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Yoga for Diabetes

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Diabetes is a severe and common health condition. Yoga can do much more than just relax the body and mind. It plays a vital role in treating diabetics.

Written by

Dr. Dheeksha. R

Medically reviewed by

Shakti Mishra

Published At May 12, 2023
Reviewed AtFebruary 27, 2024

Introduction

The primary purpose of yoga is to maintain better physical and mental health. Yoga helps with alleviating various chronic pain, chronic disease, and stress. It plays a significant role in treating diabetes, primarily type 2 diabetes. The blood sugar level can be controlled when yoga is adequately practiced for an extended period. Regular yoga can reduce the risk and complications associated with diabetes.

How Does Yoga Help to Stay Active?

Physical activities are vital for staying healthy. Yoga can be an alternative option for exercise in case of diabetes. Yoga helps synchronize body movements with breathing techniques in diabetic individuals. It makes the nerve facilitate chemical transformation with the cell and enhances the internal organ to balance the blood sugar level.

What Is the Therapeutic Role of Yoga in Diabetes?

Three factors increase the risk of diabetes are

  • Unhealthy diet.

  • Lack of physical activity.

  • Mental stress.

These factors have a massive impact on diabetes, possibly leading to coronary heart disease. A high-fiber, balanced diet and physical exercise will help control diabetes. Yoga makes a person physically active, reduces mental stress and emotions, and helps balance the body.

What Are the Benefits of Yoga for Diabetes?

People with diabetes are at high risk of other health complications. Therefore, it is advisable to keep blood sugar levels in control. Besides medication and insulin, yoga can play a huge role in reducing and controlling blood sugar levels. In addition, yoga keeps a person physically active, reduces stress, prevents coronary heart disease, and helps to improve overall health.

Yoga helps to enhance physical and mental health by

Reducing the Stress Level - Yoga causes a drastic change in the reduction of mental stress. An increased stress level causes an imbalance in blood sugar levels, which increases the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and resistance to insulin therapy.

Protecting the Heart - The long-term practice of yoga helps reduce changes in the blood vessels and control heart disease. For example, yoga helps to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and body mass index, which are all responsible for coronary heart disease. So, practicing yoga in the long term reduces the risk of heart disease.

Protecting the Chance of Diabetic Neuropathy - Neuropathy is damage caused to one or more nerves. It is a significant risk factor for diabetes, as it is characterized by a tingling effect in the hands and feet and may result in the altered functioning of the internal organs. Practicing yoga regularly for a long time boosts metabolism, glucose, and hormonal level, improving the nervous system overall. So regular yoga practice helps to reduce the risk of neuropathy.

Enhancing Strength and Balance - Yoga improves the body's strength, balance, and flexibility. In addition, specific postures reduce liver fat, reducing blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and obesity.

What Are the Postures That Help Control Diabetes?

The best yoga postures or asanas for diabetics are:

  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) - This pose is ideal for diabetic patients as it strengthens and regulates the pancreas. In addition, it helps strengthen the abdominal muscle, enhances digestion, and prevents stomach cramps.

  • Balasana (Child Pose) - This yoga posture includes hamstrings, rotator muscles, and spinal extensors, which help reduce stress, fatigue, and back and neck pain. In addition, it enhances the production of insulin-producing beta cells.

  • Bhujangasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose) - It strengthens the muscles by working on spinal extensors, triceps branches, and quadriceps muscles.

  • Shavasana (Corpse Pose) - Shavasana is a resting pose that helps relax the body and calm the mind. It helps the body enter a meditative phase and enables the mind to process and get the benefits of yoga to the body.

  • Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall) - Legs up the wall is a pose that helps reduce blood sugar levels drastically, as it acts on the pancreas. Besides this, this pose helps to relax the body and improves energy. So, it helps in controlling and reducing blood sugar levels.

  • Tadasana (Mountain Pose) - This simple pose has more excellent effects with proper technique, which improves concentration, knee strength, and spine flexibility. Furthermore, this pose helps create more body space, which makes other internal organs perform efficiently. In addition, it increases blood circulation and promotes insulin sensitivity to control the blood sugar level.

  • Mandukasana (Frog Pose) - People with migraine, backaches, ankle injuries, hypertension, or insomnia should not perform the frog pose. It helps stretch the pancreas and increase the release of insulin. It also improves the digestion process.

  • Chakrasana (Wheel Pose) - Chakrasana helps to stretch and relax the spine. It reduces stress and calms down the mind. This yoga posture improves kidney and liver health, which are high complications of diabetes. It also improves the functioning of the pancreas and helps reduce the blood sugar level.

  • Halasana (Plow Pose) - People with a sedentary lifestyle should follow this posture. It helps prevent the adverse effects of diabetes. In addition, this helps reduce belly fat by acting on the abdominal muscles and promotes insulin secretion.

  • Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fish Pose) - Ardha matsyendrasana is a retreat for the liver and pancreas as it massages the internal organs. It involves a half-spine twist that helps increase energy levels and insulin production.

  • Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) - The seated forward bend posture tones the abdominal and pelvic organs and reduces the excess fat from the body. As a result, it lowers blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, and headache. In addition, it helps to reduce depression and stress.

  • Supta Baddha Konasana (Recycling Bound Angle Pose) - It calms the nervous system and lowers stress. It stimulates the kidney, abdominal organ, and heart. It controls blood sugar and blood pressure level.

  • Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulder Stand) - It calms the brain, reduces stress, and improves blood circulation. It acts on the thyroid and abdominal glands.

  • Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog) - It is a solid back-bending pose that requires more muscle strength. This asana helps to stimulate abdominal organs and reduce fatigue, depression, sciatica, and obesity. In addition, it maintains blood pressure and boosts circulation.

  • Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist) - A healthy twist, this asana is done lying on the back. It helps regulate blood flow to the digestive system and stimulates the abdominal organs. In addition, it helps with stiffness and pain by massaging the spine, hip, and back.

What Precautions Should Individuals With Diabetes Take for Yoga Asanas?

Yoga is to be performed with the help of a professional instructor and guidance. Certain precautions to be taken are:

  • Should practice yoga under professional guidance.

  • Beginners should avoid rigid yoga postures.

  • Diabetic people should be careful of injury or discomfort after every physical activity.

  • Vigorous exercises in hot climatic conditions are not recommended for people with diabetes.

  • Any symptoms of pain or discomfort are to be taken into consideration.

  • Only perform yoga when it is comfortable.

  • Should perform yoga on an empty stomach, but diabetic patients can take light snacks to avoid hypoglycemia.

  • Any discomfort or dizziness is to be taken care of by the person.

Conclusion

Diabetes is a widespread health condition that should be important. Besides medicine and insulin therapy, physical activity plays a significant role in controlling blood sugar levels. Physical activities such as yoga and asanas help in reducing blood sugar levels and stress. It increases the production of insulin and improves the functioning of the pancreas. In the long term, yoga can control blood sugar levels and reduce stress and depression, dramatically impacting diabetes. So yoga acts as the best physical activity for the physical and mental health of a person with diabetes.

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Shakti Mishra
Shakti Mishra

Nutritionist

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