Yoga RX: Diabetes
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. Type 1 Diabetes results from the body’s inability to produce insulin and requires the person to inject insulin or wear an insulin pump. The second form of diabetes, Type 2, is a condition in which the cells fail to use insulin properly. This can also be combined with a person’s absolute insulin deficiency.
The third main form, gestational diabetes, occurs when pregnant women without a previous diagnosis of diabetes develop a high blood glucose level.
These yoga poses are beneficial to people with diabetes because they increase blood flow and stimulate the inner organs.
Ardhamatsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist Pose)
Low energy and poor circulation are common in Type 1 diabetes. Twists, especially those that bring the knees against the chest, involve squeezing and then releasing, which increases blood flow in the long run. Any pose that creates abdomen compression will help stimulate the pancreas. Ardhamatsyendrasana is an excellent pose for diabetics in this regard.
Halasana (Plow pose)
Similar to Ardhamatsyendrasana, Halasana help to stimulate the internal organs, through massage, to produce sufficient amounts of insulin required to stabilize blood glucose levels. Diabetics should concentrate on poses that affect the pancreas and the adrenal glands, those that generate movement all the way from the hip area to the sternum.
Other Beneficial Yoga Poses for Diabetes
- Udiyana Banda (Yogic Abdominal Squeezing) – Stimulates proper pancreatic function.
- Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) – Increases the blood supply to the various parts of the body and also enhances insulin regulation while stimulating the pancreas.
Yoga Contraindications for Hypertension
- For diabetics with peripheral neuropathy complications, avoid inversions or balancing poses.
- Avoid practice in extreme heat (hot yoga or Bikram yoga).