Yoga for diabetics

Illustration for article titled Yoga for diabetics

Top universities across the globe have time and again confirmed and emphasized through their various studies what Ayurveda has been preaching all along – the immense positive health benefits of yoga. Adding to this list, the scientific reviews of 25 global trials have shown that yoga can be helpful in prevention and management of Type2 diabetes mellitus in adults.


The systematic reviews of trials conducted on Indian and American nationals show that yoga can indeed help control blood sugar levels, manage body weight, improve lipid profile, all of these being vital in prevention of type 2diabetes. The reviews have been published in Journal of Diabetes Research.

The findings indicate that yogic practices may promote considerable improvements in various indices of importance in Type 2 diabetes management, including glycemic control, body composition and lipid levels.


In fact, analysis of data from these trials also suggests that yoga may lower oxidative stress and blood pressure, improve pulmonary and autonomic function, sleep, mood, and quality of life.

All this is because yoga stimulates the internal organs, which in-turn improves metabolic activities. Therefore, yoga is a highly beneficial exercise for those suffering from diabetes.


An earlier study, published in the journal ‘Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine’ last year, analysed yoga’s influence on diabetes and its management, and revealed that practicing yoga regularly can lead to improvement in fasting glucose levels and lower cholesterol levels.

In fact, Marshal Govindan and Dr. Emilia RipollBunn who conducted the research say that direct stimulated of pancreas through certain yoga postures rejuvenates its capacity to produce insulin.


According to Yoga Practitioner, Sabir Shaikh, few asanas help in balancing the functioning of endocrine system, as it massages and tones the abdominal organs like liver and pancreas, stimulate the nervous and circulatory system and helps in controlling diabetes.

Yoga Asanas also keeps the body, breath and mind in harmony, contributing to overall health of the individual. Asanas help in maintaining optimal secretions of the endocrinal glands that helps in effective use of insulin in the body, says Dr. Pradeep Gadge, Diabetologist.


Practice of certain asanas like Ardha Matsyendrasana (half-twist pose), Matsyendrasana (half-spinal twist), Dhanurasana (bow pose), Vakrasana (twisted pose), Halasana (plough pose, Bakasana (standing crane) squeezes and compresses abdomen, and helps stimulate pancreatic secretions, thereby pushing more insulin into the system. This rejuvenates the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas in diabetics. Regular practice of these postures without much exertion, together with meditation and breathing techniques help most patients in controlling triggers that lead to diabetes. The balancing posture in Bakasana improves interaction between pituitary gland and pancreas.

Apart from Asanas, breathing exercises like Anulom Vilom and Kapalbathi are extremely beneficial. While Anulom Vilom has been found useful in deadiabetes, alternate nostril breathing has calming effects on the nervous system, facilitating homeostasis. This manages stress levels, thereby helping in diabetes treatment. Pranayam improves calmness of mind, and balances interaction between the pituitary gland and the pancreas.


Kapalabhati, together with Nauli Kriya (pressure manipulations and isolation of abdominal-recti muscles) helps control blood sugar. They help balance Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR), which in-turn helps stabilize sugar levels.

On completion of the practice, relax in Shavasana. This, together with a high fibre yogic diet is suggested for those planning to shed excess weight and stabilize sugar levels, said.


Few more key yoga postures that help in diabetes management are: Vrikshasana (tree pose), Dhanurasana (bow pose), Sethubandhasana (Bridge pose), and Balasana (Child’s pose).

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