Yoga For Diabetes - Best Poses - Aura Wellness Center

Yoga For Diabetes – Best Poses

yoga for diabetesBy Faye Martins and Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP 

What is the best form of Yoga for diabetes? A movement-based form of Yoga would be helpful. Hatha and Vinyasa styles come to mind first. Yet, the type of Yoga should match the patient’s fitness level. Yoga poses are beneficial for people with diabetes in many ways. Yoga practitioners have active lifestyles. It is common for walkers, golfers, and tennis players to practice Yoga on a regular basis. However, you can practice movements and poses in your bed, on a chair, or sitting on your couch.


Understanding Diabetes and its Impact on the Body

Diabetes is a condition that affects how your body uses glucose, the primary source of energy. There are two main types: Type 1, where the body doesn’t produce insulin, and Type 2, where the body doesn’t use insulin effectively. When diabetes isn’t managed correctly, it can lead to high blood sugar levels, which can cause severe complications over time.

High blood sugar levels can damage organs like the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves and increase the risk of other health issues such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. Managing diabetes involves monitoring blood sugar levels regularly through diet, exercise, medication, or insulin therapy.

Yoga is crucial in managing diabetes by reducing stress and improving overall well-being. Yoga helps regulate blood flow throughout the body and promotes relaxation, which can help control blood sugar levels more effectively.

Are Yoga Poses a Cure for Diabetes?

No, but practicing postures is a great activity for anyone with diabetes. It improves cardiovascular health and lowers blood sugar levels. Additionally, posturing encourages the body to expend more energy than resting in bed which reduces the likelihood of obesity. However, there are some poses that are better than others. In general, movement helps the body reduce sugar levels. However, safety is a primary concern when we consider any form of exercise.


What are the Best Poses?

Firstly, Yoga poses should be kept in the comfort zone. Secondly, it’s very important to practice consistently. Thirdly, a realistic schedule should be maintained. Lastly, enthusiasm should be kept to a slow boil. People burn themselves out by taking on too many goals at once. So, Yoga for diabetes is a way of life. During practice, students should focus on being present and enjoying the experience.

Top Five Yoga Poses for Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

Striking the perfect balance between mind and body is crucial to managing diabetes. With its gentle yet powerful poses, yoga offers a holistic approach to effectively controlling blood sugar levels.

First, we have the Downward-Facing Dog Pose. This classic posture helps improve circulation and digestion while also reducing stress, a common trigger for elevated blood sugar levels.

Next on the list is the Warrior II Pose, which not only strengthens your legs and arms but also stimulates vital organs like the liver and kidneys to assist in regulating blood glucose levels.

The Tree Pose follows suit by enhancing concentration and balance, promoting mindfulness that can aid in better insulin sensitivity over time.

Moving on to the Seated Forward Bend, this pose targets the pancreas—responsible for producing insulin – helping to stimulate its function and improve overall glucose regulation.

Last, we have Child’s Pose – a calming posture that relaxes the nervous system, reduces cortisol levels, and ultimately contributes to more stable blood sugar readings.

A. Downward Facing Dog Pose

Downward-facing Dog Pose, also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana, is a foundational yoga pose that offers numerous benefits for those managing diabetes. This pose helps stretch and strengthen various muscles throughout the body, including the arms, shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and foot arches.

By regularly practicing Downward Dog, individuals can improve circulation and stimulate digestion – both critical for maintaining stable blood sugar levels. The gentle inversion in this pose also reduces stress and anxiety, which are often elevated in people with diabetes.

Furthermore, a Downward-Facing Dog promotes relaxation by calming the mind and relieving tension from the spine. It encourages deep breathing, which can help regulate insulin production and promote overall wellness.


B. Warrior II Pose

Warrior II Pose, or Virabhadrasana II, is a powerful yoga pose that can benefit individuals with diabetes. It strengthens the legs, opens the hips, and improves balance and concentration.

