Diabetes is an ongoing disease that is characterized by the body’s inability to produce the right amount of insulin, the hormone that allows us to metabolize sugar. Diabetics live under chronic threat of having high blood sugar, which can cause serious damage to the body. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people who have diabetes has been rising sharply, and now affects some 422 million people worldwide. In 2012 it was the cause of over two million deaths worldwide.
There are two different types of diabetes. Type one, insulin-dependent, requires daily injections of insulin because the body cannot produce it properly. Usually this situation is present at birth or develops in childhood. Type two is the more common type of diabetes, where the body doesn’t use insulin well. Often this type of diabetes occurs alongside obesity and inactivity and is more likely to appear after childhood, though its prevalence in children is increasing.
Symptoms of both types of diabetes (usually the symptoms of type two are less severe), include polyuria (too much urine), excessive thirst, hunger, and vision changes. The consequences of diabetes can be severe, ranging from damage to the heart and blood vessels, vision loss, a high risk of strokes and heart attacks, foot ulcers and kidney failure.
Diabetes can be prevented and managed in a number of ways. First, it’s important to keep weight at a moderate level for your age and height—obesity is a leading factor in later-life development of diabetes. This means that eating a low sugar and low fat diet and having regular physical activity is crucial. Early intervention is important in managing the severity of symptoms. For people who have diabetes, it’s important to have regular monitoring of blood glucose and blood pressure. Regular screening for visual impairment, blood lipid levels (for cholesterol) and kidney disease is also important.
To help prevent the onset and / or complications of type two diabetes, people need to stay physically active and avoid tobacco use. Monitoring stress levels is also crucial because when stress hormones are high, it sometimes causes cravings for foods that are high in sugar, which then promotes insulin resistance. This is why holistic and natural therapies such as mindfulness meditation and yoga can be hugely beneficial therapies to both prevent and moderate diabetes symptoms. Yoga in particular is useful in promoting blood flow, lowering stress, improving sleep, improving mood, and lowering cholesterol.
Yoga helps diabetics and people at risk of diabetes in several ways. For one thing, it keeps the nervous system healthy, which means that the heart and blood are pumping regularly. Often, people with diabetes have problems with sensation and numbness. Postures such as backbends can help exercise the spine, preventing blockages in the nervous system. Twisting poses can also help to massage the internal organs which improves blood flow and overall functioning, thereby offering a cleansing effect. As yoga is also seen as a way of reducing stress, it can contribute to lowered cortisol levels. When we are less stressed, we are able to make better lifestyle decisions. A recent study suggests that yoga can help to manage blood sugar levels in those with Type 2 diabetes.
One of the best things about yoga is that it really is for people of all ages, sizes and abilities. It incorporates various exercises, poses (asana), breathing, and meditation routines in order to keep the body, mind and spirit in balance. There are many different types of yoga and many different poses. The poses below are meant for people who are looking for gentle stretching and relaxation opportunities as diabetic therapy. These poses should be practiced regularly alongside more vigorous exercises (of your choosing) and a healthy diet in order to manage your blood sugar levels and other symptoms of diabetes. You can also try breathing exercises (pranayama) as a part of your yoga routine. You can find more information about these poses and gentle routines online. Be sure to check with a professional before doing any pose if you are pregnant or ill.
- Legs up the wall
Helps with: headaches, glaucoma, muscle fatigue, circulation, regulating blood pressure, varicose veins, anxiety, foot and leg discomfort
- Sit on the floor beside a wall with legs stretched straight alongside the wall
- Exhale as you lie on your back
- Bring your legs into the air so that you are bending at the hips
- Shift sideways so that your legs are resting against the wall at 90 degrees (or as close to that angle as is possible)
- Relax and breathe slowly with your hands on your stomach
- Stay for up to 20 minutes
- Come out of the pose by rolling sideways slowly
Helps with: insomnia, concentration, stress, fatigue, depression
On your back, separate your legs and arms apart from your body to where it is comfortable
- Breathe deeply and close your eyes
- “Scan” the body starting with the head and moving slowly down to your toes, taking care that each part is relaxed
- Stay as still as possible as you breathe deeply
- Stay here for up to 10 minutes
- Cobra pose
Helps with: Pancreatic stimulation, circulation, tightness in upper back and chest
- Lie on your stomach with feet and legs touching or slightly apart with your forehead on the floor
- Your palms should be shoulder-height
- Inhale and raise your head as far as is comfortable, keeping your shins and feet stuck to the floor
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds
- Exhale and come down
- Gently repeat
- Child’s Pose
Helps with: Stress, anxiety, stretches legs, lower back pain.
- Kneel on the floor and sit on the heels
- Spread the thighs a little
- Exhale, bending forward with your stomach on the thighs
- Stretch your arms forward
- Breathe and hold for up to three minutes
- Seated forward bend
Helps with: Digestion, appetite, insomnia, blood pressure
- Sit on the edge of a blanket
- Inhale and reach arms up overhead
- Exhale and bend at the hips
- HOld on to knees, ankles or feet
- Go deeper with each exhale
- HOld for one minute and come out gently
*Do not do this pose if you are pregnant.
- Half Twist Pose
Helps with: Digestion, detoxification of organs, spinal flexibility, spinal nerves, hip stiffness, blood circulation to the pelvis
- Sit straight with legs stretched out
- Bend your left leg underneath you so that it touches your right buttock
- Take your right leg outside of the left knee so that your feet are on the ground
- Turn your body to the right as you exhale
- Breathe for 30 seconds
- Repeat on other side
Author Bio : Sabina Simonian is the co-founder of NootropicNation.com – a website that helps people by giving medical tips and suggestion to improve physical and mental health in daily life .