Diabetes Management,Health,Weight Management

Yoga Poses to Help Manage Diabetes and Why It Actually Works!

June 2022

How many times have people come up to you and said, “Do yoga, it’ll help.” Be it to lose weight or get rid of some niggling pain or even manage your blood sugar levels? 

Well, there might be some truth to it. 

Yoga, is a form of exercise after all, just like brisk walking, strength training or running. 

And exercise is one of the pillars of diabetes management, right? It helps you lose weight, manage your blood sugar levels well, lowers anxiety and even makes you more flexible. 

But some people still question it’s efficacy, maybe because it’s considered a very gentle form of exercise or because it is often thought to be just a form of breathing.  

So, let’s dive into it:

Yoga has been practised for several years as a form of exercise and is a mix of breathing techniques, specific postures, and meditation. All of which,  have several benefits for both your mind and body. Some of the benefits include, the following: 

Now that you know how yoga can help, it’s time to see if there’s any scientific proof of all these benefits. 

Benefits of yoga for diabetes

1. Helps you manage your blood sugar levels better:

A study published in 2015, found that practising yoga for six months had a significant effect on lowering one’s fasting blood sugar levels (FBS) and post-prandial blood sugar (PPBS) levels [1]. Showing that practising yoga regularly could help you manage your blood sugar levels more efficiently.

2. Makes your cells respond better to insulin (increases insulin sensitivity):

Another study published in 2007 [2]found that regularly practising yoga can help increase insulin sensitivity, reduce insulin resistance and thereby increases the utilization of insulin by your body – which means your body can use insulin more readily.

3. Aids in making you stronger:

A study found that yoga helps increase muscular strength and makes you more flexible [3]Helps you lose weight: Because yoga is a form of exercise, it helps build muscle mass and therefore helps you lose weight. As per a study[4], the regular practice of yoga helps lower your BMI (body mass index), and increase your lean mass index.  

4. Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels:

Another study also found that yoga helps lower triglyceride levels, bad cholesterol (LDL), and free fatty acids[5]. Apart from that, it also helps improve good cholesterol (HDL) levels.  

5. Improves blood circulation:

While most yoga poses have several benefits the inversion poses have been found to help increase blood circulation [6].

6. Relaxes your mind and helps relieve anxiety and stress:

Because the practice of yoga involves breathing exercises, regularly practising it has been found to help reduce anxiety, stress and even blood pressure [7].

7. Improves muscle mass:

As per another study [8], since the practice of yoga involves the use of one’s own weight to add resistance to each asana, it helps increase muscle mass when practised regularly. Which means you’re more likely to lose weight faster and be stronger and more flexible.

Let’s get into the yoga poses or asanas for diabetes with pictures that can help:

1. Viprita Karani or leg up the wall pose:


Leg up wall pose | Viprita Karani

This is an inversion pose that’s perfect to help you relax. Performing this pose, under supervision, is also known to help lower stress which, in turn, helps lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The leg up the wall pose also helps relieve headaches and increase circulation. 

Steps to perform this pose:

  • Lay down with your tail bone perpendicular to a wall
  • Relax your neck, chin, and throat.
  • Stretch your arms out to the side with your palms facing up.
  • And, raise your legs against the wall
  • Remain in this pose for 5 to 15 minutes.
  • Release by slowly sliding your legs down to the side.

2. Supta Baddha Konasana or reclining bound angle pose:

Supta Baddha Konasana | reclining bound angle pose:

Perfect to calm you down, this yoga pose is also perfect to help beat any stress you might be feeling. Because of this, performing this pose can help lower our blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Apart from that, this yoga pose also helps stimulate your abdominal organs, bladder and kidneys – all of with can improve their functioning.

Steps to perform this pose: 

  • Sit down in padmasana, bring the soles of your feet together with your knees pointing outwards.
  • Next, slowly lean back until your back is flat on the floor and relax the area around your hips.
  • Rest your hands alongside your body with your palms facing up.
  • Stay in this pose for up to 10 minutes.
  • To get up, slowly bring your knees together, turn to your side and use your hands to push up into an upright sitting position.

