Yoga for diabetes

Diabetes can affect people at any age, leading to complications like heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and even amputations. With the rising number of persons in Malta being diagnosed with diabetes, it is no wonder that the need for treating the disease is on the increase.

One way to keep diabetes under control is through yoga practice. Turning to yoga is an effort to keep this condition under control and improve the overall quality of life. Yoga for diabetes provides unique benefits that can effectively restore the body to natural health and proper function.

It has been scientifically proven that yoga helps reduce the sugar level in the blood and improve glucose metabolism, lowering blood pressure and keeping weight in check. Yoga practice can reduce the severity of the symptoms and slow the rate of progression of the disease, apart from lessening the possibility of further complications.

A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found practising yoga regularly caused short-term improvement in fasting glucose. It has been discovered that certain yoga postures’ direct stimulation of the pancreas revitalised its capacity to produce insulin. Yogic exercise has also been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are often accompanying symptoms of diabetes.  Another study found that subjects who practised yoga had an increase in measures of nerve conduction.

By integrating the mind with the body, yoga can relieve the daily stresses that often lie at the heart of diabetic symptoms. The stress we experience in our day-to-day lives can accumulate and lead to ‘emotional eating’, leading to obesity. Stress increases the secretion of glucagon (a hormone responsible for increasing blood glucose levels) in the body. Consistent yoga practice can help reduce stress in mind and protect the body from its adverse effects. This, in turn, reduces the amount of glucagon and improves insulin action.

Yoga can, directly and indirectly, have a great positive effect on diabetes. It increases willpower, self-confidence, strength and discipline, which can greatly help weight loss and other health issues. For those looking to prevent diabetes or gain relief from the disease, adopting a healthy lifestyle incorporating yoga for diabetes can offer a better way of life.