Yoga & Diabetes
Yogacharya Vishwas Mandlik & Dr. Sujit Chandratreya (DM, DNB, MD) (Endocrinologist, Diabetologist)
Yoga & Diabetes
Diabetes Mellitus is a disease related to the impaired glucose tolerance of the body, insulin functioning is affected. Symptoms of diabetes can be excessive thirst, excessive hunger or excessive / frequent urination.
Diabetes Mellitus can be of Type 1 or Type 2 or pancreatic diabetes or gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by No production of insulin and this is very difficult to treat with Yoga.
Type 2 diabetes which is caused by life style, stress related diseases can be effectively treated with Yoga.
Sun Salutation is very good exercise for people suffering from diabetes, it increases the blood supply to various parts of body, improving insulin administration in the body, it gives all the benefits of exercise if practiced at 4 rounds per minute. If practiced at slow speed, it offers the benefits of asanas.
Asanas are beneficial in treatment of diabetes. Important aspect of Asanas is stability and comfort experienced in the position. After attaining the position, one needs to relax all the muscles and try to maintain the positions for long. Due to various twists, stretches and strains in the body, the internal organs are stretched and subjected to strain. This increases the blood supply, oxygen supply to the organs increasing the efficiency and functioning of the organ. Stretching various glands result in increased efficiency of the endocrine system. Asanas like Dhanurasana (Bow pose in prone position), Ardhamatsyendrasana (Half spinal twist), Vajrasana Yoga Mudra, Pavan Muktasana, Sarvangasana, Halasana, Matsyasana have been found useful in diabetes. These asanas have positive effect on pancreas and also insulin functioning. But to get this result, one needs to maintain the asana for longer duration while relaxing the muscles.
There are 8 types of Pranayama mentioned in Hatha Yoga. One of the basic
preparations for Pranayama is Nadi Shodhan Pranayama or alternate nostril
breathing, this type is found useful in diabetes as Alternate nostril
breathing has calming effect on nervous system, which reduces stress
levels, helping in diabetes treatment. Also research has shown that
Bhramari and Bhasrika Pranayama help in diabetes. Bharamari has calming
effect on mind, brain and nervous system. Bhasrika Pranayama is
revitalizing Pranayama, which increases oxygen levels and reduces carbon
dioxide levels in the blood. In bhasrika Pranayama, the abdominal muscles
and diaphragm are used which puts pressure on the internal organs. But
before practicing these Pranayama, one must learn and practice deep
breathing, fast breathing, alternate nostril breathing, Bandhas
(Jalandhar bandha or chin lock, moola bandha and Uddiyan bandha or abdominal lock) from expert Guru.
Note - Pranayama should be practiced under the expert guidance of Yoga Guru.
Practice of meditation is especially useful in management of stress. Relaxed and Concentrated state of mind is the aim of any form of meditation which creates calming effect on nervous system, brings balance between Sympathetic and Parasympathetic nervous systems. Initially meditation may be difficult, and one can practice Omkar Chanting, concentration on breathing. Especially for diabetes, concentration on pancreas during the meditation practice has shown positive effects on sugar levels. One can even visualize the proper functioning of pancreas, proper insulin administration in the body can help in treatment of diabetes.
Yoga Nidra is very important process of deep relaxation, it helps alleviate the stress and has very good positive effects on the entire body - mind complex.
Master cleansing or Shankha Prakshalana is recommended for diabetes, complete Shankha Prakshalana takes 1 day and is recommended once in 6 months, but smaller version of it can be done 3 times a week. This process cleanses the Gastro Intestinal tract completely. This process is done by drinking 2 glasses of warm, salty water and lemon juice is added to it. Then performing 6 different exercises, this exercises speed up the peristaltic movements and one needs to evacuate bowels. In 2 hours about 7 to 8 bowels are completed till the clear water is evacuated.