Yoga and Diabetes

October 6th, 2017

Yoga and Diabetes

by Miranda Murray

Revised 10/6/2017


Yoga and Diabetes

Staying active should play a large role in managing diabetes.  Have you thought about giving yoga a try?  Yoga has been shown to improve blood sugar levels and help lower blood pressure; but the benefits don’t stop there.

Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Yoga is the ancient Indian practice of physical, mental and spiritual well-being.  Practicing yoga brings about a plethora of benefits ranging from increased bodily strength and flexibility, to heightened mental awareness and minimizing stress.  Diabetes is “a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood.”

How can practicing yoga help manage diabetes?

 Aside from the truth that anyone can benefit from practicing yoga, diabetics can particularly enhance their diabetes management in 2 specific ways.  One being stress control and the other being the fact that yoga can literally stimulate the organs and, in turn, promote metabolic action.

Stress Control

Managing stress plays an important role for everyone, but it can be particularly important in managing diabetes.  This is because, by managing your stress levels (cortisol,) you can have a higher grasp on taking control of your glucose levels.  The body releases the hormone cortisol in reaction to high stress levels, this elevates the blood sugar within the body – which can negatively effect a diabetic due to their inability to process blood sugars normally.  The meditation and relaxation aspect of yoga can help to control these stress levels and improve the ability to regulate blood sugar.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Yoga Poses to Stimulate Organs

Yoga has the the ability to stimulate our internal organs which encourages metabolic function.  Most of these poses are Asanas (yoga from seated position) and can be performed whether the person is super flexible or not – because yoga can always be modified to fit your needs.  With the “squeezing” and “contracting” actions the body goes through in these various poses, our internal organs area actually being massaged, and this can promote the functionality of organs like the pancreas, liver and kidneys.  By stimulating the pancreas, for example, it’s ability to produce insulin is heightened.  Dr. Pradeep Gadge states “Asanas help in optimal secretions of the endocrinol glands which helps insulin in the body to be used more effectively.”  See the suggested poses below.

Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Half Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Plough Pose (Halasana)

 

The thought of yoga can either be overwhelming: “there’s no way I would able to stretch like that!” or boring: “what, they just lay there and breathe?”  But yoga has tons of positive benefits that can improve anyone’s life!  There are lots of different ways to try yoga – home videos or DVDs, one-on-one sessions with an instructor, or classes at the gym or yoga studio!  Most places offer a free class to new-comers, so there’s no harm in giving it a try! Below is a list of other benefits promoted by practicing yoga fro your body and mind.

Increased core strength Improved intuition
Lowers blood pressure Increased self-acceptance
Weight management Improved Concentration
Improved digestion Neutralized stress
Improved circulation Improved memory
Body detoxification Increases mental awareness
Pain and tension relief Focus on the present
Increased flexibility Increase confidence
Improved posture Unlocked energy flow
Increase immunity Balanced brain hemispheres

Namaste.

-Miranda M

*I am not a doctor, nutritionist or scientist but I have spent the past 4 years soaking up information I’ve gathered through various websites, by attending numerous informational meetings and working with nutritionists and fitness trainers. 

Sources:

Times of India, Everyday Health,  Joslin, Pinterest, Ommmm

 

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