Yoga for Diabetics
[post-img]The most common western allopathic method of treating diabetes is through medication and regular, often self-administered insulin injections. As a short-term solution, it is quite effective. Like a lot of medications, however, the long-term effectiveness is questionable.
With November being American Diabetes Month®, we are taking the time and opportunity to examine yoga as a compliment to western medication for the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
[tip-fact]Diabetes comes in two types: Type I diabetes is largely genetic and is present from birth. Often, medication is the only solution for this kind of diabetes as the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. The more common Type II diabetes, however, can be brought on later in life through poor nutritional and physical habits. Most frequently, Type II diabetes is only diagnosed after the onset of symptoms, at which point it is often too late to take preventative measures.
By maintaining a balanced diet and regular physical exercise, you can greatly reduce your risk of contracting diabetes. All daily aerobic exercise helps to control blood sugar levels and improve circulation. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise is especially important to the diabetic patient since it lowers the required levels of insulin, making it easier to break down sugars.
Yoga is specifically effective at fighting diabetes. Fundamentally, it is a slow-paced, low-impact form of exercise that can help keep your body in shape. For sufferers of diabetes who often find it difficult or intimidating to get involved in workout or exercise programs, the versatility of yoga allows it to cater to all body types and fitness levels. There is no pressure – your yoga practice can be as easy or demanding as you want it to be.
[b-quote]Of more specific benefit, yoga poses often stimulate internal organs, encouraging their biological action. Back-bends and abdominal compressions specifically target the pancreas, stretching and flexing it, thereby stimulating the production of insulin. Thus, if you practice yoga regularly and take care to research the poses, not only will you decrease your required insulin levels (through aerobic exercise), but you'll also increase insulin production.
Yoga’s stress relief component is also essential in helping people treat and fight diabetes. Studies indicate that high stress tends to exacerbate diabetes. It is therefore important for diabetic patients to find ways to reduce the stress in their lives, and again, a regular practice of yoga can be highly beneficial. Attending regular yoga sessions enables people to live generally healthier lifestyles by reducing stress and adhering to the prescribed routines, diets, and exercises.
As you can see, incorporating yoga into your daily life can be incredibly effective in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Yoga can not only help with the lifestyle changes necessary to cope with the disease, but can also help to treat it. While yoga may not be a flat-out alternative to medication, it should not be overlooked as a complimentary treatment for diabetes.
For more information on how yoga can assist diabetics, check out the following websites:
- American Diabetes Association
- My Diabetes Central: Living with Diabetes
- Yoga for Diabetes and Obesity
- Diabetes Yoga