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Yoga has been known to be a helpful mind and body relaxation technique. Additionally, regular practice of yoga can have several other benefits to the body. These include; improved circulation, enhanced function of endocrine organs, relief from chronic illness, and overall feeling of energy. Now, studies are increasingly showing a link between yoga and diabetes. Research shows that daily yoga practice can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the health risks associated with low insulin production. In this post, we share several yoga asanas for diabetes to help you stop worrying about this medical problem and regain control of your life.

Diabetes: Explained

Diabetes is a metabolic body disorder where the body fails to produce a sufficient amount of insulin. Our bodies use insulin to convert sugar in the food we eat into glucose. In turn, the body uses glucose to supply energy to all of its muscles.

When you have diabetes, your insulin levels are too low, meaning the body is unable to sufficiently convert the sugars into glucose. This leads to elevated blood sugar levels.

There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes is related to an immune disorder where the insulin-producing cells are attacked and destroyed by the body. It can be genetic or caused by viruses.
  • Type 2 diabetes is caused by lifestyle factors, which can lead to insulin resistance. These factors include physical inactivity, obesity, and irregular distribution of fat in the body.

How Are Yoga Poses Beneficial for Diabetics

  • Lowers stress – stress has been found to play a role in the onset of diabetes. By controlling the stress levels, you can better manage diabetes.
  • Boosts strength and balance – yoga poses help you to access parts of your body that you never have. As a result, you gain better strength, flexibility, and balance. With increased strength, you can also reduce liver fat and improve blood glucose levels.
  • Yoga is good for your heart – several studies have suggested a correlation between yoga practices and a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure.

Yoga Asanas for Diabetes

Dhanurasana Yoga

Also called the “Bow Pose”, Dhanurasana Yoga strengthens your abdominal muscles, helping the liver and pancreas to function better. In turn, this lowers your blood sugar levels, relieves constipation and other respiratory ailments.

Dhanurasana Yoga is also effective in alleviating menstrual discomfort, stimulating the reproductive organs, and toning the legs and arm muscles.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lie on your stomach with your feet apart.
  2. Rest your arms alongside your body with the palms facing up.
  3. Bend your knees, take your hands backward and hold your ankles.
  4. Lift up your head, chest, and knees, and take a deep breath while gazing forward.
  5. Hold this pose for around 30 seconds with a smile on your face. Your body should be curved and as taut as a bow.
  6. Exhale and release the pose.
  7. Bring your hands forward and form a pillow for your forehead.
  8. Repeat this pose two or three times.

When bending backward, only go as far as your body can permit. Take care not to overdo it.

Supine Spinal Twist

This pose twists your body and helps to stimulate your abdominal organs. In turn, this may help lower blood sugar levels. The pose may also help reduce pain and stiffness in your back, spine, and hips.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lay flat on your back and slowly bring your knees to your chest.
  2. Extend your arms outward, away from your body, with the palms facing down.
  3. Now, slowly move both your knees to the left side, keeping them together and at hip level. You can use your left hand to apply gentle pressure on your knees.
  4. Hold this pose for around 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Child’s Pose

This century-old yoga pose effectively works to relieve back and neck pain, fatigue, and stress. It’s also a relaxation technique, which may help promote insulin production.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Get on all fours, making sure your knees are hip-width apart.
  2. Stretch your arms slightly past your head and sink back, bringing your buttocks to touch your heels. You can also rest your arms alongside your body with the palms facing up.
  3. Still in this position, lean forward so that your forehead rests on the floor.
  4. Stay in this position for about five minutes and then release.

Lying Down Body Twist

Also known as “Folded leg lumbar stretch”, this pose massages the internal organs and may help improve digestion. It can also help to lower blood sugar levels.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lay flat on your back, with your arms extended sideways and the palms facing down.
  2. Bring your left knee up and bend it over your right side. Bring your knee to hip level.
  3. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Leg Up the Wall

Legs up the wall is a nice pose that helps stimulate your internal organs and pancreas. It’s effective in combating stress, lowering blood sugar levels, and controlling blood pressure. Yoga experts recommend this pose for relaxing since it boosts blood circulation.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Fold a towel or blanket and sit on it.
  2. Sit with your left or right side against the wall and swing your legs up along the wall. Lay flat on your back and move close to the wall so that your body forms a 90-degree angle.
  3. Your buttocks should be as close to the wall as possible. 
  4. Relax all muscles in your body, including the neck, chin, and throat.
  5. Stretch your arms out to the side and keep your palms facing up.
  6. Hold this pose for five to 15 minutes, depending on how you feel.
  7. Release and slowly slide your legs down to the side into a sitting position.

Seated Forward Bend

This pose is therapeutic and may help relieve fatigue, headache, and anxiety. It’s also effective in lowering blood pressure and promoting weight loss.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sit down with your legs extended straight in front of you. You can place a prop under your knees to provide support.
  2. Act like you’re pressing the soles of your feet against a wall so that your toes are drawn back.
  3. Inhale as you bend forward.
  4. Touch your toes and move your hands down your feet as far as your body permits.
  5. Your body should fold into your legs, with your chin tucked into your chest.
  6. Hold this pose for at least 60 seconds and release.

Do These Yoga Poses Really Work?

Several studies have found proof that practicing yoga can significantly help you to manage type 2 diabetes. The studies showed that regular practice can have positive effects on blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and your overall wellbeing.

The good thing is that you can practice yoga right at home with the help of online classes, books, YouTube videos, and articles.

All images by Shutterstock

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