Yoga Helpful for Diabetes

Yoga helpful for treatment of diabetes

The American Diabetes Association published a 2011 study showing yoga helpful for diabetes (type 2). The study concluded that yoga can be used as an effective therapy in reducing oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes and that yoga in addition to standard care helps reduce BMI and improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetic patients.

The study states, “In comparison with standard care alone, yoga resulted in significant reduction in BMI [Body Mass Index], glycemic control, and malondialdehyde [a biomarker for oxidative stress thought to be responsible for insulin resistance and associated clinical conditions such as atherosclerosis, microvascular complications, and neuropathy], and increase in glutathione [a powerful antioxidant] and vitamin C.”

Edmond, Oklahoma massage therapist Brook Williams was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age two and has personally found yoga helpful for diabetes. “I have found that my circulation increases with yoga,” Brook says. “It helps to keep blood sugar levels at a better rate – lower than usual.”

An article in Men’s Health Magazine, “Yoga for Diabetes,” states, “It is one of few exercises that sets the entire body in motion with the breath, circulating the blood through parts of the body that might otherwise go unused in our day-to-day routine.”

If you are considering adding yoga to better balance your blood sugar levels, here are a few tips.
1. Start slowly and listen to your breath. The breath tells you where you are – if you are breathing fluidly, you can push a little further into a pose if you feel like it. If the breath is hard to catch or choppy, your body is asking for mercy. Show compassion to yourself and back off a bit.
2. Practice easy seated twists with Ujjayi breathing to increase circulation in the pancreas. When we use Ujjayi breath, we take a full inhale through the nose and when exhaling through the nose, create a slight constriction at the back of the throat so the exhale sounds like we are fogging a mirror (practice a few times using an open-mouthed exhale). To practice a seated twist, sit on sit bones with left leg extended forward, leg muscles engaged. Cross right leg over left and place right foot flat on the floor near the left thigh. Place right hand behind buttocks, fingertips facing away from the body. Wrap left arm around bent right leg. Inhale and lengthen spine toward ceiling, exhale using core muscles to twist – think of wrapping the ribs more tightly around the spine. Keep lengthening on inhales and twisting on exhales for four or five Ujjayi breaths. Slowly come out and repeat to the other side.
3. Practice deep Ujjayi breathing throughout the day. If you can relax the abdominal muscles enough, the downward movement of the diaphragm on inhales will massage the abdominal organs; that’s good for the organs and the entire body.
4. Consider attending a class at You Power Yoga. We have beginner and gentle classes for those who are new to the practice, and the first visit to our studio is free for adults. Check out our schedule online. We would love to welcome you!