Yoga for Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus or diabetes is a type of disease in which the body fails to regulate the amount of glucose necessary for the body. Diabetes does not allow the body to produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily activates. The defect in this condition is either your pancreas do not produce enough insulin or it produces sufficient insulin but the cells of your body are unable to use the insulin properly.

What are the causes of Diabetes?

Genetics, autoimmunity and lifestyle factors can lead to diabetes.


What are the Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus?

• Fatigue:

• Unexplained weight loss

• Excessive thirst (polydipsia)

• Excessive urination (polyuria)

• Excessive eating (polyphagia)

• Poor wound healing

• Infections

• Altered mental status

• Blurry vision


What are types of Diabetes?

They are mainly 2 types-

1. Type 1 Diabetes
2. Type 2 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin in pancreas. As no insulin is produced, your glucose levels increase, which can seriously damage the body’s organs. Type 1 diabetes is often known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes or early-onset diabetes because it usually develops before the age of 40, often during teenage years. Patient needs insulin injections for the rest of your life and need to pay special attention to certain aspects of  lifestyle and health, example, by eating a healthy diet and carrying out regular blood tests.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 diabetes. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2


How can yoga therapy be helpful in Diabetes?

In management of diabetes, medicine alone cannot be sufficient. In fact more than 50%of diabetics do not need medication. What they require is life style change. Life style change include, diet, exercise and stress management.


1. Exercise- Yoga therapy is able to provide physical exercise in form of asanas. In DM we use those ásanas which need to bring deep rest to the pancreas and release the prana (life energy) blocks. Hence the ásanas used either stretch, compress, or twist the abdominal area, so that you may bring your awareness to the pancreatic area, focus and then defocus to give very deep rest to pancreas which promote their better functioning.

2. Diet- Yoga promotes vegetarian and satvik diet and helps to overcome addictions like smoking. It prepares the mind from deep down to accept the changes without regret.

3.  Stress management- For stress management, it helps to control stress and thus prevents release stress hormones like cortisol, thyroid hormone which tend to increase blood sugar.

Hence yoga is a great tool to control diabetes.


Can type 1 Diabetics be benefited through yoga therapy?

Yes yoga can provide better control as it helps to reduce autoimmunity which is the cause of type 1 diabetes. Life style change further prove helpful to control type 1 diabetes.


Is there research data to show yoga is helpful in Diabetes?

Yoga and Diabetes control- A research study was done by Dr Dandona, the chief of the diabetology department of the Royal free hospital London. Here 21 NIDDMS (type2 diabetes) who were taking oral ant diabetic tablets and or dieting were divided into Yoga and Control groups. The yoga group practiced Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy, 5 days/week (90min classes) for 12 weeks. This study concluded that “offering yoga classes to NIDDM patients at a diabetic clinic attracted significant number of patients and led to improved glucose homeostasis as seen by decreased fasting blood glucose and glycated hemogloblin in yoga group as compared to control group. ( J. of complementary med. Research 1992, 6 (2): 66-68).

Dr Rice’s (1992) observation of improved blood flow to the legs is a valuable research and provides a source of hope for person’s who have had long duration of diabetes.



What practices are advised for Diabetes mellitus?

1. Jogging

2. Side bending

3. Twisting

4. Dhanur asana (bow pose)

5. Parivrtta trikon asana (revolved triangle pose)

6. Bhujang asana (cobra pose)

7. Sarvang asana (shoulder stand)

8. Kapal bhati (forceful exhalation)

9. Nadi shudi (alternative nostril breathing).

10. Meditation


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