Yoga can help cure Diabetes. Yes! Yoga modalities like asana, pranayama, meditation, diet and related activities can help cure diabetes; high blood sugar.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a Metabolic Disorder that occurs either when the pancreas can’t produce the hormone insulin necessary for converting sugar into energy (type 1) or when the body is unable to use the insulin it produces in the proper manner (type 2)
International Diabetes Federation (IDF) released a report in 2012, stated that close to 52% of Indians are unaware that they are suffering from high blood sugar; also they add that the number of Indians with diabetes mellitus is expected to cross the 100 million mark by 2030.
Classification of diabetes
1 – Type 1 Diabetics is caused by an autoimmune or genetic dysfunction where pancreas fail to secrete enough insulin, usually affects people under the age of 30.
2 – Type 2 Diabetics typically shows insulin resistance – condition where cells fails to respond to insulin.Type 2 Diabetics affects 90% of diabetics and it is usually caused by excess body weight and inactivity.
3 – Gestational Diabetes in pregnant women without previous history of Diabetes.
Whatever the type of Diabetes, the earlier the condition is diagnosed and treated, the better it is. Daily practice of Yoga poses, pranayama, Meditation along with medication and Diet modifications helps manage and overcome Diabetes.
Yoga asanas for diabetes
Yoga Asana useful for Diabetes cure are those which bring about a stretch and twist in lower thoracic and upper lumbar region, where pancreas is located. These yoga asana are believed to increase the blood supply, massage the organs, activate its cells and thereby cause an increase in secretion of insulin; reducing high blood sugar.
1. Yoga asana regenerates/rejuvenates pancreatic cells by abdominal stretching; also by enhancing enzymatic process it may increase utilization and metabolism of glucose in peripheral tissues.
2. Yoga Asana can cause muscular relaxation, enhance muscular development and improve circulation to muscles; all of these might enhance insulin receptor expression on muscles and causes increase in glucose uptake by muscles and thus reducing blood sugar.
3. It has been seen that various yoga postures can improve sensitivity of b-cells of the pancreas to glucose signal and also improve insulin sensitivity. This can result in better glucose uptake and reduction of blood sugar.
4. Certain Yoga Asana can directly stimulate pancreas by enhancing circulation in the meridian of pancreas and rejuvenates its capacity to produce insulin.
5. Evidence suggests that regular yoga practice can significant reduce body weight, which is particularly important to keep diabetes under check.
6. Symptoms of diabetes can be worsened by increase in blood pressure. Yoga Asana like corpse pose, bridge pose child pose and yoga nidra has been seen beneficial in controlling hypertension.
7. Bandhas in yoga are neuromuscular locks that regulate and stimulate endocrine secretions in the body, and also realigns, revitalizes and improves the functioning of the organs and the glands that get affected by diabetes.
8. Many Studies have confirmed that practising specific Yoga Asana such as Ardha Matsyendrasana (half-twist pose) combined with Dhanurasana (bow pose), Vakrasana (twisted pose), Matsyendrasana (half-spinal twist), Halasana (plough pose) squeezes and compresses the abdomen and helps stimulate the pancreatic secretions which causes more insulin to rush into blood.
Special considerations for diabetics while performing Yoga
1. One should monitor glucose levels throughout the program, and take appropriate medication as prescribed.
2. It is advisable to Practice yoga in the morning and evening for 40 to 60 minutes with the recommended series of postures according to one’s capacity.
3. Postures should be maintained to get maximum benefits. The maintenance period should be increased gradually from five seconds to a minute, or even longer, depending on the posture and capacity of the person.
4. One should always focus on Breath during the maintenance of the posture.
Best yoga asanas for diabetes cure
1. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) Surya Namaskar is an extremely beneficial yoga practice for high blood sugar as it improves the blood circulation of pancreas and enhances utilization of insulin in the body. If performed at a slow pace (six rounds a minute), suryanamaskar work best to give you major benefits.
2. Trikonasana (the triangle pose) This yoga posture reduces the damaging effect of diabetes on kidneys – a risk every diabetic is likely to experience. And thus helps in improving digestion and absorption.
3. Padahastasana (hand under foot pose) This forward-bending posture helps in direct stimulation of the organs and glands in the abdominal region, such as the kidneys, liver and pancreas. Padahastasana also helps to strengthen abdominal muscles and improve function of abdominal organs.
