Diabetes And Yoga
November 3, 2006 9:54pm CST
Yoga is an ancient practice of moving the body into different poses(asanas) to achieve a healthy body, an attentive mind, and a relaxedspirit. Yoga can be used to help treat many different illnesses,including diabetes. There have been numerous clinical studies thatprove the benefits that yoga has for diabetics, because many yoga posescan positively impact circulation and help regulate body systems.Like with any other exercise regime, when you begin yoga, begin slowlyat your own pace. Don’t push yourself too hard. If you find a posedifficult, maintain it for a shorter length of time. Increasedflexibility and strength will come from practice. Monitor your bloodglucose levels before and after any period of exercise. If you feellightheaded, or experience any unexpected symptoms during exercise,stop to monitor your blood glucose and act accordingly.Here are a few poses that have been found to be beneficial for people with diabetes.Uddhiyana Banda: the stomach liftStand with your feet spaced shoulder width apart. Lean forward at yourwaist and place your hands on your knees. Inhale deeply by pushing yourabdomen forwards, then exhale deeply by pulling your abdomen in. Pausefor five to ten seconds. Inhale deeply by pushing your abdomenforwards, then exhale deeply by pulling your abdomen. During thispause, rapidly push your stomach in and out while you are notbreathing. Repeat three or four times. Stand and resume normalbreathing. This pose strengthens your abs, massages your organs, andassists your nervous system.Yoga Mudrasana: the symbol of yogaSit up straight with your legs crossed. Clench your fists and placethem on both sides of the abdomen, just below your bellybutton. Whileexhaling, bend forward as low as you can, pushing your fists againstyour abdomen. This pose is good for helping your nervous system andpreventing possible complications of diabetes. This pose can be heldfor three minutes once you have had much practice. Begin by simplyholding it for ten seconds, however.Dhanurasana: the bow poseLie on your stomach. Lift your feet towards your knees, and reach backto grasp your ankles. Lifting your legs, chest, and head, arch yourback into a bow. Hold for five seconds to begin, and work your way upto thirty seconds or more at later sessions. Repeat this action four orfive times. Once you have mastered this pose, try rocking gentlyforwards and backwards, and from side to side. This pose massages yourorgans. This pose is of moderate difficulty.Halasana: the plow poseThis pose is one of the most used yogic poses. It is complicated and soshould not be attempted right away. Begin by lying on your back. Raiseyour feet to a ninety-degree angle to your body. If you are justbeginning this pose, stop here, and hold your feet. If you are moreadvanced, lower your feet towards your head. Your pelvis will curl upand your lower back will lift from the floor. Touch your toes to thefloor behind your head. If you cannot reach your toes to the floor,then simply hold the stretch where it is comfortable. Support yourlower back with your hands if necessary. Once you no longer need tosupport your buttocks or lower back with your hands, place your handson the ground beside your body. This pose can be held for around fourminutes once you are an expert. In your early tries, begin with tenseconds or however long feels comfortable for you. This pose is not forany woman who is menstruating. This pose stretches the spine, and sohelps the central nervous system. It is beneficial to all areas of thebody.At the end of any yoga practice, particularly if you are diabetic, itis important to do Savasana, the corpse pose. This is a pose of totalrelaxation. Lie on your back, with your eyes closed, your legs slightlyspread, and your feet dropping to the sides, completely relaxed. Allowyour arms to rest comfortable at your sides. Relax, simply focusing onyour breathing for one to three minutes. This pose helps you focusafter a yoga session and relax the muscles that you have worked.The Sun Salutation is also recommended for diabetics. It is a series ofyoga asanas. You can find many variations of the sun salutation. Tryone that works best for you.If you are uncertain about trying yoga, go to a gym or alternativemedical practitioner to see if there are any yoga classes being offeredin your area. There are often many classes, and you can probably go tothe first class free. You can also join a pay-by-class gym where youcan stop by if you want. Tell your instructor that you have diabetes,and your instructor will be able to assist you by teaching you theabove poses, and by suggesting other poses such as Paschimottanasana,the sitting crane, Padangusthansana: the standing crane, Bhujangasanathe serpent pose, Sarvangasana: the shoulder stand,Ardha-matsyendrasana: the spinal twist, Chakrasana: the wheel pose, andShalabhasana the grasshopper pose. There are other poses that arebeneficial to diabetics, or that will be able to help you prevent ormanage any complications you might encounter.