You have likely observed people walking out of classes and gyms with their yoga mats tucked in their arms, talking about its benefits. But did you know that yoga, this ancient practice that combines physical postures, breath control, and meditation, can actually help you with various chronic health conditions ? One such chronic condition is diabetes. Many people struggle with managing diabetes. Of these, those who incorporate yoga into their diabetes management plan readily find out that it leads to a better quality of life. Since the first step in using yoga for management of diabetes is to understand its benefits and find a class, to help you, we have attempted to address these two topics in this article.
What are the Benefits of Yoga for Diabetes?
Popular culture today has tapped into the physical and psychological benefits of yoga. But researchers have known and have been talking about its positive effects for a while now. It can improve health, increase muscle strength, body flexibility, and can be extremely beneficial for your heart and lungs . It can be equally beneficial for your mind as it helps in recovering from mental health issues like stress, anxiety, or depression .
In chronic conditions like diabetes, yoga works in reducing free fatty acids, insulin resistance, and body fat percentage. This, along with the positive effect of yoga on insulin receptors and body mass, leads to the management of diabetes .
Researchers have been able to capture these positive impacts in numerous studies. For instance, Kosuri and Sridhar found reduced BMI, anxiety, and improved overall well-being in diabetes patients in just 40 days . And Malhotra and colleagues conducted a study where they found that those who practiced yoga had a significant decrease in their glucose levels. Not only that, but their waist-to-hip ratio also decreased, and levels of insulin changed .
Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, most people practicing yoga experience a reduction in stress, and stress is an enemy of diabetes. High stress levels and blood sugar levels are interrelated. Thus, if you are someone who experiences chronic stress, you need to lower them. And one way to do so is by engaging in yoga.
What are the Best Yoga Poses for Diabetes?
There are many videos and posts that will guide you on how to practice yoga for diabetes. But the missing link that many individuals ignore is a consistent practice. If you consistently practice yoga with a healthy diet, you will see results. In your practice, the poses which can help the most are as follows   :
- Pranayama (Breath Exercises):Focuses on breath control, promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and enhancing overall well-being.
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose):Strengthens the back, buttocks, and thighs, improves blood circulation, and stimulates the thyroid gland.
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose):Stretches the entire body, improves digestion, and stimulates the pancreas for better insulin production.
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend):Stretches the back of the body, stimulates abdominal organs, aids digestion, and promotes insulin secretion.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose):Gentle backbend that stretches the spine, stimulates abdominal organs, aids digestion, and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
- Halasana (Plow Pose):Inverted pose that improves digestion, stimulates the thyroid gland, and enhances blood circulation to vital organs.
- Vajrasana (Diamond Pose):Promotes digestion, relieves gas and bloating, and improves blood circulation to the lower abdomen.
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Fish Pose):Twisting poses that stimulate the pancreas, improves digestion, and aids in better insulin production.
- Balasana (Child’s Pose):Restorative pose that promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and calms the mind and body.
- Savasana (Corpse Pose):Deep relaxation posture that promotes overall relaxation, reduces stress, and helps integrate the benefits of the yoga practice
Additionally, you can also do Surya Namaskar . Surya Namaskar is a powerful collection of 12 poses that, on the surface, is a great cardiovascular exercise but is a routine that has multiple physical and psychological benefits .
How to Find Yoga Classes for Diabetes?
The search for a suitable yoga class can be frustrating at times. It needs research, grit, and patience. More than that it needs an openness to new things because it will require some experimentation and hit and trial on your part. However, there are some steps you can follow to speed this process up. These include:
Consulting with a Healthcare Professional
Yoga has many types. And doctors are usually the most knowledgeable in determining what program suits you the best. At times they may also recommend specialized yoga classes or instructors who have experience working with individuals with diabetes. So ask your healthcare provider about the classes which will suit you.
Searching Online Directories
This is the go-to step for most of us trying to search for a service or product. A good place to begin can be online directories or blogs that provide user feedback for services like yoga. You are also more likely to find yoga studios in your area using search engines. Most studios offer a trial class. When you book, inquire about trial classes, and once you are sure this is something you will benefit from, you can enroll in it.
Try Online Classes
Platforms like YouTube feature many individuals who offer free yoga classes online. Instructors of these videos design content to cater to specific audiences and diseases. For instance, Yoga With Adriene has free videos catering to yoga for specific needs, including one for diabetes . If you feel yoga classes can become hectic and difficult to manage, you can begin your at-home yoga practice by following these videos and learning the basics.
Join diabetes support groups.
Support groups can be an amazing source of help when you are fighting a chronic illness like diabetes. You can join online or offline groups and communities for individuals with diabetes. People there might be able to guide you and share about their yoga and diabetes journey.
Yoga is a healing practice. When you embrace yoga, you begin to experience its positive effects. It is likely that your stress will reduce, your physical fitness will increase, and your awareness about your own mind and body will increase. Eventually, with consistent practice, these things will reduce the negative effects of diabetes and make living with it easier. You will require some patience and research in your journey of finding a good yoga class, but seeking help from support groups, doing an online search, and asking your doctor are some ways that can speed up this process.
Additionally, if you are struggling with diabetes, you can explore more content or contact experts at United We Care app and website. Our team of experts is committed to providing you with the best solutions for your overall well-being.
- C. Woodyard, “Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life,” International Journal of Yoga, vol. 4, no. 2, p. 49, 2011. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.85485
- C. Singh and T. O. Reddy, “Selected Yoga Poses for Diabetes Patients A -Systematic Review,” International Journal of Movement Education and Sports Sciences, vol. VI, no. 1, 2018. Accessed: Jun. 16, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340732164_Selected_Yoga_Poses_for_Diabetes_Patients_A_-Systematic_Review
- M. Kosuri and G. R. Sridhar, “Yoga practice in diabetes improves physical and psychological outcomes,” Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, vol. 7, no. 6, pp. 515–518, 2009. doi:10.1089/met.2009.0011
- V. Malhotra, S. Singh, O. P. Tandon, and S. B. Sharma, “The beneficial effect of Yoga in diabetes,” Nepal Medical College Journal, 2005.
- E. Cronkleton, “Yoga for diabetes: 11 poses to try,” Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/yoga-for-diabetes (accessed Jun. 16, 2023).
- “Surya Namaskar – How to do sun salutation with steps,” Art Of Living (India), https://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yoga/yoga-poses/sun-salutation (accessed Jun. 16, 2023).
“Yoga for diabetes | yoga with adriene,” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmh58tykgpo (accessed Jun. 16, 2023).