Control Diabetes with Yoga
Yoga is one of the best way to keep your blood sugar under check.
Yoga is a holistic process that brings about overall wellness. It is important is to learn the yoga from a well-trained yoga practitioner and practice it regularly.
How does yoga control blood sugar levels?
- Regular practice of yoga brings about a turnaround in sugar levels, keeping them near normal. It helps keep your blood pressure under check too.
- When blood sugar is under control, progression of complications that arise from diabetes such as arteriosclerosis, kidney ailments, neurological changes, eye afflictions, etc., are kept at bay.
- Stress increases the secretion of glucagon, the hormone responsible for your sugar levels shooting up. Practice of yoga asanas, dhyana or meditation and pranayama or deep breathing exercises will do wonders to beat stress.
- Yoga reduces the amount of glucagon secreted and impels the action of insulin, the hormone necessary for acting on blood sugar.
- Obesity and weight gain are known causes for diabetes. Regular practice of yoga keeps your weight under check and helps prevent fat accumulation in your body.
- Meditation also helps soothe the mind, boosting your confidence levels and controlling your craving for sweets, which is common to many diabetics.
Yoga for blood sugar control
Pranayama (deep-breathing), Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation), Dhyana (Meditation) and Shavaasana (corpse pose) are the most important yoga asanas. They help in stress management, weight control, enhancing your mental and physical strength.
Deep-breathing enriches oxygen in your blood and improves circulation.
The right steps for pranayama
Sit cross-legged on a yoga mat, if possible in padmasana (lotus pose).
Keep your back straight, chin pointing to the floor, hands on your knees with your palms facing up and eyes closed.
Inhale deeply pushing your abdomen forward taking in as much air as possible. Hold your breath for five counts. Exhale slowly, pushing your abdomen (core) inside and then upwards. Repeat ten times. There are several pranayamas but these are powerful techniques that need to be learnt from an experienced yoga teacher.
Surya Namaskar or sun salutation is almost a complete set of aasanas comprising twelve yogic postures for body, breath and mind synergy. It is performed during sunrise on an empty stomach. Done at a fast pace, it is a good cardiovascular workout. Done slowly, the postures help tone muscles and relax the body and mind. Regular practice of Surya Namaskar improves the function of important organs like the heart, liver, intestine, stomach, chest, throat and legs. Blood gets purified and circulation improves.
Note of caution:
- Get trained by a professional yoga practitioner to perform these postures.
- Do not overstretch.
- Ideally 12 rounds of Surya Namaskar are done, with one set consisting of two rounds, six with the right leg and six with the left.
- Beginners can start with two to four rounds and increase the number of rounds as their fitness levels improve.
- For holistic fitness, sun salutation alone is not sufficient. Other yogic postures should be done.
Other important yoga asanas for diabetics
Setubandhanasana, Balasana, Vajrasana, Sarvangasana, Halasana, Dhanurasana, Chakrasana, Paschimottanasana, Ardha matsyendrasana