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Role of Yoga in Diabetes
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Yoga in Diabetes

Diabetes Mellitus can be of Type 1 or Type 2 or pancreatic diabetes or gestational diabetes.

Yoga helps only in Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by beta cell destruction and hence  no production of insulin . Here there is no role of  Yoga.

Similarly Yoga is not useful for pancreatic diabetes or gestational diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes which is caused by life style, stress related diseases can be, effectively, controlled with Yoga.

Stress has been shown to play an important role in diabetes by elevating blood glucose levels and increasing the odds of developing certain complications, such as heart disease, stroke and infections. And having a chronic disease that requires major lifestyle changes and constant monitoring can be very stressful in itself. Research shows that chronically elevated levels of cortisol (hormone produced by the stress response) can lead to blood sugar problems, insulin resistance, and diabetes. Yoga and meditation are the two best practices to reduce stress and yoga has been shown to dramatically lower cortisol levels in the body.  Forward bending poses have a calming effect on the body as well as nurturing poses like child, supine bound angle, knee down twist, and half pyramid. Practicing Dirgha and Nadi Sodhana pranayamas will also be calming and stress reducing.

Following are useful in type 2 Diabetes:

Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)

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 controlling 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, and 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 Bhastrika Pranayama help in diabetes. Bharamari has calming effect on mind, brain and nervous system. Bhastrika Pranayama is revitalizing Pranayama, which increases oxygen levels and reduces carbon dioxide levels in the blood. In Bhastrika Pranayama, the abdominal muscles and diaphragm are used which puts pressure on the internal organs. But before practicing these Pranayama, one must learn from expert Yoga instructor and practice deep breathing, fast breathing, alternate nostril breathing, Bandhas (Jalandhar bandha or chin lock, moola bandha and Uddiyan bandha or abdominal lock).


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 to concentrate 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

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.

Cleansing Processes

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 added to it. Then 6 different exercises should be performed. These exercises speed up the peristaltic movements and one needs to evacuate bowels. In 2 hours about 7 to 8 bowel-cleansing are completed. One should continue the exercise till the clear water is evacuated.


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