Diabetes is a chronic disease which develops when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the pancreas produces insulin but the body is incapable of using insulin effectively. Diabetes is of two types, type 1 diabetes, which is characterized by the lack of insulin production and type 2 diabetes, which is characterized by the body’s ineffective use of insulin. This is a rapidly emerging problem and millions of people worldwide are affected by this disease. Diabetes has numerous symptoms and it is also associated with many complications. Frequent urination, rapid weight loss, unusual thirst, tingling in hands and feet, and slow healing are some of the common symptoms of diabetes. Elevated blood sugar level is also associated with many complications such as it can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, eyes and diabetes is one of the major cause of erectile dysfunction. There are the variety of medicines to treat diabetes but various studies have shown that yoga has an immediate effect in regulating the blood glucose level.
Monitoring and managing blood glucose level plays an important part in diabetes self management. Yoga allows people to engage in physical activity which is an important behavioral component of diabetes management. The asanas or yoga postures have many effects such as
- Strengthening and balancing of muscles
- Improvement of posture
- Improvement of breathing
- Promotes the functioning of cardiovascular, endocrine, digestive and other systems of the human's body.
Numerous studies have examined the effects of yoga on diabetes and they found out that yoga is associated with various physical benefits and a significant reduction in fasting and postprandial blood glucose level. Other than blood glucose level, yoga also affects the factors that have a direct relationship with the development of diabetes such as total cholesterol level, low protein lipoprotein, triglycerides, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and weight management.
Almost every yoga posture stretches the abdominal part of the human body and this stretching leads to regeneration of cells of the pancreas by increasing the metabolism and utilization of glucose. It also improves the blood supply to the muscles and muscular relaxation, it enhances the insulin receptor expression and hence better uptake of glucose and reduced blood sugar. The yoga postures improve the sensitivity of the cells of the pancreas to glucose signals and it also improves insulin secretion. Also, stress is considered as one of the major factors that leads to the development of diabetes and it also worsens the symptoms in a diabetic patient. Yoga has been found to reverses the negative impact of stress on the immune system by increasing the levels of immunoglobulin.
Yoga has a beneficial effect on the insulin resistance and lipid metabolism. Insulin resistance is the major cause of the development of type 2 diabetes and as it progresses it is the cause of many other health problems as well. Yoga reduces the free fatty acid levels and lipotoxicity and it is shown to have a positive impact on the diabetic patient. There are many different types of yoga postures and some of the best yoga postures that every diabetic patient must try are:
1. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Dhanurasana is one of the best postures to perform regularly as this single pose is not only beneficial for diabetic patients but it has numerous beneficial effects for the entire human body. It improves the functions of the liver, pancreas, small intestine, and large intestine. It stretches the entire body, improves the postures and strengthens the muscles. This is an effective posture to treat many health problems which are directly or indirectly associated with diabetes. Some other effects of this yoga posture include:
- Effective for weight loss
- Acts as a stress reliever
- Improves blood circulation
- Stimulates reproductive organs
2. Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose)
Sarvangasana is another yoga pose that has wonderful benefits for the health. It works great for the internal organs of the body and makes the functioning of these sensitive organs smooth. It greatly influences the functioning of all the parts of the body. It is one of the best poses to improve the problems that increase the risk of developing diabetes such as hypertension. This posture has a positive impact on the nerves that is good for those who suffer from hypertension, stress, nervous breakdown and shortness of temper. Some other benefits of this posture include:
- Soothes a headache
- Strengthens the muscles
- Treats insomnia
3. Halasana (Plough Pose)
Halasana is an excellent asana for diabetic patients as it has a direct impact on the blood sugar level of the body and it normalizes the sugar level. It helps in reducing stress, tiredness and stimulates the reproductive systems as well. Practicing this posture daily nurtures the entire body and increases the blood flow to all the organs. It balances the secretion in the glands and helps relieve hypertension. Some other beneficial effects of halasana include:
- Strengthens the back muscle
- Strengthens the immune system
- Increases blood circulation
- Improves asthma