Diabetes and Yoga

Practicing Yoga has been found helpful in dealing with diabetes. When practiced along with meditation and breathing exercises, yoga enhances digestion, normalizes the functioning of liver and pancreas, tones abdominal parts, stimulates circulation and regulates blood sugar levels.

Recent researches indicate that high levels of Cortisol (a hormone produced in the body as a response to stress) could lead to problems in blood sugar levels, diabetes and insulin resistance. Meditation and yoga are now considered to be the best practices that alleviate stress, as regular practice of yoga has been proven to lower Cortisol levels.

Exercise pays an important role in treating diabetes due to its ability in increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels. Studies have confirmed that regular practice of certain yoga postures stimulates the cells that produce insulin in the Pancreas, while controlling body weight and has helped in lowering the dosages of diabetic medicines.

The following exercises could prove beneficial for individuals with diabetes.

Stand with feet kept apart in line with the shoulders. Bend forward by placing hands on the knees and exhaling through the mouth. Immediately after exhalation, close the mouth and inhale by expanding the chest and tightening the abdominal muscles firmly. Relax the muscles of all other parts of the body, and stay in this position as long as the need to breathe is felt and then relax.

The next step is abdominal pumping. Inhale and exhale, while simultaneously releasing and sucking the abdominal muscles, and continue this process until the need to breathe is felt. This exercise can be repeated three or four times.  These exercises are however not recommended for pregnant women, individuals with hypertension or cardiac ailments or after surgeries.

Certain other postures that are recommended for diabetes control are Bow, Sun salutation, Peackock Pose, Locust Pose, Chest-knee pose, Leg lift pose, Seated Forward Fold, Half Seated twist, Belly Down poses, and Plow. Also, forward bending pose, knee down twist, supine bound angle, Nadi Sodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and Pranayama have calming effect on the body and alleviates stress.

However, diabetic patients, while practicing yoga, should eat atleast one to two hours prior to practice to prevent sudden drop in blood sugar level and sugar levels can be checked after practice of yoga. Yoga practice should be accompanied with diet restrictions meant for diabetic patients.

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