Diabetes: Type II
71 Case Studies
35 Member Stories
114 Research

Individuals who have type 2 diabetes can't effectively use the insulin their body has generated. This then causes blood glucose levels to rise and might lead to harm to insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is treated through dietary & lifestyle changes, and exercise such as yoga.

Yoga Therapy for Diabetes

It is common knowledge now that the regular practice of Yoga can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, enhance mobility and even help control dreaded diabetes. Controlled breathing techniques, body postures, meditation, and mindfulness programs evoke a relaxation response from the patient. Yoga asanas for diabetes help regulate cortisol which is a stress hormone. Stress hormones play an important role in the development of Type 2 diabetes, so controlling it will help in regulating diabetes.[4]

See: How To Lower High Cortisol Levels Naturally

How does Yoga help Diabetes?

Yoga and Diabetes have a connection that has been proven in mitigating and preventing complications related to the disease. It helps in many ways.

Yoga helps by exercising the muscles and improving glucose uptake by muscle cells. It improves circulation, lowers blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of cardio-vascular disease.

Yoga is effective in helping pancreatic cells rejuvenate. The yogic postures stretch the pancreas and enhance the production of insulin producing beta cells.

Weight loss and maintenance is a by-product of practicing yoga. This is essential in controlling Diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Diabetics are more prone to anxiety and depression. Yoga focuses the mind and creates the right mental attitude towards dealing with the disease.

Studies show that both meditation and yoga asanas are effective in controlling diabetes.[1] The dual practice can actually lower blood sugar levels and also help blood glucose control. Asanas and Pranayama which actually means breathing exercises is an economical and healthy way to manage this lifestyle disease. Specific asanas in Yoga for Diabetes help in optimum glycemic control and improves the quality of life.  Dr. Venugopal Vijajyakumar has conducted extensive studies that indicate that there are ‘visible changes” in diabetics with just 10 days of yoga.[1] 


Pranayama

Pranayama is the science of controlling breathing which in turn controls our ‘Prana’ or life force. There are different variations of pranayama which work to cleanse, calm or relax the mind and body in different ways. It is one of the most important tools to help regulate stress and glycemic levels.


Yoga Nidra

The body becomes completely relaxed and the state of consciousness reached in this Yogic practice lies in between sleep and consciousness. Your conscious mind is in touch with your innermost self. The senses are slightly detached and you reach the deepest form of relaxation known to mankind while in a fully conscious state. The S. S. Medical College in Madhya Pradesh conducted a study that evaluated the effect of Yoga Nidra in a target group of 41 diabetic patients. 90-day trials showed significant changes in the mean blood glucose level.


Yoga Asanas

The physical aspect of Yoga is the foundation of diabetic management techniques. Yoga asanas can rejuvenate pancreatic cells, exercise muscles and improve mental attitude. Weight management also helps exert glycemic control.

Yoga brings balance to every aspect of your life; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Yoga needs no equipment and you can practice it under supervision even in your own home. The practice of certain asanas that revive the normal functioning of the endocrinal system and pancreas can help you manage and even cure diabetes. You can add the asanas to your routine as you gain in core strength and flexibility.

The different schools of Yoga like Hatha Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Viniyoga are all beneficial in controlling diabetes. Hatha yoga can arguably be the most effective method as it is gentle and you can keep adding to the difficulty levels as you progress. Most other practices are a combination and permutation of Hatha Yoga.[4]

See: Halasana Plow Yoga Pose for Type 2 Diabetes

Best Yoga poses for Diabetes

Surya namaskar is a series of poses that can be helpful in glycaemic control. It improves metabolism, circulation, and mobility while energizing the internal organs.[8]

Ardha Vakrasana or the half spinal twist pose is an asana where the upper body twists while the lower body is stretched. This pose massages the pancreas and improves insulin production. 

Dhanurasana or the bow pose is an excellent pose to activate the endocrinal glands. It is a conditioner for the pancreas. It can reverse pancreatic health and can help with type 2 diabetes, thyroid issues, and stomach ailments.

Uttanpadasana or the pose that involves raising your leg while lying on your back correct pancreatic disorders and activates the entire nervous system. It also helps with energizing the internal cells.

Sarvangasana is one of the most effective yogic poses to control and treat diabetes. It is also called the shoulder stand. It massages all the internal organs, activates the glandular system, and kick-starts the metabolism. Blood circulation is improved and thyroid functions are controlled. 

Kapalbhati is Pranayama that helps control and manage diabetes. It improves the pancreatic strength by regenerating beta cells and shows almost instantaneous results.

