Yoga for Diabetes: Yoga Asanas to control Diabetes


Diabetes, a lifestyle disease which is self-created by us is getting an alarming rise over the years with more than 65 million people from India are suffering from this disease. According to World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 3.4 million deaths are caused due to high blood sugar or diabetes. Though it cannot be cured completely medical experts feel that timely detection, certain lifestyle(dietary) changes and regular exercise can help a patient to lead a normal life.

Diabetes has been classified mainly as two types. To put it simply, it is a medical condition that is caused due to insufficient production and secretion of insulin from the pancreas in the case of Type-I diabetes and defective response of insulin in case of Type-2 diabetes. Under normal body circumstances, blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin lowers the blood glucose level. When the blood glucose elevates (for example, after eating food), insulin is released from the pancreas to normalise the glucose level. In patients with diabetes, the absence or insufficient production of insulin causes hyperglycemia.1500X150_1._V508412086_.jpg

A number of studies have revealed that yoga can reduce those contributing factors and help patients lead a normal life. The best beginning yoga for diabetes will include asanas and breathing exercises that are designed specifically by our yogis to target and stimulate the pancreas. By improving blood flow to the pancreas, yoga postures for diabetes rejuvenate the organ’s cells and improve its ability to produce insulin for the body. Specific yogic breathing exercises or pranayamas can also help with blood-oxygen levels and pancreas stimulation as described below.

So, let’s start the practice with some useful pranayamas and then top 7 yoga postures to control diabetes.

  1. Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows Breath)

This is an excellent breathing practice since we get the maximum amount of oxygen due to full inhalation and exhalation process during the practice. It relieves stress, depression; improves our blood circulation and keep us away for heart-related diseases. This can be done in a slow, medium or fast way as per our convenience.

Note: Practitioners suffering from lung diseases, high blood pressure and heart problems should perform this practice slowly.

  • Sit comfortably on your mat. Take few deep breaths through both nostrils and fill the lungs with air and then exhale. You can hear a hissing sound while exhaling.
  • Inhale deeply and exhale completely. Exhale is an excellent way to remove toxins from your body.
  • Repeat this procedure for 3-5 times.
  1. Kapalbhati Pranayama (Skull Shining Breathing)

It has a cleansing effect on the lungs, balances and strengthens the nervous system and tones the digestive organs. An excellent method to lose weight if you will practice this regularly. It improves the function of the lungs, kidney, and other respiratory systems.

Note: Practitioners suffering from high blood pressure and heart problems should perform this practice slowly. Women should avoid this practice during pregnancy and period.

  • First sit on the Padmasana or Sukhasana (simple sitting pose), close your eyes and keep your spines straight.
  • Now take a deep inhale through both of your nostrils until your lungs get full of air.
  • Now exhale through both of your nostrils forcefully so that your stomach will go deep inside. As you exhale you will feel some pressure in your stomach.
  • During the process of exhaling, you will feel a hissing sound, at this moment try to think that all toxins and disorders from your body are coming out of your nose.
  • Repeat this process for 5 minutes.
  1. Anulom-Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

This pose helps to cure diabetes, blood pressure and improves the function of lungs. The oxygen supply throughout the body can be greatly enhanced.Pranayama-Makes-You-Younger.jpg

  • First sit on the Padmasana or Sukhasana (simple sitting pose), close your eyes and keep your spines straight.
  • Keep your left hand in Chin Mudra (as shown) and rest on your right knee.
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb in Vishnu mudra (as shown). Inhale slowly through your left nostril, inhale as much oxygen as you can so that your lungs get full of air.
  • Remove your thumb from right nostril and exhale from the right while closing your left nostril.
  • Now, inhale through your right nostril and close your right nostril and exhale from left nostril.
  • Repeat this procedure as long as you feel comfortable. Remember it’s your body and you must not force it.

In addition to the above three pranayamas or breathing exercises, yoga postures have also been shown to encourage proper functioning of the endocrine glands through relaxing the sympathetic nervous system. As you progress with yoga postures for diabetes, make sure to monitor your glucose levels under the supervision of your doctor.1500x150_Books-Content-Grid-Stripe

When beginning yoga for diabetes, it is important to start with simple asanas. Avoid practising advanced postures. When beginning yoga, start with holding each posture for about 5-10 seconds, or as long as you feel comfortable. As you progress, gradually increase the duration of each pose until you can comfortably hold asanas for up to one minute each.

While holding yoga postures for diabetes, make sure to maintain focus on the breath. This will help build mind-body awareness and relax the nervous system to allow the release of tension and stress.

