Overcoming Diabetes with Yoga

Written by Dr. Minakshi Welukar.

Diabetes will spread as an epidemic in the world during the first quarter of 21st century, as per the report published on Pubmed. Such global burden of diabetes makes the 'change in our lifestyle pattern' as a first necessary step in its prevention and control.


When it comes to changing in lifestyle pattern eating healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and stress reduction comes in a role. Studies have shown that routine yoga practice takes care of all these factors and hence helps to maintain a blood-sugar level near normal range for long-term.

Diabetes is a disease characterized by abnormal blood-sugar level due to inability of a body to produce or respond to insulin. It turns out deadliest when associated with complications such as heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, foot infection and unconsciousness associated with a low blood-sugar level. Additionally, diabetes sufferers are exhausted with frequent doctor's visits, finger prick to test blood-sugar level, or daily insulin injections.

In medicine, it always says that Prevention is better than cure. In such a scenario preventing a blood sugar from rising is anyway a good option to keep diabetes and its complications under a wrap. Such approach also helps to live longer life in diabetes patients.

Principal focus of yoga, 'balance between body, mind and spirit', is the key in improving the psychological aspect of human. Likewise, various yoga postures tone up the abdominal organs for better functioning and stimulates the endocrine system to achieve a proper level of insulin. All such things are immensely significant in diabetes control.

Various studies report yoga and breathing techniques as a simple and effective way in defeating to this deadly disease without spending too much.

Restore Insulin Sensitivity

Yoga is found to increase the number of insulin binding receptors in type 2 diabetes sufferers. Insulin receptors favor proper glucose utilization improving blood sugar profile documented in journal science publication.

Yoga causes muscle relaxation and improves blood flow to the muscles which may enhance insulin receptors on muscles causing increase glucose uptake.

Reduce Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is a condition where free radicals, a highly reactive oxygen species, damage cells. Oxidative stress is a risk factor for many chronic illnesses, including diabetes. Yoga has found to reduce oxidative stress and normalize blood sugar profile, according to study published on journal Diabetes care.

Along with this, yoga helps to shed those extra pounds that can pose a threat of diabetes.

Modify Risk Factors

Yoga improves nerve function in diabetes preventing neuropathic complications such as a foot ulcer.

Yoga stabilizes the pulse rate, blood pressure, cholesterol profile and hence beneficial to avoid the heart problems in diabetes.

Yoga reduces waist-hip ratio favoring fat redistribution that helps to control diabetes.

Normalise Hormonal Chemistry

Yoga has very positive impact in reducing stress-related hormones such as adrenaline, nor-adrenaline, glucagon and cortisol all of which pose a risk for diabetes and its complication.

On the other hand yoga increases insulin release from pancreas favouring sugar utilization.

Improve Quality of Life

Yogic breathing program such as Pranayam and Sudarshan kriya help to achieve good blood sugar control in diabetes. Additionally, sufferers show improvement in physical, social and psychological areas. All these factors help in improvement of quality of life in diabetes as per study published on Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Asanas Recommended for Diabetes Patients

Hence, Yoga is gaining its popularity as a complementary therapy adjuvant to diet and medication for diabetes.

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