Several forms of diabetes affect 8.8% of the world’s population according to a 2017 study. That is 616 million people who suffer from the disease, which makes it a global epidemic as numbers continue to rise. Yoga can be the natural solution to remedy this problem.
The most common form, noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or type 2 diabetes, affects 95% of people with the disease. This form develops in adult-hood rather than passed on genetically, so it is the most preventable and symptoms are more treatable. Maintaining a healthy diet, lifestyle and weight at an early age will prevent the disease, but once developed, there technically is no cure. Reversing the side effects can be the only way to increase one’s health and limit long-term medical problems.
Benefits of yoga for diabetes relief
The benefits of yoga have been known to help people go into diabetic remission, meaning their blood glucose lowers to a steady level for at least a year. Methods like relaxation, breathing techniques, and certain asanas promote stress relief, improve circulation, and even regulate hormones that cause either too much or too little insulin created by the pancreas.
Proven to be effective
A study initiated by Dr. Robin Monro from the Yoga Biomedical Trust, and an Indian yoga research foundation hoped to prove that yoga can be intertwined and sometimes substituted for medical procedures and treatment. They found that 30 minutes of daily yoga over the course of a month reduced levels of glucose in the blood for many diabetic patients.
Yoga poses for diabetes
- Bow pose (Dhanurasana)- This asana strengthens the abdominal area including organs like the pancreas and kidneys. It increases circulation to these regions which regulates the correct amount of insulin sent to the blood cells.
- Spinal Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)- Massages the pancreas and activates the glucose in the blood to expel energy properly.
- Bridge Pose (Setu bandhasana)- Promotes relaxation and improves digestion which eases pressure on the entire body.
- Headstand pose (Sirsasana)- Increases blood flow to the brain, specifically the pituitary gland that regulates hormones in the body. Blood flow to the gland communicates to the pancreas which disperses the correct amount of insulin in the blood. (This can be modified by placing the knees on the elbows.)
- Pranayama Exercises- Any breathing exercise will add oxygen in the blood, lower blood pressure, and decrease stress levels. Stress is the number one cause of illness in the body. Reducing stress will increase your body’s ability to heal itself and improve energy levels.
Remember that vigorous exercise is not the goal in your yoga practice, rather it is used to reduce stress and increase circulation, which improves the holistic functions of your organs. Lingering tension causes your blood pressure and sugar production to rise, so controlling these issues will be the biggest component in relieving the symptoms of diabetes. Once you have your mind and stress under control, you can then increase your activity and regulate your diet to continue the path to a healthier lifestyle.