Hatha Yoga for Type 2 Diabetes - Yoga Practice Blog

Hatha Yoga for Type 2 Diabetes

Hatha Yoga for type 2 diabetesBy Bhavan Kumar

Does Hatha Yoga for type 2 diabetes make sense? Yes, and let’s go deep on this subject. Yoga teacher training programs should help instructors be prepared for a variety of health problems. The illusion that everyone who takes classes will be in perfect health is a myth. According to some statistics, there are hundreds of millions of people, worldwide, who suffer from diabetes, and other related health problems. In reality, with less physical activity, these figures are expected to climb in the next 10 to 20 years.


Doctor Consultation

If students are considering Hatha yoga for type 2 diabetes, it’s important for them to consult their doctors first. While Hatha yoga can be safe and effective for many people, we are not usually medical doctors and we don’t know their exact medical history. Yes, you might lose some students by creating an extra step before class. However, as Yoga teachers, we want to deliver a class that’s appropriate for those with diabetes. Above all, a student’s doctor determines if yoga is a good option. Additionally, doctors may send future referrals to you. In short, a doctor’s approval in writing is good for the student and could be the beginning of a professional relationship for you and your school.


Holistic Perspective

However, the Hatha yoga techniques provide a holistic perspective for type 2 diabetes. In addition to organ dysfunction, and psychological, emotional, and mental stress; inactivity promotes the occurrence of the disease. Therefore, relaxation exercises (asanas, guided relaxation, and pranayama), Hatha Yoga Kriya (cleansing techniques), and meditation not only influence insulin-producing cells positively but keep the disease-causing factors under control, too.


Exercise for Internal Balance

Yoga exercises stimulate the attitude toward health and life itself – enormously. The development of physical and mental relaxation creates stability, strength, flexibility, and discipline. These factors lead to the higher goals of Hatha yoga, namely the emotional, mental, and spiritual health of the human body. At the same time, a yogic exercise program creates a balance between the hormonal glands. As a result of this balance, overall health is improved. Research has shown that Hatha Yoga decreases the blood sugar level and that it subsequently remains constant.


Positive Effects

The healing process, for example, with a diabetic foot problem, is immensely improved, as well. Yoga sessions are also proven to lower stress hormone levels because insulin production is supported. Due to the broad spectrum of diabetes exercise, the person is brought into harmony with his or her entire being. The Yoga training system also has a positive effect on all five Koshas. The Koshas are the sheaths that surround the core of every human body and its health; thus, they define well-being.


The Five Koshas are Listed Below

Anna Maya Kosha – “sheath of matter” – physical body

Pranayama Kosha – “sheath of the body of prana (energy)”

Manomaya Kosha – “sheath of the mind”

Vigyanamaya Kosha – “sheath of ego and knowledge”

Anandamaya Kosha – “sheath of bliss and enjoyment”


Preventing Complications

Regular Hatha Yoga exercise helps to avoid complications in diabetes. With optimal insulin production, the pancreas forces the cells to capture and process glucose properly. Yoga postures lower blood fats (triglycerides and cholesterol) and prevent the hardening of the arteries; thus, the risk of heart disease decreases. Ultimately, we want early detection of any nerve damage (neuropathy) and its immediate treatment.


About Yogic Practices

Regular practice of Hatha Yoga breathing exercises (pranayama) can also improve mood and vitality. However, it is essential to keep a controlled diet in mind and to follow the doctor’s instructions. The learned Yogic exercises need only take about half an hour for home sessions and are not only nurturing but also fun.


Diabetic Lifestyle Plan

For the purpose of holistic health, Hatha yoga can be an effective way to manage type 2 diabetes. Therefore, the diabetic lifestyle plan includes making healthy food choices, getting regular exercise, and managing stress. Of course, Hatha yoga can help with all of these things. At the same time, physical postures and breathing exercises can help to improve blood sugar control. Similarly, relaxation techniques can help to reduce stress. Additionally, mindful eating practices can help to make healthier food choices.


Add a Walking Routine

In addition to the benefits of hatha yoga, adding a walking routine can help to improve blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes. Albeit, walking can help to increase insulin sensitivity, which helps the body to better use insulin. Then again, walking also helps to lower blood sugar levels by burning up glucose that would otherwise be stored in the liver. Moreover, adding a walking routine to your daily routine is an easy way to improve your health and well-being.


What Students Should Know

Of course, diabetic students should learn as much as possible about their health. Yet, one of the most important things to focus on is monitoring sugar levels. When practicing yoga, be sure to monitor your sugar levels before and after class. For example, if you have uncontrolled diabetes, it’s best to avoid strenuous activity, unless you are wearing a blood sugar monitor. However, milder forms of yoga can still be beneficial.


Understanding Blood Sugar

By paying attention to your body and monitoring your sugar levels, you can also help keep your diabetes under control. During the course of the day, you should also be aware of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), because readings below 70 mg/dl are not advised. While keeping our sugar levels under control is a goal, nobody can afford to be too low or high. Of course, you should discuss this subject with your doctor.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Related Studies

Subramaniyan TG, Subramaniyan N, Chidambaram M. Brisk walking and yoga as adjuvant therapy in management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Int J Student Res. 2012; 2:43–46.

Cui J, Yan JH, Yan LM, Pan L, Le JJ, Guo YZ. Effects of yoga in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis. J Diabetes Investig. 2017; 8:201–209.

Amita S, Prabhakar S, Manoj I, Harminder S, Pavan T. Effect of yoga-nidra on blood glucose level in diabetic patients. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2009; 53:97–101. PMID: 19810584.

Innes KE, Vincent HK. The influence of yoga-based programs on risk profiles in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2007; 4:469–486. PMID: 18227915.

Sreedevi A, Gopalakrishnan UA, Karimassery Ramaiyer S, Kamalamma L. A randomized controlled trial of the effect of yoga and peer support on glycemic outcomes in women with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a feasibility study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017; 17:100. PMID: 28173786.

6 thoughts on “Hatha Yoga for Type 2 Diabetes”

  1. Hatha Yoga decreases the blood sugar level and Yoga sessions are also proven to lower the stress hormone levels because insulin production is supported. Thank you very much for sharing this info.

  2. The Hatha yoga techniques provide a holistic perspective for type 2 diabetes and it keep the disease causing factors under control, too. Thanks for posting this good article.

  3. Hello Bhavan,

    Thank you for this article about Hatha Yoga for Type 2 Diabetes. I have diabetes and I am glad you share this with me. I am going to Try to do Hatha Yoga.


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