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Yoga for Diabetes: Top 5 Yoga Poses to Improve Health and Wellness

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Amidst the global canvas of health challenges, diabetes stands as a chronic ailment impacting countless lives. Diabetes is a silent killer that affects more than 400 million people worldwide. It can cause damage to your heart, kidneys, nerves, and eyes, and increase your risk of infections and amputations. If you have diabetes, you know how hard it is to keep your blood sugar levels in check. You have to monitor your diet, exercise, and medication, and deal with the emotional and psychological stress of living with a chronic illness. But what if there was a simple and effective way to control your diabetes, using nothing but your own body and mind? That’s the power of yoga.

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Yoga Benefits for Individuals Dealing with Diabetes

  •  Enhances insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and lipid metabolism, aiding in blood sugar level management and preventing complications.
  •  Lowers blood pressure by relaxing the nervous system, reducing cardiovascular risks like stroke.
  •  Aids weight management through increased metabolic rate and reduced appetite, countering obesity, a major diabetes risk.
  •  Stimulates pancreatic function, aiding insulin production and blood sugar regulation.
  •  Alleviates stress, anxiety, and depression, improving emotional well-being crucial for those with diabetes.

While yoga complements a healthy lifestyle, consult a doctor before starting, and practice under an experienced instructor’s guidance. Although beneficial, yoga doesn’t offer a complete cure for diabetes.

Top 5 Yoga Poses for Diabetes

Sr. No Yoga Poses
1 Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)
2 Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
3 Seat Forward Bend
4 Supported Shoulder Stand
5 Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)

Power Of Yoga: SURYA NAMASKAR | KreedOn
Image Source: blogspot.com

Objectives

Stretch and open your hamstrings, chest, and shoulders.

Advantages

Regulate blood sugar levels, amplify blood circulation, and improve insulin sensitivity.

Steps

  1. Stand confidently on your yoga mat, spine erect, and core engaged. Inhale deeply, joining your palms together.
  2. Gradually raise and arch your arms backward.
  3. Exhale as you step forward, elongating your spine and relaxing your neck downward.
  4. Inhale and extend your right leg back, right knee touching the ground.
  5. Keep the left knee bent at a right angle, pressing palms firmly against the floor.
  6. Fix your gaze ahead, briefly holding your breath.
  7. Transition your left leg backward, forming a plank position.
  8. Exhale and slowly lower your body till knees, chest, and chin meet the ground.
  9. Inhale, lifting your upper body, eyes gazing skyward.
  10. Exhale, pushing up to an inverted-V shape.
  11. Bring your right leg forward, maintaining steady breath.
  12. While pulling the left leg front, exhale deeply.
  13. Bend gently, touching your toes, then palms flat on the ground.
  14. Inhale, raising your arms and arching your back, palms joining above your head.
  15. Repeat the entire sequence 5-10 times.

Surya Namaskar stands as a complete yoga practice, intertwining physical postures, breathwork, and mindfulness. While regular practice of Surya Namaskar can aid in overall health management by enhancing insulin sensitivity and metabolism, there isn’t conclusive evidence to assert it as a standalone cure for diabetes. When integrated into a comprehensive diabetes management plan, including diet, medication, and lifestyle changes, Surya Namaskar can serve as a supportive practice, potentially assisting in better blood sugar control and overall well-being for individuals managing diabetes. 


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Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose

Yoga poses for diabetes | KreedOn
Image Source: radiantpeach.com

Objectives

Loosening and relaxing the hamstrings, pelvis, lower back, and front torso.

Advantages 

Alleviates muscle tension, reduces stress, and aids in managing blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Steps

  1. Place a towel or yoga mat near a wall.
  2. Lie on the mat with your right side next to the wall.
  3. Gradually raise your legs up the wall, ensuring they remain straight and together.
  4. Adjust until your hips are close to the wall and you feel comfortable.
  5. Relax your arms by your sides, palms facing up.
  6. Take deep breaths and hold this pose for 5 to 15 minutes.
  7. To exit, bend your knees, roll to your side, then slowly sit up, allowing a moment to feel the effects.

The Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose serves as a beneficial yoga posture, effectively easing muscle tension and stress while assisting in the management and equilibrium of blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Incorporating this pose into a routine offers a holistic approach to well-being and relaxation.

