Yogic therapy for diabetes

Yogic therapy for diabetes

India has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. Even Indians who have shifted abroad are susceptible to it, indicating that diabetes causes are either genetic, with behaviourally inherited triggers (dietary or lifestyle habits), a sedentary life-style and disinterest towards exercise in general.

However, regular yogic practice and lifestyle modifications that include yogic dietary habits can help control diabetes in the adult onset type of this ailment.

Where such changes complement a conventional medical treatment, the results can be dramatic. It is important to be proactive about this disease which can accompany or cause other problems like eye-sight failure, vulnerability to infections (especially of the skin and uro-genital system), circulatory problems, including heart ailments and high blood pressure.

Yogic therapy works by rejuvenating the main glands involved with diabetes, like the pancreas that is involved with insulin release. The stress glands also seem to be implicated, where a high stress level can overload the blood with high sugar as a response to stress.

By relearning the art of relaxation, by including regular meditation and calming pranayamas (breathing practices), this trigger can also be defused effectively with yoga.

Apart from the following practices for which instructions are provided, it is important to include other practices. These are pranayama (breathing practices) such as bhastrika (bellows breathing), kapalabhati (skull-cleansing practice), nadi shodhana (purification of energy channels) and bhramari (humming bee). Include surya mudra (explained in detail in our earlier special on mudras).

If there is an accompanying problem of blood pressure avoid bhastrika, kapalabhati and surya mudra since these tend to aggravate the problem. A regular practice of yoga nidra of at least ten-minute duration is a must.

Shameem Akthar, yoga acharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Kerala, leads you through five yogic practices that help in management of diabetes.

Janu sirsasana (Head to knee pose)

Sit on the floor. Extend legs, with right leg bent at knee and right sole placed against left thigh. Inhale and raise both hands.

Exhaling, lower hands to right foot. Simultaneously lower head to place it on right thigh. It may not be possible initially, so just lower the head as much as you can.

Continue normal breathing throughout. Inhale, raising head and hands to return to starting position. Repeat thrice. Then repeat entire sequence for left leg.

Avoid: In case of lower back problems and high BP.

Benefits: The stiffness in the body, resulting from diabetes, is ironed out gently. The pressure on the abdomen helps rejuvenate the islet of Langerhans, the pancreas and adrenal glands -- all of which are overworked in a diabetic.

Viparita karani asana (Psychic inverted pose)

Lie on your back. Keep your hands along your body. Palms must be flat on the ground. Inhale.

Hoist yourself up by pressing down palms, lifting hips off the ground. Hold raised hips with palms. Now the body weight is transferred to palms, elbows and neck.

Continue normal breathing throughout. Hold for a few seconds. Release palms, pressing them back on ground, gently lower hips, so the spine folds back to the ground. Lower legs. Rest till breath returns to normal.

Points to note: Though this is a simple practice, it must be learnt under guidance of a yoga instructor.

Avoid: If having high blood pressure or heart problems, neck pain.

Benefits: It is a cure-all pose with powerful healing impact due to the anti-gravity, anti-aging effect on the body.

Navkasana (Boat pose)

This can be done both from the seated or supine position. The former is easier.

Sit up straight with your legs together. Inhale, lift legs off the ground, about a foot high. Place hands alongside knees. Continue normal breathing. Hold the pose for a short while only, initially. Exhaling, lower legs back to ground. Relax by lying back.

Avoid: If having lower back problems.

Benefits: This works out the entire body. The pressure on the abdomen has tremendous value in diabetes management.

Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

Lie on your stomach with your chin on the floor and palms on either side of your shoulders. Inhale. Raise chin and shoulder off the floor arching back. Your eyes should look up at the ceiling, stomach should remain pressed on the floor so the arch is emphasised at the lower back. Hold for a few seconds initially. Breathe normally throughout.

To return to the starting position, exhale and lower back gently to the floor. Attempt thrice. With a few weeks or even months of practice, you can do this pose only once but extend time to half a minute or more in the final position.

Avoid: In case of abdominal inflammations and flare-ups and severe lower backache and hyper-thyroidism.

Benefits: Same as previous. It also helps with weight loss.

Ardha matysendra asana (Half spinal twist)

Sit on your heels, kneeling in the classic vajrasana or thunderbolt pose, explained in detail in our earlier special on yoga for meditation.

Lower hips to the ground on the left. Pass right foot over bent left knee. Inhale, raising left hand over head, bend it, pressing left elbow over right knee.

Simultaneously place right palm on ground behind you. Exhaling, twist as much as you can to the right. Continue breathing, holding the pose for as long as you comfortably can. Release. Repeat the sequence for the other side.

Avoid: In severe back problem, inflammatory conditions.

Benefits: The powerful twist impacts the glands associated with diabetes. It helps fight fat. Aids breathing.

Source: Reidff.com



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