Yoga is a great form of exercise and helps me to manage my diabetes by serving as a stepping stone towards adopting a healthier lifestyle. Yoga aims to improve the individual’s body and mind by focusing on the present moment and releasing all other stress and worries.
Research shows that that yoga can benefit diabetics physically by decreasing fasting blood glucose levels, lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol and reducing the need for diabetes medication, all while lowering stress hormone levels. Yoga also improves flexibility and strength while improving balance. Eastern medicine philosophy also states that certain yoga poses stimulate and massage internal organs including the pancreas that is responsible for producing insulin. One pose that helps to massage the internal organs includes the seated spinal twist:
For proper diabetes treatment, exercise plays a major role as reported by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) as it helps to increase insulin sensitive while also reducing blood sugar levels. The NEJM also included that people who have a higher risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus can greatly reduce their changes if they lose at least 10 pounds while engaging in exercise and focusing on a healthy diet.
One of the best yoga exercises that not only engages the entire body but also provides quite a workout is the Sun Salutation; it’s also great at improving the overall wellness of diabetic patients by supplying blood to different areas of the body and increasing the absorption of insulin. Take a look below for the entire Sun Salutation which includes various poses.
Besides helping to lower blood glucose and stimulate the internal organs, one thing I love about yoga is that it improves the natural contour of the body as well as overall flexibility. Each yoga pose and routine engages various points on the body to improve posture and flexibility keeping the muscles, tendons and blood vessels elastic for improved function. When combined with the relaxing rhythmic breathing and meditation, the exercises offer positive benefits to the overall body including the endocrine and digestive system. Yoga exercises allow me to relax and channel my energy into something that is positive and gives me great peace allowing me to focus on the moment and connect with my inner self, relieving stress, tension and helping to create a balance between my mind and body.
McCall T. Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing. New York: Bantam Dell; 2007.