Seat Forward Bend

Strengthen and elongate the pelvis, lower back, and calf muscles.

Benefits 

Reduces blood pressure, aids in weight management, and promotes relaxation by alleviating anxiety and muscle tension.

Steps

Seated Forward Bend | KreedOn
Image Source: PopSugar
  1. Begin seated on a yoga mat with your legs extended forward.
  2. If your knees feel discomfort, support them with a cushion.
  3. While hinging at the hips, extend your arms to reach for your toes.
  4. Aim to bend forward, allowing your chest to touch your legs.
  5. Hold this posture for 1-3 minutes, ensuring not to overexert.
  6. Avoid pushing beyond your comfort zone; only stretch as far as you can without experiencing pain.

This Seated Forward Bend, with its focus on stretching and strengthening key muscle groups, emerges as a beneficial yoga posture known to assist in reducing blood pressure, managing weight, and fostering relaxation by easing both anxiety and muscle tension. Incorporating this pose into your routine holds potential benefits for overall well-being and fitness.


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Supported Shoulder Stand

Shoulderstand  | KreedOn
Image Source: Verywell Fit

Objectives 

Strengthens and tones abs, shoulders, and quadriceps.

Benefits

Increases blood flow, activates the thyroid gland, reduces stress, and enhances insulin sensitivity.

Steps 

  1. This yoga pose, beneficial for diabetes, can be challenging. Seek assistance if needed.
  2. Lay a yoga mat on the floor and position yourself lying down. Use folded towels for shoulder comfort.
  3. Place palms alongside your body, facing downwards.
  4. Gradually elevate both legs towards your head, supporting your hips with your palms.
  5. Aim for alignment among shoulders, hips, and spine with raised legs.
  6. Maintain the pose for 30 seconds.
  7. Lower your legs and return to the starting position.

The Supported Shoulder Stand, while challenging, offers targeted benefits by strengthening specific muscle groups and promoting various physiological advantages, such as improved blood circulation, thyroid activation, stress reduction, and enhanced insulin sensitivity. Integrating this pose into a yoga routine may complement diabetes management by supporting overall health and well-being.

Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Objectives 

Yoga for Diabetes | KreedOn
Image Source: Yoga Journal
  • Aims to relax the nervous system, alleviate stress, potentially balancing blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  • Works on inner thighs, groin, pelvic, and lower back muscles.

Benefits

  • Soothes the nervous system, potentially aiding in stress reduction and balancing blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
  • Activates abdominal organs, bladder, and kidneys.

Steps

  1. Sit and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing knees to open outwards.
  2. For comfort, place a cushion beneath your knees.
  3. Gently recline until your back touches the floor.
  4. Release tension around the hips.
  5. Position palms facing up beside your body.
  6. Softly increase leg and hip stretch by pressing down on thighs.
  7. Maintain the pose for up to 10 minutes.
  8. To exit, use your hands to lift and bring knees together, then slowly sit up.

The Reclining Bound Angle Pose, designed to relax the nervous system and potentially aid in stress reduction while engaging various muscles, holds potential benefits for balancing blood pressure, sugar levels, and activating key internal organs. Integrating this pose into a yoga routine may contribute positively to overall wellness and stress management for individuals managing diabetes.


Also Read | 16 Best Yoga Accessories for home that you must have in 2022 for a better health and a better life


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which exercise is best for diabetes?

Pranayama, specifically Anulom-Vilom exercise, has proven effective in regulating the insulin-to-glucose ratio and providing relief from diabetes by calming the nervous system.

Can people with diabetes do yoga?

Certainly, individuals who have diabetes are capable of engaging in yoga, but it is important for them to seek advice from their doctor before initiating any unfamiliar exercise routine. Yoga has the ability to decrease blood sugar levels, alleviate stress, enhance blood flow, and mitigate diabetes-related complications.

What are the benefits of yoga for diabetes?

Engaging in yoga can effectively revitalize pancreatic cells, which in turn encourages the production of insulin, enhances muscle strength, facilitates weight loss, and alleviates stress. Additionally, yoga has the potential to decrease blood pressure, alleviate anxiety, headaches, and fatigue, and bolster the immune system.

How often should I do yoga for diabetes?

The recommended frequency and duration of yoga practice may vary, but generally, it is advised to do yoga at least three times a week, with each session lasting 30 to 60 minutes.

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