Fitness

Yoga for Diabetes: Top 10 Asanas with Benefits

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Yoga for Diabetes

Yoga is a series of different mental, spiritual, and physical exercises that have been in practice for more than 5000 years. The practice of yoga teaches people to coordinate their breathing and helps in the concentration of the mind and the body, thus effectively promoting relaxation and a sense of inner peace. Apart from being popular and widely practiced, it is also the most cost-effective method of alleviating the symptoms of diabetes. Yoga Asanas stimulate the pancreas directly, and help in significantly reducing cortisol levels (stress hormone) in the blood, preventing it from impacting blood pressure, blood sugar and other complications arising from it.

Top 10 Asanas for Diabetes Management

Without any delay let's go right to learning about the Top 10 Yoga Poses to manage your diabetes better.

1. Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

It helps in relaxation and lowers stress levels to a great degree. It can also help to relieve you of headaches and boosts your energy. 

Steps:

  1. Lay down on the floor with a mat.
  2. Lay flat with your back touching the ground and put your legs up at a 90-degree angle. If you are a beginner, you can take the support of a wall until you can practice this on your own.
  3. Relax the muscles of your body and stretch your arms out on the side with palms facing upwards.
  4. Remain in the position for 5-10 minutes and slowly release by bringing your legs down.

2. Mountain Pose (Samasthiti)

It helps with concentration and improves posture overall.

Steps:

  1. Stand with your feet parallel and then slowly lift your toes and the heels of your feet.
  2. Place them back on the ground and repeat this.
  3. Also push your chest upwards and slowly bring your shoulders towards and then away from each other. 
  4. Repeat this for 5 minutes.

3. Downward (Adho Mukha Svanasana) & Upward-facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Widely renowned poses, increase muscular strength and core, reduce blood pressure and boost overall circulation in the body. 

Steps (Downward): 

  1. While being on your hands and knees, place your hands in front of your shoulders. 
  2. Extend your palms, lay them flat on the ground, and push yourself back to have your toes touch the ground.
  3. Slowly push back as much as you can to try to touch your heels to the ground too, with your palms as they were. 
  4. Breathe 10 times and release 

Steps (Upward):

  1. Lie down flat on your stomach with your forearms perpendicular to the floor
  2. Apply pressure on your palms as you lift your body upwards and come on top of your feet
  3. Bend your elbows slightly and maintain firmness in the gluteal area and shoulders. 
  4. Look straight ahead for up to 30 seconds. 

4. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

One of the best poses which encourages relaxation and promotes the flow of insulin. 

Steps:

  1. Kneel with your knees slightly wide apart
  2. Move back with your buttocks touching your heels. 
  3. Elongate and lean forward to rest your forehead on the ground.
  4. Extend your arms in front and remain for up to 2 minutes

5. Plank Pose (Phalakasana)

Considered as one of the most challenging poses, this helps to strengthen all the parts of the body while also increasing focus. 

Steps:

  1. Start by coming down on your hands and knees and placing your arms perpendicular to the floor. 
  2. Keep the length of your body parallel to the floor as you extend your legs backward to come on your toes.
  3. Relax your body and look straight as you stay in the pose for 30 seconds or more.

6. Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

This is a movement-related exercise that helps work on the abdominal organs and lower the sugar levels in the body. It is also a good stretching exercise for the back, spine, and hips. 

Steps:

  1. Flat on your back with your knees towards your chest and palms facing down
  2. Slowly move your knees towards your left and keep them perpendicular to the hip level. Hold your gaze on the right for maximum stretching of the muscles.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

7. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

It helps to open up the chest and abdomen, directly reducing blood sugar levels and relieving respiratory issues. 

Steps:

  1. Lie down on your stomach and rest your arms on the sides
  2. After bending your knees towards your buttocks, bring your arms to touch your ankles
  3. Lift your head and chest as you do so
  4. Remain for up to 30 seconds and release

8. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

It helps in promoting weight loss and relieves anxiety, tiredness, and headaches. 

Steps:

  1. Sit with your legs straight forward
  2. Draw your toes back towards your shin
  3. Bend forwards using your hips as you lengthen your spine
  4. Slowly move your hands towards your feet, stop till you reach your maximum level of comfort, and tuck your chin into your chest
  5. Remain in position for 3 minutes

9. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

It helps stretch the back and reduce the effects of stress on the mind and body. It also helps in greatly reducing lower back pain.

Steps: 

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent
  2. Move your feet closer to your buttocks and raise your hips from the pubic bone area
  3. Place your hands under your back and press down on your heels while keeping your thighs parallel. 
  4. Remain for 1 minute or so

10. Corpse Pose (Shavasana)

Commonly practiced as the last asana at the end of a routine, it helps relax the body and calm the mind.

Steps:

  1. Lay flat on your back and spread your legs 
  2. Rest your arms on the sides with palms facing upwards, your body will be in a Y-shape
  3. Allow yourself to completely relax and release any tension with breathing.
  4. Remain for up to 5 minutes

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Bottomline

There are multiple ways and reasons to start Yoga, whether you practice it as an exercise or to calm your nerves as a stress buster, the benefits you gain won't disappoint you. Practicing the art of Yoga and engaging daily for 45-50 minutes helps in regulating the flow of insulin and reducing any symptoms of anxiety or stress. If you are just starting out and not sure about doing it by yourself, take the help of a trainer to start even if it is just 2-3 days a week. Take your time and do not test your body’s limits immediately. Once you have gained muscle flexibility, you can increase the frequency to doing it for 45-50 minutes everyday to get maximum benefits.

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