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Yoga For Diabetics: How Yoga Helps Cure and Prevent Type II Diabetes

Neelmani

Posted on Aug 11, 2021 #undefined

While Type I diabetes is often not preventable (and mostly due to genetics or environmental factors), Type II diabetes is running rampant in America. 

As a matter of fact, 90-95% of people with diabetes have Type II.

Type II diabetes is preventable and even curable! And yoga is a natural and holistic way to do just that. 

Because diabetes is the cause of secondary health issues like neuropathy, infections, immune problems, kidney issues, eye damage, and heart disease, I wanted to make sure all people had access to therapeutic yoga designed specifically for diabetics.

That’s why I started teaching a Therapeutic Yoga for Diabetes class on MyYogaTeacher! If you haven’t become an MYT member yet, I encourage you to take advantage of their 2-week free trial. You’ll have access to my class and 35+ other classes, one of which will surely meet your needs!

In the meantime, I felt it was important to discuss exactly how yoga helps cure and prevent this terrible disease.

1. Yoga encourages behavioral changes

Even though yoga is an ancient practice, it is just now starting to be recognized worldwide as a practical and applicable treatment for many types of illnesses, including Type II Diabetes.

While yoga is traditionally seen as a spiritual practice of enlightenment, it is, just as importantly, a practice of health management. Studies show that the mind-body connection that results from a regular yoga practice is directly linked to improved dietary lifestyles and medication compliance.

Yoga provides plenty of opportunities for self-awareness, reflection, and behavioral changes.

Also, the meditation aspect of therapeutic yoga for diabetics reduces mindless eating practices that occur when we’re stressed out, burnt out, or emotional. This is called mindful eating.

Stopping the cycles of emotional and binge eating is a huge part of healthy lifestyle changes, but especially crucial for Type II diabetics!

Mindful eating is proven to help people increase their intake of fruits and vegetables and take more notice of actual hunger cues versus eating out of boredom or stress. 

A consistent yoga practice also improves discipline. Being more disciplined often carries over into other parts of life! Disciplined eaters focus more on food nutrition (eating to fuel your body) and less on random eating.

And because yoga meets you where you are, it’s an easy exercise for anyone to start at any age! Which means you are more likely to keep practicing it. Weight loss can be an effective treatment for Type II Diabetes. Yoga definitely helps with that!

2. Yoga creates positive psychological changes.

Earlier, I mentioned stress eating, boredom eating, and emotional eating. All of which are often harmful to your health.

If you haven’t read some of our other articles about how yoga affects your mental health, you might want to check out “Five Ways Meditation Can Start Improving Your Life Right Now”  or “How Yoga Helps You Handle Trying Times in the New Year.”

Both of those are great!

But for now, I can give you some ways yoga specifically helps Type II diabetics manage their mental health better, which helps prevent those harmful eating patterns while also benefiting your glucose levels!

  • Yoga for diabetics includes meditation, which reduces stress, relaxes muscles, and relieves tension, several things that specifically help diabetics feel better.
  • Hormones and chemicals such as serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin are released into the body during yoga, which alters your mood in a positive way, preventing emotional eating.
  • The consistent practice of yoga is shown to cause physical changes to the brain, which have psychological side effects like more mental stability, the ability to handle stress better, and faster reactions to stimuli.

Yoga is meditation. It’s not just a physical exercise. It’s a spiritual practice! But it doesn’t have to be related to religion. 

Many people are hesitant to start a yoga practice because they’ve been led to believe it’s religion-based. I feel it’s important for everyone to understand that yoga is spiritual in the sense that it helps you become self-aware and more aware of the world around you. It teaches us how to bring harmony to our inner and outer world, how to be more compassionate, kind, and loving to ourselves and others.

And all of those things help us feel better mentally and physically! Which leads us to the last way that yoga helps diabetics.

3. Yoga promotes physiological changes.

What are physiological changes? Changes in the normal function of the human body. In this case, a regular therapeutic yoga practice for diabetics creates a whole multitude of positive changes in the body!

Let’s go over some of them:

  • Yoga helps lower body weight and increases exercise tolerance (which means exercise gets easier faster and you can tolerate more sooner).
  • Yoga literally reduces triglycerides and free fatty acids in your blood, which reduces your bad cholesterol and improves heart health.
  • A regular yoga practice improves immunity and reduces inflammation – two huge factors that diabetics struggle with.
  • Therapeutic yoga for diabetics (specifically) increases insulin secretion and decreases insulin resistance! This means fewer insulin shots and less money spent on insulin for diabetics.
  • Yoga improves cardiac function and reduces the risk of cardiac events, one of the primary causes of sudden death in diabetic patients.
  • Regular yoga practice improves glycemic control without increasing your body weight. In fact, as discussed earlier, you’re likely to lose weight!

Without going into all the technical, scientific jargon, suffice it to say that yoga changes your body at a cellular level. And because of that, the improvements listed above are, quite literally, good side effects!

Plus, who doesn’t want to lose weight, improve cholesterol levels, have better immunity, less inflammation, and a healthier heart?!

Everyone can benefit from yoga, but especially diabetics. Type II Diabetes is controllable, preventable, and curable. Without medication, even. But definitely consult your doctor before stopping any prescribed medications!

Are you diabetic? I’d love the opportunity to help you feel better, healthier, and more energetic! Check out my class, Therapeutic Yoga for Diabetes on myYogaTeacher. All are welcome there. And if you haven’t grabbed your 2-week free trial of myYogaTeacher yet, you can do that here!

I hope to see you there!

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