How Does Yoga Help Prevent or Relieve Diabetes?

yoga for diabetes

A diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes may seem to carry the weight of a life sentence, but for many people, adopting key lifestyle changes, such as a healthier diet and exercise, can help manage, reduce, and even eliminate diabetic symptoms. Even those who are at a more advanced stage of the disease can find a greater degree of comfort and physical function through incorporating healthy practices into their routine.

For those wondering how to prevent diabetes or even relieve the condition, a number of studies have revealed that yoga can reduce contributing factors and help patients cope with diabetic symptoms. Although regular exercise can help, yoga for diabetes provides unique benefits that can effectively restore the body to a state of natural health and proper function.

Yoga postures for diabetes switch back and forth between asanas (poses) that contract specific areas of the abdomen and asanas that relax those areas. This alternation between abdominal contractions and release stimulates the pancreas, increasing blood and oxygen supply. As a result, the pancreatic cells, buffeted by nutrients and fresh blood flow, undergo a rejuvenation that improves the organ’s ability to produce insulin. Yogic breathing practices also work in a similar way to stimulate healthy pancreatic function.

In addition to postures that directly stimulate the pancreas and aid in insulin production, the exercise yoga provides reduces blood sugar levels and helps relieve one of the main symptoms of diabetes: hypoglycemia. Yogic exercise has also been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both of which are often accompanying symptoms for diabetes. 

In addition to breathing exercises and yoga postures for diabetes, the meditation segment included in most yoga for diabetes classes has been shown to encourage proper functioning of the endocrine glands through relaxing the sympathetic nervous system.

But yoga’s benefits for those with diabetes aren’t just physical: the process can help patients with the condition or its pre-indicators on more fundamental levels as well. By calming the awareness and integrating the mind with the body, yoga can relieve the daily stresses that often lie at the heart of diabetic symptoms.

The stress we experience in our day to day lives can accumulate, causing high blood pressure and high cholesterol and leading to “emotional eating,” which in turn leads to obesity. All of these symptoms of stress play key roles in the development of diabetes, and, if managed properly, can prevent the condition from developing or even turn the tide against it.

For those looking for how to prevent diabetes or gain relief from the disease, adopting a healthy lifestyle that incorporates yoga postures for diabetes can offer patients with the condition of its pre-indicators a new lease on life.