Bhujangasana is also called the cobra pose. It energizes the internal organs, improves mobility and blood circulation. It also helps with cardiovascular issues which are a common by-product of diabetes.

Shirsasana, Chakrasana, Pincha Mayurasana, and Prasarita Padottasana are the four asanas you should avoid if you have diabetes. It is best to start practicing yoga under expert supervision for the best results.



See: Ayurvedic Treatment for Prediabetes & Diabetes Type 2

Research on efficacy of Yoga for Diabetes

India stands to claim the dubious honor of being the Diabetes capital of the world by 2030 with approximately 79 million people affected by this lifestyle disorder. Some studies were conducted to ascertain the efficacy of Yoga in diabetes management.

The Department of Physiology and Diabetes in a tertiary care hospital conducted a study for over 2 years on 30 male diabetic patients and 30 non-diabetic male volunteers.[5] The chosen age group was 36-55 years. Yoga was a daily routine in a fasting state at 6 am. The study found a significant control in Type 2 Diabetic group on Oral medication, indicating that effective glycemic control can be achieved with targeted yoga.

Clinical studies were conducted to evaluate the impact of a 10 minute seated yoga program.[7] The target group was on oral medication and was in the age group of 49-77 years. Diabetes had been evaluated for over 10 years, with Hb1ac levels at over 9%. The subjects were exposed to a 10 minute seated yoga regimen for 3 months. The end of the study showed a decrease in fasting capillary blood sugar (CBG) levels by 45%, Heart rate dropped by 18% and Diastolic BP dropped by 29%. This reinforces that standard medical care along with yoga can achieve better results in controlling Diabetes Mellitus.

A prospective case-control study was conducted in the Department of Physiology and Diabetic clinic of a tertiary care teaching hospital over a period of two years. The study subjects consisted of 30 male diabetic patients attending the diabetic practice and 30 non-diabetic male volunteers comprised control group. The patients at the age category of 36 to 55 years with type 2 diabetes of a minimum of one-year interval and people on a diabetic diet and oral hypoglycemic agents were included in the analysis team. 

The results of the study demonstrated that yoga is effective in reducing blood glucose levels in patients with T2DM.[5]

See: Nadi Shodana Pranayama - Alternate Nostril Breathing

Summary

Diabetes is a lifestyle disease and can be prevented and controlled by taking adequate exercise and making significant changes in the way you live. Diet and exercise are the two main things that need to be moderated to gain glycemic control and avoid the complications that are a part of this deadly disease. Yoga can help you control and reverse Diabetes type two. The practice needs to be done under the supervision of a trained yoga instructor to get the maximum benefit. You will soon feel the change, both physical and mental when you practice yoga and mindful meditation. Any regime should be okayed by your medical practitioner before you begin. 

See: Relaxing Yoga Poses to help you sleep

References

[1] Malhotra V, Singh S, Tandon OP, Sharma SB: The beneficial effect of yoga in diabetes. Nepal Med Coll J 7:145 –147, 2005

[2] Bijlani RL, Vempati RP, Yadav RK, Ray RB, Gupta V, Sharma R, Mehta N, Mahapatra SC: A brief but comprehensive lifestyle education program based on yoga reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. J Alt Complement Med 11:267-274, 2005.

[3] Lazar SW, Bush G, Gollub RL, Fricchione GL, Khalsa G, Benson H: Functional brain mapping of the relaxation response and meditation. Neurorep 11: 1581–1585, 2000.

[4] Oerum, C. (2019, January 15). Yoga and Diabetes – How Yoga Affects My Blood Sugar. Retrieved June 24, 2019, from https://diabetesstrong.com/yoga-diabetes-yoga-impacts-blood-sugar/

[5] Chimkode, S. M., Kumaran, S. D., Kanhere, V. V., & Shivanna, R. (2015). Effect of yoga on blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR, 9(4), CC01–CC3. DOI:10.7860/JCDR/2015/12666.5744

[6] Cui, J., Yan, J. H., Yan, L. M., Pan, L., Le, J. J., & Guo, Y. Z. (2017). Effects of yoga in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A meta-analysis. Journal of diabetes investigation, 8(2), 201–209. DOI:10.1111/jdi.12548

[7] Mullur, R. S., & Ames, D. (2016). Impact of a 10-minute Seated Yoga Practice in the Management of Diabetes. Journal of yoga & physical therapy, 6(1), 1000224.

[8] Watts, M. W. (2019, May 11). Yoga for Diabetes: Best Yoga Poses, Styles, Poses to Avoid. Retrieved June 24, 2019, from https://www.siddhiyoga.com/yoga-diabetes

See: Benefits of yoga

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