Diabetic? Go From Sweets to Sweet-“Nothings”… with Yoga
Know more about the important role of yoga and meditation practices in fighting a common condition called diabetes.
Diabetes – a word that is no longer uncommon. It is a condition can happen irrespective of age, place, or genetic history. Yet it is a condition that can be controlled with a little awareness and care. How do you detect whether you have diabetes or not? Look out for these common symptoms:
Are you undergoing unusual weight loss?
Do you need to urinate frequently?
Do you feel hungry or thirsty too often?
If the answer to these is ‘yes’, it is quite likely that you have high blood sugar, either due to low production of insulin in the body, or lack of response from the blood cells to the insulin produced. In either case, it’s always good to consult a doctor at the earliest.
Diabetes can be classified as Type 1 or type 2 or it can even be gestational – occurring during pregnancy. Whatever the type, the earlier the condition is treated, the better it is for the individual.Along with medical treatment, Yoga, meditation and good lifestyle practices can be of invaluable help in the management of diabetes, and prevention of complications.
There are three golden rules to remember if you are a diabetic:
Following the prescribed food protocol (Strictly!)
A few minutes of yoga practice every day
How yoga can help fight diabetes
Regular yoga practice can help reduce the level of sugar in the blood, lower blood pressure, keep a check on weight, and reduce the symptoms as well as slow down the rate of progress of diabetes. Most heartening is the news that it lessens the severity of further diabetic complications. Let’s see how.
- Stress is one of the major reasons for diabetes, as it is in most lifestyle diseases. It increases the secretion of glucagon hormones in the body, resulting in increased blood glucose levels. Consistent practice of yoga asanas (body postures), pranayamas (breathing exercises)and a few minutes of daily meditation can help reduce both physical as well as mental stress. This, in turn, reduces the glucagon hormones and can also help improve insulin action.
- The practice of yoga is also proven to reduce weight as well as control the tendency to gain weight, two factors particularly important to keep diabetes in check. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) and Kapal Bhati Pranayama are two of the best ways to reduce excess weight.
- High blood pressure, or hypertension can worsen Diabetes. Yoga asanas such as Corpse Pose, Bridge Pose, Child Pose, and Yoga Nidra are all helpful in controlling hypertension.
Other yoga postures that are helpful in diabetes include Vajrasana (kneeling pose), Shoulder Stand, Plow Pose, Lying-Down Body Twist, Bow Posture, Two-Legged Forward Bend, and Sitting Half-Spinal Twist.
4. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama is also good for diabetics. It helps release stress and flush out toxins from the body.
- A few minutes of regular meditation practice also acts as an excellent stress-buster for the mind and body. Interestingly, while stress is the major cause of diabetes, the condition in turn results in patients getting highly stressed about it, which further aggravates the problem. It has also been observed that most diabetics lose self-confidence and end up brooding over their condition. This is where regular meditation can help, first, in restoring their confidence levels so that they gain the strength to fight the condition and live well, and second, by reducing the craving for sweets – a common occurrence in diabetes.
Regular Exercise Also Helps:
- Diabetes is triggered when the blood cells stop responding to the insulin produced. When you follow a regular exercise regimen, your body starts responding to insulin, helping in reducing blood glucose, and also, in some cases, the dosage of medication required.
- Exercise helps improve blood circulation in the system, particularly in the arms and legs, where diabetic patients mostly complain of problems.
- It is an excellent way to fight mental and physical stress which in turn helps keep glucose levels down.
- Regular exercise can be very beneficial to older patients with diabetes as, in their case, the condition is partly caused by lack of physical activity. A few minutes of brisk walking and joint movements, coupled with some gentle yoga postures – Triangle Pose, Standing Spinal Twist, and Butterfly Pose – followed by relaxation in Yoga Nidra can help.