Chair Yoga for Diabetes - Yoga Practice Blog

Chair Yoga for Diabetes

chair yoga for diabetesBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Do Chair Yoga for diabetes classes work? Responsibly addressing diabetes requires a daily routine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is quickly reaching epidemic levels. Some schools of thought estimate 1 out of 3 Americans will have the disease at some time in their lives, which will shorten their life spans by 10 to 15 years. Treatment for diabetes consists of three major components: diet, exercise, and medication.


Overall Strategy

These days, there are many choices regarding medication that should be addressed during a consultation with a physician or specialist. Proper diet and exercise are crucial for prevention and management, but chronic complications can inhibit physical activity. Exercise helps, but it is one-third of a healthy solution for adapting to a diabetic lifestyle.

Yoga as an Option

Studies have confirmed the effectiveness of Yoga in the fight against diabetes, but not everyone can participate in traditional classes. Chair Yoga, a gentle practice of using chairs for sitting or support, is gaining popularity with disabled and elderly participants – even those in wheelchairs. Offered in studios, senior centers, gated communities, and other recreation centers, this alternative provides the benefits of Yoga without the risky physical challenges.


Using Chairs

In Chair Yoga for diabetes classes, emphasis is placed on poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. Sometimes advanced diabetics have numbness or fatigue that affects balance or makes standing exercises risky. Therefore, Chair Yoga is a safe way to maintain health, practice poses, and prevent injuries.


Participants not only experience a state of well-being and improved mood, but they also target specific problems caused by the illness. While these mechanisms are still not completely understood, researchers have speculated that Yoga helps diabetics in the following ways.


Yoga for Diabetes Benefits

1. Excess weight complicates diabetes, and Yoga helps to keep the pounds in check. However, diet, walking, exercise, and getting healthy sleep are factors in managing body weight.

2. By lowering stress, Yoga reduces cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon levels in the body, stabilizing insulin production.

3. Muscle relaxation improves circulation – a problem for many diabetics – and enables the muscles to increase their uptake of insulin, reducing blood sugar levels.

4. Poor circulation is common in diabetes, and Yoga pumps fresh oxygen into the bloodstream, oxygenating the blood flow and cleansing the lymphatic system.

5. Yoga postures that stretch or massage the pancreas may enable it to do its job more effectively.

6. Sometimes, Yoga lowers blood pressure and cholesterol – two factors that make treating diabetes more difficult.


User-Friendly Atmosphere

Although diabetes varies in severity, many sufferers have ailments that limit their social and physical activities. Others are looking for ways to maintain good health and lessen the effects of the disease. Chair Yoga classes can become a place to share friendships and support and learn new ways of coping with a chronic illness. At the same time, Chair Yoga students are likely to practice posturing, exercises, breathing techniques, and what they learn about a healthy Yogic lifestyle at home.


Diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to several health complications. Chair Yoga is one way that people with diabetes can help to regulate their condition and improve their overall health. There are several different types of Yoga, but Chair Yoga is a form that is particularly well-suited for people with diabetes. This type of Yoga uses chairs as props to help support the body and maintain correct posture.


Overall Strategy

Chair Yoga is a gentle style that does not require much equipment or space, making it easy to do at home or in a small office. Chair Yoga can help improve flexibility and range of motion, which are often lacking in people with diabetes. It can also help improve circulation and reduce stress, which is important for people with diabetes. Chair Yoga is part of an overall strategy to regulate diabetes and can be a great way to improve your health.


Side Notes for Teachers

Yoga teachers and literature should be truthful and not promise cures. It’s important to be honest with your students about what Yoga can and cannot do. There are a lot of myths and misinformation out there about Yoga, and it’s our responsibility as educators to set the record straight. Yoga is a great tool for managing diabetes but is not a cure. It can help to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, but it’s not going to eliminate the need for medication or other treatments completely.

Provide Credible Information

Promising a cure is not only misleading, but it’s also dangerous. The same goes for other health conditions. Yoga can be beneficial for many ailments, but it’s important to be realistic about its limitations. If you’re teaching a class or writing an article about Yoga, ensure you’re being truthful about what it can and cannot do. Most of all, remind students to consult their physicians when they need medical advice.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Related Research

Aljasir B, Bryson M, Al-Shehri B. Yoga Practice for the Management of Type II Diabetes Mellitus in Adults: A systematic review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2010;7:399–408.

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.

Related Studies

Hegde SV, Adhikari P, Kotian S, Pinto VJ, D’Souza S. Effect of 3-month yoga on oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes with or without complications: a controlled clinical trial. Diabetes care. 2011;34:2208–2210.

Mullur RS, Ames D (2016) Impact of a 10-minute Seated Yoga Practice in the Management of Diabetes. J Yoga Phys Ther 6: 224. doi:10.4172/2157-7595.1000224

Standards of medical care in diabetes (2015) summary of revisions. Diabetes Care. 38(Suppl):S4.

4 thoughts on “Chair Yoga for Diabetes”

  1. Yoga prepares the body to fight against diabetes. By lowering stress, Yoga reduces the levels of cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagons in the body, which stabilizes insulin production.

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