3. Paschimottanasana or seated forward bend:

Paschimottanasana | seated forward bend

A therapeutic forward bend pose, paschimottanasana is perfect to help lower your blood pressure, promote weight loss, and relieve anxiety, headaches and fatigue.

Steps to perform this post:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended.
  • Next, bend forward from the hips and slowly move your hands towards your feet. 
  • At this point, your torso should fold over your legs, and tuck your chin to your chest. 
  • Remember to breathe while in this position

4. Urdhva mukha svanasana or upward-facing dog:

Urdhva mukha svanasana | upward-facing dog yoga pose

This backbend puts a significant load on your muscles and therefore is perfect to help build muscle mass – which in turn helps you lose weight. Apart from that, this pose also helps lower blood pressure, boost circulation, and stimulate your abdominal organs.

Steps to perform this pose:

  • Lie on your stomach with your legs extended behind you.
  • Place your palms flat on the floor keeping your forearms perpendicular to the floor.
  • Next, straighten your arms and lift your upper body.
  • Ensure to keep a slight bend in your elbows to help engage your thighs, arms and abdominal muscles. 
  • Look forward and keep your neck relaxed as you do this pose.

5. Dhanurasana or bow pose:

Dhanurasana | bow pose

This backbend pose, helps open up your chest and stimulates your abdominal organs. It also helps lower your blood sugar levels, relieve constipation and respiratory ailments.

Steps to perform this pose:

  • Lie down on your stomach.
  • And, rest your arms along your body with your palms facing upwards.
  • Bend your knees and bring your hands to the outside of your ankles.
  • Hold your ankles and lift your head, chest and knees.
  • Breathe deeply keeping your head facing forward.
  • Remain in the pose for up to 30 seconds.
  • On exhale, release the pose.

6. Supta Matsyendrasana or supine spinal twist:

Supta Matsyendrasana | supine spinal twist pose

Perfect to relieve any pain and stiffness in your spine, back and hips, this pose is also perfect to help lower your blood sugar levels and stimulate your abdominal organs.

Steps to perform this pose:

  • Lay flat on your back and fold your legs at the knees.
  • Next, extend your arms to your sides with your palms facing down.
  • Then slowly move your knees to the left side, keeping your knees together and at the hip level. 
  • Hold this pose for 30 seconds then return to the central position. 
  • Then repeat on the other side.

A word of caution: 

Yoga is great! It keeps you flexible, works as a form of exercise and as you can see has several benefits. But, because this is such a scientific practice, it is essential that it is done under the supervision of a trained professional. And as always, please speak to your Doctor before you start any new form of exercise

And that’s where Fitterfly comes in. Once you enroll at Fitterfly’s Diabefly program you have access to a trained physiotherapist who can guide you through the entire process of exercising the right way and following a plan that’s customised to your fitness level and abilities. But that’s not all, your expert will also guide you through all the exercises and help increase the intensity of the exercises you perform as you grow from strength to strength. 

Apart from that, with Diabefly, you’ll also have access to a psychologist, who’ll help you navigate all the ups and downs of managing your blood sugar levels and a nutritionist who’ll hand-hold you through the entire process of altering or adding to your diet plan to help you manage your blood sugar levels better.

So, if you want to get fitter and manage your blood sugar levels like a pro, Fitterfly’s Diabefly program is perfect for you. 

Want to learn more? Check us out at https://www.fitterfly.com/diabefly or give us a call at 022 48971077 (Ext 1)

 

Was this article helpful?

We hope you found this content useful. What if you got tailor-made advice from experts to help manage blood sugar, whenever and wherever you need it? Someone you could work with closely to get your blood sugar to healthy levels, to reduce diabetes symptoms and prevent complications?

Enquire about Diabefly

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