Combating Diabetes with Yoga

It is widely accepted that yoga can help to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase mobility and improve overall health. But recently, health experts have been considering adding a new benefit to this list, as a growing number of people with diabetes are turning to yoga to help manage and reduce their symptoms.

Recent research suggests that practicing yoga absolutely can help to control diabetes, as yoga can help improve blood sugar levels, immune function, weight, heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides and oxidative stress levels (free radicals in the body), all of which are related to and affect diabetes.

Although the exact way in which yoga improves these functions is not yet known, some experts posit that these benefits come from yoga’s ability to reduce stress in the practitioner. Having high levels of stress hormones like cortisol in the body can cause problems for anyone, but they are especially problematic for a diabetic person, whose symptoms can be greatly exacerbated during stressful periods.

High stress levels have been shown to raise blood glucose levels, encourage overeating, increase abdominal fat, and worsen insulin resistance, all things which diabetics in particular need to control.

Yoga is the perfect treatment for stress, as it has been shown to regulate cortisol levels through training its practitioners to counter feelings of stress with a ‘relaxation response.’ Practicing yoga teaches people how to do this through deep breathing, meditation, conscious relaxation practices, and learning to maintain an awareness of how the body and mind feel throughout the practice.

So, when a stressful situation strikes, people who practice yoga are better equipped to respond in a relaxed way, rather than letting their feelings or reaction to the situation spiral out of control. Therefore, through learning to reduce and manage stress, practicing yoga can improve or eliminate some of the symptoms associated with diabetes.

Other possible ways that yoga can benefit people with diabetes include:
Stimulating the pancreas: Traditional yoga therapists maintain that when certain poses and breathing practices contract and stretch the abdomen, blood flow and oxygen supply are increased to the abdominal organs, including the pancreas, which are stimulated and rejuvenated. As a result of this stimulation, the pancreas is better able to produce insulin.

Working the muscles: Much like other forms of movement, yoga improves glucose uptake of the muscles, and as a result, helps to lower blood sugar levels and improve circulation.

Yoga ExerciseHelping with weight loss: Yoga, especially more dynamic, energetic forms of yoga, burn a lot of calories, and thus help with weight loss and control, which is understood to be crucial for diabetes management.

Improving mental and emotional well-being: Yoga can help to improve mental attitude and increase overall feelings of well-being, allowing diabetics to stay positive as they learn to live with and manage their condition.

Although there is still the question of the method by which yoga is effective in managing diabetes, there is no question that it is effective, which is wonderful news for diabetics and their loved ones.

-The Alternative Daily


Recommended Articles