4. Pavanmuktasana (wind-relieving pose) This gas-releasing posture helps to brace up the entire system of the body, including the pancreas, liver, spleen, and abdominal muscles and helps to release excess gas from the abdomen. Pavanmuktasana also helps in relieving constipation – a common problem faced by diabetics.
5. Viparit Karani (legs up the wall pose) This posture stimulates the pancreas and other abdominal viscera and brings significant improvement in blood sugar control.
6. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose) This asana is known to strengthen the spine and improve in functioning of abdominal organs, thereby aiding digestion.
7. Matsyasana (Fish pose) This asana stretches the abdominal muscles and also helps in proper toning of the abdominal organs including pancreas. When performed with controlled breathing, this posture helps to combat diabetes.
8. Shalabhasana (Grasshopper/Locust pose) This asana is very helpful in the treatment of diabetes as it stimulates abdominal organs, exercises the leg and back muscles, and helps in relieving stress.
9. Vakrasana (Twisted pose) This asana helps to stimulates pancreas and controls the enlargement of the liver. Also it helps in removing excess fat around the waist.
10. Mandukasana (Frog pose) This is an extremely beneficial pose for people suffering from high blood sugar as it exerts pressure on the pancreas and improves the function of all abdominal organs.
11. Vrikshasana (Tree pose) Tree pose directly stimulate pancreas to secrete insulin.
12. Dhanurasana (Bow pose) Dhanurasana helps in improving the functioning of pancreas and intestines. Regular practice will activate organs like liver, pancreas, and enzyme producing organs.
13. Halasana (Plough Pose) Halasana massages all internal organs like pancreas, spleen and activates immune system. It improves function of kidney and liver and helps in strengthening the abdominal muscles. It helps in rejuvenation of the mind.
14. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Twist Pose) It massages all the abdominal organs like kidneys, pancreas, small intestines, gall bladder and liver, aids in digestion and squeeze out toxins
Yoga for diabetes cure – What evidence says
1. In an interventional research of 8-days involving 98 subjects with diabetes found clinically significant reduction in fasting blood sugar (FBS), serum total cholesterol, low density lipoproteins (LDL), very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-C, and total triglycerides and significant improvement in HDL-C, on the last day of the course compared with the first day.
2. A comparative study of yoga practice with physical training showed that yoga practice for 6 months can significantly reduce fasting blood sugar, lipid levels, markers of oxidative stress, whereas physical training could have effect only on blood glucose but had few of other benefits.
3. In an another study of 20 type 2 diabetes patients showed marked reduction in fasting blood glucose, waist-hip ratio and significant changes in insulin levels by performing yoga routine for 40 days under supervision of yoga teacher. The asanas performed were – Surya namaskar (sun salutation), Trikonasana (triangle pose), Tadasana (mountain pose), Padmasana (lotus pose), Bhastrika Pranayama (breathing exercise), Pashimottanasana (posterior stretch), Ardhmatsyendrasana (half spinal twist), Pawanmuktasana (joint freeing series), Bhujangasana (cobra pose), Vajrasana (thunderbolt pose), Dhanurasana (bow pose), and Shavasana (corpse pose).
Pranayama for Diabetes
Pranayama helps to make mind calm and balances the interaction between pituitary gland and pancreas. Pranayama helps to cure diabetes in following ways
1. Pranayama controls the movement of inhalation, exhalation and the refection of vital energy.
2. Pranayama also reduces the blood pressure and weight of the individual-two possible causes of diabetes.
3. Pranayama also reduces progression of complications and the severity of complications caused by diabetes as well.
4. Stress induces glucagon secretion which has an opposite action as that of insulin. Pranayama effectively reduce stress and glucagon and possibly improving insulin action.
5. Pranayama causes muscle relaxation and improve blood supply which might enhance insulin sensitivity.
6. Pranayama reduces levels of stress hormones (cortisol). This helps to reduce insulin resistance.
A few beneficial pranayama for diabetes care
1. Bharamari – It helps to make mind calm and rejuvenates body and nervous system.
2. Bhasrika pranayama – It is a revitalizing pranayama. It helps to increase oxygen level and decrease carbon dioxide levels in the blood. It helps to put pressure on abdominal organs by using abdominal muscles and diaphragm.
3. Nadi Shodhan pranayama – is very helpful for diabetics. It helps to release stress and flush out toxins out from the body.
4. Sudarshan kriya – it is an excellent technique to combat diabetes. It has helped several diabetics across the world in controlling their condition from getting worse.