To practice Warrior II Pose, start standing with your feet wide apart. Turn one foot out to the side and bend that knee while keeping the other leg straight. Extend your arms parallel to the ground, with your gaze fixed over your front fingertips.

Focus on grounding yourself in the earth beneath you as you hold this pose. Feel the strength and stability radiating through your body as you breathe deeply. Warrior II Pose helps improve circulation and can help regulate blood sugar levels.

Regular practice of this pose, proper diet, and medication adherence can help manage diabetes symptoms better. Listen to your body’s limitations and modify the pose for comfort and safety during practice.

C. Tree Pose

The Tree Pose, also known as Vrksasana in Sanskrit, is a balancing posture that can benefit those with diabetes by improving concentration and focus while strengthening the legs and core. This pose requires stability and mindfulness as you stand tall like a tree rooting into the ground.

To practice Tree Pose, start by standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Shift your weight onto one leg and bring the sole of your other foot to either your calf or inner thigh—avoid placing it directly on the knee to prevent injury. Find a focal point to help maintain balance as you extend your arms overhead or bring them together at the heart center.

Engage your core muscles to support yourself in this posture and take deep breaths to calm the mind. Feel yourself growing taller, like a tree reaching toward the sky. Hold this pose for several breaths before switching sides to balance both sides of the body.

Tree Pose helps improve physical balance and mental focus, which can be beneficial for managing stress levels associated with diabetes. Practice this pose regularly along with other yoga poses for a holistic approach to supporting overall well-being while living with diabetes.


D. Seated Forward Bend

The Seated Forward Bend, also known as Paschimottanasana in Sanskrit, is a calming yoga pose that stretches the entire back of the body. To practice this pose, sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, reach for your toes, and keep your spine long.

Seated Forward Bend is excellent for stimulating the digestive organs and improving blood circulation to the pancreas and liver. This gentle stretch can help regulate blood sugar levels by massaging these vital organs.

Regular practice of Seated Forward Bend can also reduce stress and anxiety levels, which are common among individuals with diabetes. By incorporating this pose into your daily routine, you can experience a sense of calmness and clarity in mind and body.

Remember to listen to your body’s limits and go as far into the stretch as comfortable. With consistent practice, you may feel more relaxed and balanced throughout the day, thanks to Seated Forward Bend.

E. Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose, also known as Balasana in Sanskrit, is a soothing yoga pose that can benefit individuals with diabetes. This gentle resting posture helps calm the mind and relieve stress, which are crucial to managing blood sugar levels.

To practice Child’s Pose, kneel on the mat with your big toes touching and knees spread wide apart. Slowly lower your torso toward the floor, extending your arms out in front of you or resting them alongside your body.

This pose gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles while promoting relaxation and mindfulness. By incorporating Child’s Pose into your daily routine, you can create moments of peace and reflection amidst the busyness of life.

Listen to your body and modify the pose to suit your comfort level. With consistent practice, Child’s Pose can become a valuable tool in maintaining overall well-being for those managing diabetes through yoga.

But I Want Instant Results Now!

Of course, you want the quickest results and that is understandable. Diabetics should be in regular contact with their physicians. Your physician or health specialist knows about your medical history as well as any other patient. Together with your physician, you can compare notes and draw up a plan of action.

Doctors often recommend Yoga, but you should still discuss this with your doctor. It is equally important to understand that any form of exercise presents a risk. On the other hand, doing nothing also presents a risk.

Yoga and Walking for Managing Diabetes

Living with diabetes can be challenging, but incorporating yoga and walking into your routine can make a significant difference in managing the condition. Both practices offer numerous physical and mental health benefits that can help control blood sugar levels.

Walking is a simple yet effective exercise that helps improve cardiovascular health, lower blood sugar levels, and manage weight. Just 30 minutes of brisk walking each day can positively impact overall well-being.

Yoga, on the other hand, focuses on mindful movement, breathing techniques, and relaxation. Specific yoga poses can target areas of the body affected by diabetes, such as increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing stress levels.

