Yoga Poses for Diabetes Patients
Diabetes is a disease that results when the body does not produce sufficient hormones to break down the sugar that is ingested. This results because of the deterioration pancreas
- the only organ in the body that can produce insulin. Insulin helps in regulating the sugar in the blood by converting it into energy. When the insulin is not sufficient, the sugar does not get converted. Instead it gets accumulated in the blood causing a number of symptoms such as fatigue, unusual thirst, excessive urination, loss of weight and many other complications. No wonder, diabetics has been termed the 'Mother of all Diseases' by the medical industry.
The sad reality is that irrespective of all the research being done, the medical industry is yet to come up with a permanent solution to reactivate the deteriorated beta cells of the pancreas. The best these medicines can do is control diabetics while the dosage keeps increasing as time progresses.
Yoga and Diabetes
Yoga is an ancient method of exercising body and mind for maintaining all its functions at their optimum level. Almost all the diseases known to man can be addressed by yoga – and diabetes can be controlled by it as well. There are many postures and breathing exercises in yoga which would induce the pancreas to produce enough insulin to regulate the sugar in the body. These asanas (postures) not only repair the pancreatic cell but also induce them to secrete insulin. Some of the asanas that have proved beneficial for controlling and reversing type 2 diabetes are briefly described below:
Please do not attempt any of the asanas on your own unless you have been guided by a yoga guru or certified teacher.
- Pranayama techniques are simple breathing exercises that have extensive benefits. By mastering the art of pranayama, you can cure your body of a range of diseases including diabetics. Point to note is that you will need to invest at-least half hour a day practising pranayama. There are 7 major pranayama techniques that have been shown to be benefitial in curing diabetics. These are as follows:
1.) Bhastrika Pranayama
2.) Kapalabhati Pranayama
3.) AgniSar Kriya
4.) Bahya Pranayama
5.) Anuloma - Viloma Pranayama
6.) Bhramari pranayama
7.) Udgit pranayama
2. Mandukasana (Frog Pose)
- Mandukasana also known as the frog pose is extremely beneficial to diabetic patients as it exerts pressure on the pancreas. This pose is done sitting in Vajrasana.
- As in case of Mandukasana, this pose also exerts pressure on the stomach and particularly on the pancreas. The main difference between Madukasana and Yogamudrasana is that Yogamudrasana is done sitting in Padmasana whereas Madukasana is doing sitting in Vajrasana.
The seven pranayama techniques (mentioned above) along with Madukasana and Yogamudrasana are more than enough to cure diabetics and diabetic related problems. But there are a few other asanas that you can consider performing for maximum benefits:
4. Paschimottasana (Forward Seated Bend posture)
– This is a posture which promotes the function of the pancreas, liver and the kidneys. You will have to start by sitting on a mat with your legs stretched in front of you. Take in a deep breath. Then, slowly bend forward exhaling placing your head on your knees and reaching for your toes. Touch your toes and keep this posture for 2-3 breaths then return to the sitting position. This asana should be repeated two or three times.
5. Shalabhasana (Locust posture)
– This posture is especially effective for treating acidity and indigestion. In combination with the other two asanas it helps the digestive system and support the liver and the pancreas toning up.
6. Ardha Matsyendrasana
Ardha Matsyendrasana also known as the spine twisting pose is a tough pose and cannot be performed without constant practice. But once mastered, the benefits of this pose are immense in helping the pancreas recover.
A slightly easier pose and an alternative to Ardha Matsyendrasana is 'Vakrasana'. This pose has all the benefits of the spine twisting pose and is easier to perform.
Eating The Right Diet - Going Natural
Please remember that Yoga can help you in curing diabetics if and only if you practice a controlled diet. Bad diet is the major cause of diabetics and hence you will need to first work on the cause than the symptoms. Your pancreas stopped functioning because they were fed up of digesting bad processed food products. They gave it their best, but the bad food continued and finally they gave up. So rule of the thumb is to slowly and steadily move towards a natural diet and stop eating processed food. Salt is processed, refined sugar is processed, meat products are processed, junk food is processed. If you look at it, pretty much 80% of the food you currently eat is processed. This is the reason the pancreas stopped working.
What is a Natural Diet?
A natural diet is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables in their natural state. This means you will need to consume fruits without mixing them with other processed food products and vegetables without frying them or adding too much spices. Boil the veggies but do not fry them. Similarly do not drink processed fruit juices. Instead go for fresh fruits and vegetables.
The best way to start is by eating a 'raw food' breakfast either consisting of fruits or raw veggies and sprouts. Yes, fruits contain sugar. But the sugar contained in fruits is natural. Natural sugar can easily be digested by the body unlike processed sugar. So do not worry about consuming fruits. Only thing to bear in mind is to eat fruits only when the stomach is empty. This is why eating fruits for breakfast is a good idea. Another point to bear in mind is to avoid drinking water half hour before and after eating fruits. Fruits take a maximum of 20 minutes to get digested. So give your body the time without diluting the digestive juices by drinking water.
A good tip would be to start the day by drinking a glass of warm water and then doing pranayama for half hour followed by a fruit rich diet. Eat fruits till your stomach feels full. Avoid fruit juices. Simple point to bear in mind - do not use technology/electronics (like gas-stove or mixer) to prepare your breakfast.
If you find this beneficial, start eating fruits 2 meals a day.
What to Avoid:
1.) Avoid milk and milk products - butter, cheese, ice cream etc.
2.) Avoid tea and coffee. If you are addicted to tea or coffee, try to reduce the intake slowly and steadily until you can completely stop. Consider taking tea/coffee without adding milk
3.) Avoid food products containing refined sugar
4.) Avoid sugar substitutes. Yes, these can cause harm too
5.) Lower intake of starch rich foods like rice
6.) Avoid processed food and junk food
7.) Lower the intake of meat by replacing meat with vegetables
8.) Avoid soy milk and other processed soy products like tofu
9.) Avoid processed fruit juices
10.) Avoid soda and other fizzy drinks
11.) Avoid smoking and taking alcohol
12.) Avoid food items rich in starch
13.) Avoid taking protein supplements like whey
14.) Reduce the intake of eggs and sea food
Learning to Be Happy
One of the major causes of diabetics apart from a bad diet is stress. Try to be happy as much as possible. Do things that you love. Listen to soft music, talk with close friends, take a hot bath, watch something funny, take a vacation - in other words, do something that will keep you happy and bring you in a good mood. Remember that worrying about problems will not solve them. But being happy will ensure that problems stay away from you. Positive energy attracts positive energy and vise versa. So stop focusing on the problem and open your mind to the vastness of the universe. Practice awareness. Be aware of your being and your body. Live in the now and stop worrying about the past and the future.
Practicing Simple Exercises
Going on long walks early in the mornings is the best thing you can do to make your body healthy. You need not jog or run or ride a bicycle. Just walk slowly and steadily. Pick up your walking pace and distance as days go by. As you walk, be happy, appreciate the nature around you, inhale the fresh air and be thankful for it, listen to the birds chirp, feel the aliveness in your body and enjoy yourself.