yoga for diabetes
Fitness
Medically Reviewed iconMedically Reviewedcevron icon

Benefits of Yoga For Diabetes

Yoga is a common practice that originated in ancient Asian and Indian practices. It is based on certain scientific principles that are useful in the prevention, cure, and treatment of several diseases, even chronic ones. Several research articles look into how can yoga help in preventing diabetes. Practitioners and advocates of yoga have spoken about the advantages of several poses that can help in increasing the flow of insulin in the body by stimulating the pancreas. Not only diabetes, but yoga is also well known in its method and practices to help in controlling the effects and symptoms of other chronic illnesses like thyroid, hypertension, blood pressure, etc.

How Can Yoga Help in Preventing Diabetes

When the pancreas is completely incapable of producing insulin, the diagnosis is called Type 1 Diabetes. Another type, Type 2 Diabetes, occurs when the pancreas produces insulin but it is not enough to suffice the glucose in the bloodstream. You can learn how to control diabetes through yoga, irrespective of type 1 or type 2.

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. This effectively promotes relaxation and a sense of inner peace.

Benefits of Yoga for Diabetes

Yoga and exercise play a very significant role in maintaining the sugar levels in the body. It is a physical activity which also involves and trains you to control the mind, improving mental activity. It improves the quality of life and prevents several health issues including diabetes. Yoga includes some specific postures, several breathing techniques and meditation. asanas for diabetes offer a wide array of benefits –

Lowers stress levels

Stress is something that makes us react to a particular situation. Everyone goes through some kind of stress in their lives. However, what matters is the way one responds to it. Increased stress leads to an imbalance in glucose levels. Stress also contributes to insulin resistance, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Practicing yoga every day can reduce your stress levels effectively and keeps your glucose levels under control.

Protecting Cardiac Health

Yoga helps in preventing all the risks related to heart health such as blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol levels etc. Practicing yoga daily can reduce the changes in the blood vessels thereby minimizing the risk of heart-related issues due to diabetes.

Prevents the risk of diabetes neuropathy

Neuropathy means peripheral nerve damage which leads to weakness, numbness, prickling and burning sensation and pain in the feet and hands and then leads to altered functioning of the internal organs in the body. It is a complication that is related to diabetes. Practicing yoga regularly for 30 minutes improves nerve conduction by boosting metabolism. It also maintains the hormone and glucose levels in the body improving overall nerve health.

Boosts strength and balance

The various poses of yoga are helpful to improve strength, maintain balance and improve the flexibility of the body. Improved body strength and proper balance help in the reduction of fat in the liver. Practicing yoga works wonders for people with obesity and types 2 diabetes by improving the glucose levels in the body.

Therapeutic Role of Yoga in Diabetes

Diabetes is caused when the pancreas stops generating an adequate amount of insulin or is not able to make use of it properly. Insulin is a hormone that is used to convert sugar from food to energy. As the body fails to do it effectively, most people face the issue of diabetes. It is important to understand why the body fails to use insulin properly. There are some factors which are responsible for that and they increase the risk of diabetes up to 3 times –

  • Unhealthy diet patterns
  • Lack of physical activities
  • Psychological stress

These factors also increase the risk of other health issues like coronary heart disease and the severity of diabetes which can pose a threat to life. Therefore, it is essential to ponder on these factors and consider the necessary changes and adopt a healthy lifestyle. To manage the health of those with diabetes efficiently it is crucial to have a balance of medicines, a diabetic diet plan and medicines. Yoga asanas for diabetes are the best therapy for diabetes as it improves the kinetics of insulin by reducing fasting insulin levels and shifting the peak insulin level to the left. It also normalizes the insulin and glucose ratio.

Yoga is a system of exercise that involves controlling the breath and helps relax the mind and body. It controls stress and emotions in the body and enables the right balance in it giving a perfect shape.

Yoga for diabetes is one of the best ways to include it in your lifestyle to maintain your sugar levels. It keeps you stress-free, protects against cardiac issues, is preventive against diabetic neuropathy and boosts strength and aids overall health.

