Diabetes is a chronic ailment that occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin (hormone) or when our body cannot use it productively. This hormone regulates the blood sugar levels in our body. It also helps move the sugar (from the food consumed) from the blood to our cells to be used as energy or stored for the future. In layman language, diabetes occurs when the blood sugar levels (also known as blood glucose levels) rise than the normal value.
High blood sugar levels make our body easily prone to complications such as stroke and other heart diseases, can affect our eyes (blindness in critical condition), kidney and other organs, and can even lead to foot ulcers and infection.
The ailment is mainly of two types- Type 1 and Type 2. In pregnancy, the condition is known as gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is mostly diagnosed in infants and teens (a condition when our immune system kills the beta cells present in the pancreas for insulin production). In such cases, the pancreas either stops making the hormone altogether or produces insufficient quantity.
Type 2 develops most often in middle-aged and the elderly (a condition that occurs because of the body’s ineffective use of insulin). Though it can occur due to both genetics and lifestyle reasons, obesity is a major factor contributing to having Type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes develops due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. The blood sugar levels rise in this case and both the mother and the baby are at a huge risk.
The basic symptoms of diabetes include:
- Increased hunger and thirst
- Weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Sores which take a long time to heal or don’t heal
- Decreased sex drive, and erectile dysfunction and poor muscle strength in men
- Urinary tract infection, dry and itchy skin in women
In the scenario of gestational diabetes- most women don’t show symptoms and can be detected during the prenatal period.
Yogic Cure for Diabetes
Yoga is the best method to relax your mind, body, and soul. Certain poses can help lower blood sugar levels along with improving the blood circulation in the body. It helps stimulate the circulatory and nervous system and the pancreas which further aids in insulin production.
We have enlisted a few simple yoga poses for you which are can be effective for people suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes and can be done easily by all age groups.
Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-wall pose)
This is one of the relaxing poses and helps people suffering from low blood sugar and blood pressure along with improving blood circulation and relieving body ache. The asana will be complete when your butt, thighs, and calves touch the wall. The elderly and those with back issues can stick to the basic pose while others can go for the advanced version which is similar to a supported shoulder stand. You can support your spine gently with your hands. Just make sure to breathe slowly and release the asana gently.
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining bound angle pose)
This pose will help lower blood pressure, sugar and stress levels and help in stimulating the abdominal organs. It can be started either with the legs stretched straight and then brought towards the pelvis or can be done after you lie down on the bed and then fold your legs. The knees will be stretched and opened out and should touch the ground. The soles will be together, touching each other (Just like the butterfly pose).
You can place your hands on your calves (for a light stretch or on the thighs (for a deep stretch) to help the knees touch the ground. A blanket/towel can also be used for support. The asana is working if you feel a stretch in your thighs. Just release it slowly by gently bringing your knees together and sitting up straight.
Supta Matsyendrasana (Lying-down body twist)
This pose is one of the easiest ones and is beneficial not only for the abdominal organs and to lower blood sugar levels but also for stiffness and pain in the lower back and hips. You can place your hand gently on your legs to apply pressure on them to ensure that they touch the ground.
Child’s pose (Balasana)
Apart from helping people suffering from diabetes, it also provides relaxation and relief from back pain and reduces stress. The pose is started from vajrasana (sitting on your feet) and is followed by kneeling. With each exhale, slowly move an inch forward. The main aim is to stretch your hands out in the front, the head should touch the ground, palms should be on the floor and the back should be straight and stretched. The heels will support the buttock and the pelvis should rest on the thighs.
Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
This is the final resting yoga pose. This pose takes the body into a deep meditative state, letting it relax and rejuvenate. Legs should be stretched, spread apart, making a Y shape. Palms should be out on the sides and the body should be completely relaxed.
In addition to the above poses, you can also include Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward facing dog), Setu Bandhasana (bridge), Bhujangasana (cobra pose), Dhanurasana(bow- pose), Ardha Matsyendrasana (half spinal twist pose), navasana, kapalbhati and pranayama in your regime. It is advisable to consult with your doctor before you practice them at home. Also, gradually increase the duration and the repetition of the poses. Apart from following the path of the yogic cure for diabetes, a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, avoiding the use of tobacco and intake of sugar and saturated fats, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, timely intake of medicines are all essential to control the sugar levels.