Combining regular walks with a consistent yoga practice creates a holistic approach to managing diabetes. It improves physical fitness and enhances mental clarity and emotional balance.


What’s My Guarantee?

We don’t guarantee anything – Even though Yoga poses often produce favorable results. Nevertheless, regular exercise, relaxation skills, better breathing, and endurance are beneficial for diabetic patients. Therefore, we don’t give guarantees because life has many factors that affect your health. After all, people are coping with so much stress these days. In reality, stress and anxiety cause many ailments and medical conditions. Indeed, stress and anxiety are only two of the many factors that affect health.


Why Should I Bother?

On the positive side, when diabetics take action they often experience wonderful results. On the negative side, doing nothing is a path of pain. We want to point out the power of taking action. Sometimes, Yoga sessions are designed to focus on cardiovascular disease prevention and management. It is important to realize that Yoga for diabetes classes exists. With this in mind, teachers can design them or diabetics can practice by video.


Statistics and A1c Levels

To be sure of your health situation it is important to consult with your physician. People are taking more responsibility than ever. With this in mind, you want to learn as much as you can. That is to say, you must learn everything you can about diabetes.


About Lowering Cortisol

One point often overlooked is Yoga can improve blood sugar levels by lowering the production of cortisol. Cortisol has been identified as a contributor to prediabetes and diabetes. Slowing the production of this hormone takes the pressure off the pancreas, preventing it from producing too many insulin spikes. Additionally, Yoga is known for its effectiveness in relieving emotional stress that can sometimes lead to poor eating habits and excess sugar intake.


What are the Best Postures?

As we mentioned before, movement-based Yoga will lower blood sugar levels. Even if you hold postures, blood sugar levels are lowered. Finger sticks, Dexcom, and Libre devices will verify that gentle exercise can help diabetics. Therefore, flowing sequences such as Sun Salutations, Dancing Warrior Series, and Moon Salutations are helpful for stabilizing blood sugar levels. All of these sequences can be modified for a Chair Yoga class.

Modifications for Different Levels of Practitioners

When practicing yoga to manage diabetes, it’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different. Modifications may be necessary depending on your experience level and physical ability.

For beginners or those with limited mobility, starting with gentle variations of poses can ease you into the practice while still reaping the benefits. For example, props like blocks or straps can help support your body in poses where flexibility is challenging.

Intermediate practitioners may find they can deepen their practice by holding poses longer or exploring more advanced variations. This can help build strength and improve overall balance and coordination.

Advanced practitioners may focus on refining their alignment in each pose, ensuring they get the most out of their practice while minimizing any risk of injury. Remember, yoga is a personal journey – honor your body and listen to its needs as you progress in your practice.


Tips for Incorporating Yoga into Your Daily Routine

Incorporating yoga into your daily routine can be beneficial for managing diabetes. Start by setting aside a specific time each day for your practice, whether in the morning to kickstart your day or in the evening to unwind. Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can focus without distractions.

Consider joining a yoga class or following online tutorials to stay motivated and learn new poses. Mixing up your routine can keep things interesting and prevent boredom. Remember that consistency is critical, so try not to skip sessions even when you’re busy.

Listen to your body and adjust poses based on how you feel that day. Don’t push yourself too hard; focus on gentle movements that promote relaxation and flexibility. Stay hydrated before and after your practice to support your overall well-being.

Experiment with different styles of yoga, such as Hatha, Vinyasa, or Restorative, to find what works best for you. Have fun exploring various poses and breathing techniques tailored towards managing blood sugar levels effectively.

Side Note for Teachers

One way to test demand for specialized classes is to run a workshop. In this case, one “Yoga for Diabetes Worskhop” will serve as a test to see whether there is demand in your area. Making people aware that they can take action is a big step. Make local physicians and medical facilities aware of your workshop. Sometimes, one workshop expands into a viable community program. On the other hand, this could be a once a year community workshop during the spring or fall. You will never know until you try.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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