Book a Free Session

Yoga Poses and Its Benefits

Many doctors also recommend this practice in learning how to cure diabetes by yoga. T1D, however, cannot be cured with the practice of yoga, the symptoms can largely be controlled. It is one of the most commonly practiced, cost-effective methods of alleviating the symptoms of diabetes. Apart from the asanas stimulating the pancreas directly, they are also highly efficient in significantly reducing the stress levels in the body. This automatically leads to a lowering in the overall blood sugar levels and other complications that could arise. The relaxation responses that are produced during the various asanas of yoga reduce the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the blood. Cortisol directly affects blood pressure and blood sugar. These are the several benefits when you learn how to control diabetes by yoga.

Here are some yoga asanas for diabetes with pictures:

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. 

  • Lay down on the floor with a mat.
  • 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.
  • Relax the muscles of your body and stretch your arms out on the side with palms facing upwards.
  • Remain in the position for 5-10 minutes and slowly release by bringing your legs down.
legs up the wall pose

2. Mountain Pose (Samasthiti)

It helps with concentration and improves posture overall.

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

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. 

  • While being on your hands and knees, place your hands in front of your shoulders. 
  • Extend your palms, lay them flat on the ground, and push yourself back to have your toes touch the ground.
  • Slowly push back as much as you can to try to touch your heels to the ground too, with your palms as they were. 
  • Breathe 10 times and release 
Downward pose
  • Lie down flat on your stomach with your forearms perpendicular to the floor
  • Apply pressure on your palms as you lift your body upwards and come on top of your feet
  • Bend your elbows slightly and maintain firmness in the gluteal area and shoulders. 
  • 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. 

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

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. 

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

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. 

  • Flat on your back with your knees towards your chest and palms facing down
  • 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.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Supine spinal twist

7. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

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

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

8. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

Getting Started With Yoga for Diabetes

Along with being a health-related practice, yoga is also a common form of exercise. The benefits of yoga are plenty as a proper practice teaches people ways to control their breathing and pay attention to their breaths, this is a very popular method to reduce stress and the symptoms of anxiety. Along with learning how to control diabetes with yoga, one can also learn to control their stress levels, thus eventually leading to lower blood glucose levels. Engaging in yoga daily for 45-50 minutes can help see maximum benefits. If you are a beginner, start slow and do not test your body’s limits immediately. Take the help of your instructor as you gain flexibility in the muscles.

Bottomline

These poses can help you learn how yoga can help in preventing diabetes with ease. If you are already diagnosed with this disease, you can learn the art and discipline of yoga to be able to alleviate the symptoms to a great extent. You can start slowly with the help of a trainer even 2-3 days a week and then increase based on your body’s needs. Also know about fasting blood sugar level.

FAQs

Can sugar be controlled by yoga? 

Yes, yoga is known to be one of the best ways to control the symptoms of diabetes. Several asanas are known to provide benefits in many layers – yoga can relieve stress and can help to calm the body down, it can also help to stimulate the pancreas to improve the flow of insulin and better insulin sensitivity, and yoga can also help reduce body fat.

Will Surya namaskar reduce diabetes? 

Surya Namaskar is advised for people with diabetes as it can help improve blood circulation and management of insulin in the body. Performing this asana for 20 minutes can help with weight loss and can lower blood sugar levels. It is also known to improve insulin sensitivity. 

Can deep breathing lower blood sugar?

Breathing exercises promote relaxation and provide the body with freshly oxygenated blood. It can reduce stress levels significantly. It is observed that the fasting blood sugars and post-meal sugars are lowered after the practice of deep breathing exercises. The best results are seen when one actively engages in deep breathing exercises and yoga regularly.

Does yoga help in balancing blood sugar levels permanently?

Yes, yoga can help in balancing blood glucose levels permanently. Certain poses in yoga are known to lower sugar levels and help in diabetes management. Practicing yoga regularly for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour can greatly impact maintaining sugar levels and reduces the risk of other complications related to diabetes.

What is the best pose for yoga for diabetes?

Mandukasana which is also called the frog pose is the best yoga pose for people with diabetes. It helps stretch the pancreas which boosts the release of insulin. Apart from this, it is helpful for better digestion and improves the function of other glands in the body. Suryanamaskar also helps in lowering blood glucose levels.

How long do I need to practice yoga to manage my diabetes?

To manage diabetes effectively, practice yoga for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour daily. However, there are no specific guidelines as to how long you have to practice yoga. Regularly practicing yoga is beneficial to overall health physically and mentally. You can practice yoga for life as long as there is no loss in doing so.

References

  • https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/yoga-diabetes-poses

Disclaimer

This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.