea bag string not only provides me with an opportunity to fidget (which that early study notes improves concentration) but also is a change in temperature on my hands, lips, throat, is calming and can bring more awarenessness into each moment.

And I’m finally ready to sleep so will finish this blog later. Or maybe I won’t and it will go in the pile of other half completed tasks and ideas.

Good night.

I’m back to quickly finish this blog to remind those reading this of the many strengths of people living with ADHD. I came across an article that stated: “If I could name the qualities that would assure a person’s success in life, I would say being bright, being creative with that intelligence, and being well-liked. I would also choose hardworking and diligent. I would want many of the traits that people with ADHD possess.”

This resonated so much with me because I have finally chosen a path where I can capitalize on my strengths. Years of working in management with tight deadlines and loads of paperwork wasn’t serving me. Being present with people, serving people in person through counselling and sharing yoga is what allows me to be present and creative rather than constantly struggling through administrative tasks (don’t get me wrong, I struggle with the administrative tasks of running a business but they are far less important than how I show up and hold space for my clients.)

If you are interested in learning more, or booking a counselling or yoga session, head to for more information.

My child and teen yoga program is called Young Ravens because in Indigenous culture the Raven is a powerful bird known for it’s sneaky curiosity, much like children with ADHD. Despite these characteristics, the Raven is celebrated for being the one who brought light to the world through it’s curious and trickster ways. When we celebrate the curious and creative ways of children and teens living with ADHD, we allow them to grow their gifts to serve the world.

Shopping Cart

Two Weeks Unlimited Yoga for $30!

    Your Cart
    Your cart is empty
    Scroll to Top