  1. Sitting half spinal Twist (Ardhamatsyendrasana)

This pose stretches shoulders, hips, and back. It also helps to calm the nervous system and tones abdomen.HalfSpinalTwist.jpg

  • Sit up with your legs stretched out straight in front of you, keeping your feet together and your spine erect.
  • Bend your left leg and place the heel of your left foot beside your right hip.
  • Now, Take the right leg over your left knee and place your left hand on your right knee and your right hand behind you.
  • Twist at the waist, shoulders and neck in this sequence to the right and look over the right shoulder. Hold this pose for few seconds.
  • Then slowly come back to the original position. Repeat on the other side.
  1. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

It Strengthens the whole back body and abdominal muscles, opens up the chest, neck and shoulders.  Those who suffer from excessive problems of spinal cord and disc should not perform this pose. alexandria-crow-in-bow-pose.jpg

  • Lie on your stomach with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by the side of your body.
  • Fold your knees, take your hands backwards and hold your ankles.
  • Inhale and lift your chest off the ground and pull your legs up and back.
  • Look forward and stay there while paying attention to your breath. Now, your body looks like a curve.
  • Continue to take long deep breaths as you relax in this pose. Bend as far as your body permits and don’t force your body unnecessary.
  • After few seconds, as you exhale, gently bring your legs and chest to the ground. Release the ankles and relax.
  1. Shoulderstand pose (Sarvangasana)

This pose helps in improving blood circulation and flow of oxygen to upper body and brain. It is helpful in digestion and improving metabolism.INTERMEDIATE-Pose-Shoulderstand.jpg

  • Lie on the yoga mat with your legs extending outwards.
  • Now slowly raise your legs either by first folding them at the knees or by lifting them straight.
  • Place your palms along your back and hips to support it, and raise your body while pointing your toes towards the ceiling.
  • Your body weight should be on your shoulders. Make sure you breathe slowly and lock your chin into your chest.
  • Your elbows should be touching the floor and your back should be supported. Hold this pose for as long as you are comfortable.
  • Then slowly lower your body and come back to the lying position.
  1. Plow pose(Halasana)

It Stimulates the thyroid gland and strengthens the immune system. Ladies should avoid practising this pose during pregnancy and first two days of their menstrual cycle.DSC_0169.JPG

  • After the shoulder-stand pose, continue to breathe normally and supporting your hips and back with your hands, lift them off the ground.
  • Allow your legs to sweep in an 180-degree angle over your head till your toes touch the floor. Your back should be perpendicular to the floor. You may not be able to perform this pose perfectly in the starting sessions, but slowly you will regain the flexibility with regular practice.
  • Hold this pose and let your body relax with each steady breath.
  • After few seconds of resting in this pose, you may gently bring your legs down on exhalation.
  1. Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)

This pose induces the endocrine glands and maintains the metabolism normally. It stimulates the process of the liver, spleen and kidneys.DSC_0173.JPG

  • Lie down on the yoga mat looking upwardly.
  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the ground close to your body. Make sure that your sole of the feet touches the floor.
  • Bring both of your hands and keep it beneath the shoulders like the fingers see the legs.
  • Inhale deeply and press your palms firmly into the floor. Then slowly raise your hip, shoulder and the head from the floor.
  • Keep your neck loosely and bend your back as much as possible.
  • The spine should be rolled up so that it may seem to resemble a wheel.
  • Straighten out your arms and legs as much as possible so that the hips and chest may be pushed up.
  • Hold this position as long as you can and then slowly come back to the ground and relax.
  1. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimotanasana)

This pose helps the blood to flow to the face. Moreover, it helps the stomach function better and relaxes the back and arms.DSC_0081.JPG

  • Sit with your legs stretched out on the floor. Then hold the big toe of your feet with your index finger and thumb.
  • Now, exhale and slowly bend forward and try to touch your forehead to your knees.
  • The key is that your elbows should touch the floor. Do not breathe in.
  • Stay in this position for few seconds and inhale as you rise back to the sitting position.

Don’t force your body, be easy on yourself. You might not be able to touch your knees with your forehead in the beginning of your practice. But, slowly and steadily you will regain the flexibility with your regular practice.

If at any point you feel tired during your yoga practice for diabetes, lie down in Shavasana or child pose as mentioned below.

  1. Childs Pose (Balasana)

This posture is helpful to rest and relax the muscles of your body. It restores vitality physically, mentally and emotionally by reducing stress and anxiety.DSC_0076.JPG

  • Practice this pose with closed eyes, listening to the sound of your breath.
  • Sit in Vajrasana pose (bend your knees and sit on your heels). Keep your hips on your heels. Lower your head on the mat and bring your hands forward by your side.
  • Press your thighs against your chest and breathe lightly. Touch your head to the ground.

Use this pose throughout your practice whenever you need a break or get tired.PC_Bunk_FITBIT_1500x300._CB519825849_

The above yoga asanas for diabetes routine is useful when supplemented by other healthy habits, including proper diet and rest. By adopting yoga for diabetes along with other lifestyle changes, those suffering from diabetic problems can get relief and enjoy a new level of health and well-being.

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