In order to stay healthy, it is important that we exercise and eat nutritious food. For people with diabetes, this becomes all the more important, since they have a hard time healing or recovering from illness or injuries. In India, Yoga has been a part of the lifestyle for many people for a very long time and the physical exercises that it involves help make our body stronger and encourage us to lead a more balanced lifestyle.
How Is Yoga Beneficial for People with Diabetes?
It is common knowledge that yoga is good for health because it combines breathing techniques, body movements, and postures along with techniques for learning meditation, all of which will have an impact on your overall health. Here are some ways how yoga helps a diabetic patient.
- It helps improve blood circulation.
- It improves the functioning of the pancreas, which is responsible for stimulating the production of beta insulin cells.
- It helps to lower blood pressure and sugar.
- It lowers the levels of depression and anxiety.
- Yoga helps improve immunity.
- It helps in weight loss.
- It improves energy levels.
Best Yoga Asanas for Diabetes
The movements and body postures that are learnt in yoga are called Asanas. Here we have some of the best yoga Asanas for type 2 diabetes:
1. Legs Up the Wall
A pose that helps in reducing the levels of stress by improving circulation will lead to lower levels of blood pressure and blood sugar.
This asana will help strengthen your front torso, hamstrings, pelvic muscles, back of the neck, and lower back.
How To Do
Use a yoga mat, a blanket, or just a mat to perform this asana.
- Sit close to a wall in your room. Your legs should be stretched in front.
- You should face the wall.
- Lie gently on the yoga mat and slide up your legs on the wall.
- Your back should be straight on the mat and your legs should be straight on the wall. You will be at an angle of 90 degrees.
- Relax in this position for about five minutes.
- Slide your legs back down and do a few more reps.
2. Reclining Bound Angle
An excellent pose for calming the nervous system and aiding the functioning of the kidney, bladder and abdominal muscles.
This asana works on your groin muscles, pelvic muscles, adductors, and psoas.
How To Do
- Lie down on a yoga mat and press the soles of your feet together. Your knees will be on the sides.
- Relax your hips.
- Rest your hands; they should be next to your hips with your palms facing up.
- Remain in this position for ten minutes. Inhale and exhale slowly and let your thighs stretch.
- Slowly release by pushing your knees together with your hands.
- Sit up slowly and repeat this asana.
3. Seated Forward Bend
This Asana helps lower blood pressure, relieve anxiety and fatigue, and aid in weight loss.
This works the erector spinae, gastrocnemius, pelvic muscles and gluteus maximus.
How To Do
- Sit with your legs stretched out, using a cushion under your knees if you need it.
- Keep your feet straight with the toes pointing toward the ceiling.
- Bend forward at the hips and keep moving your hands towards your feet.
- Rest your hands on the floor, leaning over your legs for at least three minutes before releasing.
4. Plough Pose
This asana helps in stimulating the thyroid gland and increase the circulation of blood and reduce stress levels.
This works the muscles in the hamstrings, rotator cuffs, spinal extensors, and trapezius.
How To Do It
- Rest your shoulders on a yoga mat and rest your arms alongside your body.
- Lift your legs straight up in the air using your arms to help balance.
- Place your hands on your lower back for support so that your fingers face upwards.
- Bring your feet together and try to reach the floor above your head.
- Remain like this for at least one minute before releasing.
5. Cobra Pose
This asana can help lower your blood pressure and build strength.
It works your triceps, quadriceps, hamstrings, spinal extensors and glutes.
How To Do
- Lie on your stomach with your toes flat on the floor.
- Keep your legs together and your body straight.
- Your hands should be under your shoulders.
- Breathe in and lift your head and chest up and hold the position for at least thirty seconds.
- Return to the resting position and do a few reps.
6. Bow Pose
This will open the chest cavity and may also lower blood sugar levels.
This asana works your quadriceps, hamstrings, pectorals, and glutes.
How To Do
- Lie on your stomach with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your arms aside.
- Bring your lower legs up such that your knees are lifted.
- Hold onto your ankles and hold this position for about 30 seconds before relaxing.
7. Half Lord of the Fishes
This twisty asana, also called as ardha matsyendrasana, helps lower blood sugar and boost energy.
This works out your spine and your pectorals.
How To Do
- Start by sitting cross-legged.
- Bring your left leg over your right thigh and place your foot (of the left leg) on the ground.
- Sit straight and twist your body towards the left.
- Your right arm should go around your left leg, and your gaze should be over your shoulder.
8. Supine Spine Twist
This asana stimulates the abdomen, which helps in lowering the blood sugar. It can also help in relieving pain in the lower back.
This will work your spine, abdomen, and pectorals.
How To Do
- Lie on your back.
- Bring your knees up towards your chest.
- Keep your arms on the floor by your side, palms facing down.
- Keep your back on the floor but bring your knees down to the right side, keeping them together.
- Remain like this for at least thirty seconds.
- Repeat the asana.
9. Child Pose
This asana will help you relax, which may help to promote the beta insulin-producing cells.
This works on your spine, glutes, and hamstrings.
How To Do
- Kneel on a yoga mat.
- Your knees should be together and your feet too.
- Sit on your heels and bend. Your forehead should touch the ground and arms should be extended forward.
- Remain in this position for at least five minutes then repeat.
10. The Corpse
This asana helps in relaxation and reduce blood pressure.
This pose helps in relaxing the muscles of the body after a session.
How To Do
- Lay on your back and keep your arms at your sides. Keep your feet spread out.
- Deep breath and remain in this position for about 20 minutes.
Here are some frequently asked questions about yoga for diabetes:
1. Can Yoga Prevent Diabetes?
As many of the poses in yoga tend to massage the pancreas and increase the production of insulin, yoga has the ability to prevent diabetes. Many studies have also shown that it can work wonders for the prevention and management of diabetes. For people with Type 2 diabetes, yoga asanas can prove effective.
2. Can Yoga Protect Me from Gestational Diabetes during Pregnancy?
About 18% of women experience gestational diabetes during pregnancy. High blood sugar during pregnancy can cause many other problems as well including preeclampsia, which brings with it many other problems. Yoga for high blood sugar can help to solve this problem by reducing perceived and oxidised stress, which is a huge factor for causing high blood sugar.
3. Does Yoga Help Control Blood Sugar?
Yoga helps reduce adrenaline and cortisol levels in the body, which make it a great way to help in managing your blood sugar levels. Many different types of yoga asanas can affect your blood sugar differently. There is yoga to help with high blood sugar and yoga for low blood sugar as well.
Diabetes is often the result of a bad lifestyle, so it becomes necessary that you follow a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Yoga has been practised for thousands of years and can bring about a balance in your lifestyle, both mentally and physically. Yoga when coupled with a balanced diet, it can do wonders in helping you regain your health and control your diabetes.