5. Anulom vilom – alternate nosrtril breathing has been seen to have calming effects on nervous system and helps to facilitate homeostasis. It helps to manage stress and helps in controlling blood sugar level.
6. Kapalbhatti – stimulates pancreas to release insulin thus helps in controlling diabetes. Kapalbhati combined with nauli kriya helps in balancing the basal metabolic rate which in turn helps to stabilize blood sugar level.
It is advisable to learn complete abdominal breathing, fast breathing, anuloma viloma, kapalbhati, alternate nostril breathing, bandhas from yoga guru before practicing these pranayama.
Meditation can help with Diabetes care
It is seen that stress is the major cause of diabetes and in turn the condition itself makes the patients more stressed about it, which further aggravates the condition. Also diabetics lose self confidence and stop taking precaution to keep it under control as it is a lifelong disease. It is observed that certain people crave more for sweet things after they are diagnosed with diabetes. This is where meditation has its role. It restores confidence levels and improves will power and gives strength to fight the condition and live well.
How Meditation helps cure Diabetes
1. Evidence suggests that Meditation can help in reducing blood sugar levels by regulating sleep patterns, as sleep is very important for natural healing of the body.
2. Practicing Meditation helps in reducing anxiety and stress – main cause of type 2 diabetes.
3. The practice of the Meditation for even a short period of time has been shown to be associated with increased insulin sensitivity and a lowering of the blood sugar, thereby decreasing the risk factors of diabetes.
4. Meditation help patients achieve homeostasis, which is a balance in the body — there by promote optimum functioning of autonomic nervous system, endocrine system and other vital processes – thus body achieves a cure by itself.
5. Studies have proved that meditation can promote regulation of cortisol and other stress hormones. Structured programs of meditation, such as Transcendental Meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), train participants to focus attention and diaphragmatic breathing to promote relaxation response.
6. During the practice of meditation the amount of carbon dioxide elimination reduces in proportion to oxygen consumed without any effect on respiratory quotient (relative amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration) as studies by Wallace et al. Meditation produces internal homeostasis and reduction in stress levels.
7. Mindfulness during Meditation promotes self awareness and increases person’s will power by teaching discipline. It not only leads to better food choices, but the food is digested and assimilated into the body in a more efficient way.
Transcendental Meditation technique is a stress reduction technique, and since diabetes can be worsened by both physiologic and psychological stress, it makes sense that the regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique may improve the ability to control diabetes”.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006, has shown that practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation program experience a significant decrease in insulin resistance, as measured by HOMA and an overall improvement in sugar levels. “HOMA” stands for homeostasis model assessment, and is a measure of a person’s insulin level.
A study presented at American diabetes association conference suggested that mindfulness meditation can help diabetics, which is a non-judgmental awareness of thoughts and actions in the present moment and involves judgment, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance and let go.
Cleansing processes helps cure Diabetes
Especially for diabetes Master cleansing or Shankha Prakshalana is recommended. Complete process of Shankha Prakshalana takes 1 day and is recommended once in 6 months, but smaller alternative of it can be done 3 times a week. This process helps to clean the Gastro Intestinal tract completely. This process is done by drinking 2 glasses of warm, salty water with lemon juice added to it. Then 6 different exercises are performed, these exercises help to speed up the peristaltic movements and one needs to evacuate bowels. In 2 hours about 7 to 8 bowels are evacuated.
Note – This process should always be done under the supervision of professionals.
Yogic diet helps cure Diabetes
A balanced diet rich in fiber, whole grains, legumes and vegetables should be implemented to get maximum benefits of the regimen.
Dr Phulgenda Sinha, director of the Institute of Yogain Patna, India/Washington D.C. USA, and author of Yogic Cures for Chronic Diseases, “The yogic treatment restores the normal functioning of the pancreas and other glands of the endocrinal system. When these glands begin to function properly, the individual is fully cured of the diabetic disorders and his health is restored to normal level.”
Writers Note: Sedentary life style, food that we eat, life stresses are few of the biggest contributors to diabetes becoming the biggest killer, at least in India. I, for obvious reasons, have not put too much technical information on specific yoga asana, therapies, pranayama styles etc in this article. I sincerely suggest you to consult a related professional for a complete lifestyle rebalance to reverse diabetes ill effects.
I have also observed a few yoga studios/ ashrams offering regular yoga classes for diabetes, reverse diabetes retreats and yoga therapy for diabetes etc. Along with these, please attend any special classes, lectures, workshops that may be happening around you. These alternate therapies work. All the Best!