Yoga and Diabetes

Last week we discussed stress and its effects on diabetes. Today we focus on yoga, which is considered one of the best remedies for diabetic patients with stress disorders.

Mind-body practices such as yoga which capitalise on the ability of the mind to enhance physical health appear particularly suited for addressing multifactorial conditions. Yoga is a traditional mind-body system originating in India over 4000 years ago. In recent decades, the practice of yoga has been rising in both developed and developing countries worldwide and the field of yoga therapy is now growing rapidly. The goals of yoga are not centred primarily on physical fitness, but rather on integration of mind, body and spirit, cultivation of balance, calm, harmony and awareness and in classic yoga traditions the attainment of selflessness and spiritual enlightenment. The science of yoga is ancient. Yogasana, which is continuous and comfortable, is designed to tone, consolidate and line the body at the physical level. These postures are done to make the spine supple and stable and to facilitate the flow of blood to all organs, glands and tissues and keeping all body systems healthy. 

A growing body of evidence such as yoga may benefit adults with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Collectively it was found that yogic practices may promote significant improvements in several indices of importance in type 2 diabetes management which includes glycemic controls, lipid levels and body composition. Yoga may also lower oxidative stress and blood pressure, enhance pulmonary and autonomic function, mood, sleep and quality of life and reduce medication use in adults with diabetes mellitus. 

How is yoga exercises helpful in controlling blood sugars?

Muscles absorb excess glucose from the blood and lower blood sugar levels through yoga exercises. It helps the pancreas in the liver function well to regulate blood sugar levels. Yoga can help the pancreas rejuvenate and secrete insulin. Muscle movements also help to lower blood sugar by increasing the use of glucose.  It induces relaxation which is also a crucial factor in the healthy functions of the internal organs of the body. Yoga therapy is helpful in reducing body weight in obese individuals. Yoga therapy also improves the status of diabetics in terms of lowering insulin dosage, physical and mental alertness and preventing complications. It, therefore, plays a role in the prevention of diabetes mellitus both primary and secondary. 

What are the benefits of Bhujangasana   

  • Bhujangasana tones the abdomen and internal organs
  • It strengthens the entire back and shoulders
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Expands the chest and is hence useful in asthmatics
  • Improves flexibility in upper and middle back muscles

What are the benefits of Dhanurasana  

  • Strengthens your back and abdominal muscles
  • Increases flexibility of the back
  • Stimulates the reproductive organs in women
  • Helps in improving menstrual disorders
  • Opens up and tones the neck, chest and shoulder muscles
  • Reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue by controlling the level of cortisol hormone and thereby also controlling blood sugars

What are the benefits of Pavanamuktasana

  • Unwanted gas is removed from the digestive system of the stomach
  • Narrows the abdominal muscles and stimulates the nerves in the abdominal area increasing blood circulation and making the abdominal organs work properly

What are the benefits of Kapalbhati Pranayama

  • Helps to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the blood, thereby helping to increase the oxygen levels in the body
  • Improves digestive issues and eliminates gastric problems
  • Boosts production of endorphins thereby helping to uplift your mood
  • Stimulates the pancreas and releases insulin thereby controlling blood sugars
  • Increases the capacity of lungs and strengthens them

What are the benefits of Ardha Matsyendrasana    

  • Helps to massage and stimulate the pancreas and thus helps in the release of insulin and thereby better control of diabetes
  • Massages the abdominal organs, therefore, increases the digestive juices and increasing the functioning of the digestive system. 
  • It makes the spine more flexible and tones spinal nerves and improves the way the spinal cord functions
  • Helps to open up the chest and increase the supply of oxygen to the lungs

What are the benefits of Paschimottanasana

  • Stretches the whole spine, shoulders, specifically lower back, hand strings and hip
  • Massages and tones all the abdominal and pelvic organs, improves the circulation to these organs and hence very beneficial in diabetic control
  • Reduces abdominal fat and is beneficial for the liver, kidneys, ovaries and uterus
  • It activates the spinal nerves and also improves your digestive system

What are the benefits of Balasana  

  • Promotes blood circulation in the whole body
  • It relaxes the abdomen and chest 
  • Causes mild pressure and compression on all abdominal organs and thereby stimulates the pancreatic function
  • It is therapeutic for digestion
  • Calms your mind and body and reduces stress and anxiety

Watch the complete video to know how the yoga postures are done.